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Generate Immediate Demand for Your Side Gig

Learn digital advertising basics to get started

Author: Zach Dilworth Thursday June 18, 2020
Disclaimer: By reading this article, you are agreeing to the terms of this disclaimer.

Launching a new business is an exciting time, but without an effective, evolving demand generation strategy, the sales pipeline could dry up quickly. Often, new entrepreneurs launch a variety of ad-hoc marketing campaigns in hopes of generating business; however, these campaigns usually have mixed results. It’s hard to reach your goals if they’re not well defined. Sometimes, an ad campaign doesn’t work initially with a broad market, but as you analyze the results and refine your audience, it becomes very efficient and effective. 

Calculated Risk

As a cash-strapped, side gig entrepreneur, it’s tough to invest without knowing your campaigns will produce any results. It’s a lot like gambling, if you play craps and invest only in backing the thrower and not bet on the 6 or the 8, you’re missing out on consistent payouts of the most frequent numbers, but on the risk-averse side, you’re also avoiding losing money by backing the 6 or 8. As with all of our topics, please review our disclaimer as this content meant to provide general information, but it is not specific to your marketing efforts. The numbers in the examples below are fabricated to provide examples of the calculations used, but those numbers and conversion rates vary based on a wide variety of variables that are not discussed in this blog or on this website. Be sure to do your own due diligence and/or speak with a marketing professional to decide which approach is right for you.

Digital Advertising Pricing Models

Depending on your offering and who you’re targeting, it may be very possible to generate demand through digital advertising. Some people may call this PPC (pay per click), but in reality, there are several tactics and payment models to bring traffic to your site:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)

    • Pay each time someone clicks on your ad. Your payment is based on the cost per click for the targeted keyword or ad placement. The cost per click is usually based on the competitiveness of a keyword and takes into account other businesses that are competing for the same keyword and how much they are willing to spend – similar to an auction.
  • Pay Per Impression (PPM)

    • PPM is the cost per thousand impressions. It doesn’t matter if anyone clicks your ad, you will pay based on the number of impressions. Ad placement and timing may affect the PPM costs.
  • Pay Per Acquisition/Lead (CPA/CPL)

    • Pay only when someone signs up or when they complete some action that you stated when you set up your ad. This one can be a bit tricky to set up, so make sure to do your research before using this payment model. 

No matter which advertising channel you choose, make sure to set a low daily budget to get started. If your budget is too high, you can end up owing the advertising network a ton of cash within a short time. Start with a low daily budget that wouldn’t hurt you if you didn’t generate any traffic or conversions in the first few weeks. Often, the ad networks have a feature to expand your target audience based on their recommendations – I am not a fan of this. I want to target specific areas where my target audience spends their time. If you decide to choose this approach, you’re giving the advertising network the power to expand the placement of your ads that may include placements on video games or mobile apps. There are ways to prevent such placements, but you’ll need to keep a close eye on your performance and ad placements to determine which ones to keep and which to omit.

Complexity of Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is complex, and if you’re not careful, you could easily blow through your entire month’s budget in an hour. That’s why it’s important to work with a professional and/or educate yourself about digital advertising best practices. With advertising, be sure to do your research on the how-to’s before diving in. If you’re looking for some help, click here and we’ll connect you with a side gig consultant who may be able to provide you with low-cost marketing consulting services.

Ad Budget Planning

If you’re planning on doing this yourself, keep your required conversion rates in mind. Calculate the number of sales you need and reverse engineer your ad budget. This will vary for each unique situation. Be sure to do your own research for benchmarks on conversion rates before deciding your budget.

I usually determine my budget like this:

  • I need 10 sales per month
  • Assuming I have a 50% closing rate of internet leads, that means I need to generate 20 leads per month
  • Assuming my landing page converts about 25% of visitors, that would mean that I need about 80 visitors per month.
  • Assuming my ads have a 15% click-through rate (CTR), I would need about 533 clicks on my ads to reach my goal.
  • If the cost per click bids for my keywords on the search network are $5 each, I would need to spend about $2,665.
  • If the cost per click for my display ad placements is only $.05 each, I would need to spend about $100.

* All conversion rates discussed are purely for illustration purposes only and do not represent any factual data.

This example helped me determine how much it will cost me to generate 20 leads based on several fabricated conversion rates. Again, this is just an example, so don’t expect your conversion rates to be the same.

Digital Advertising Networks

See below for some of the popular digital advertising options:

  • Search Network: 

    • Pay for a top search result on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Your ad will not include pictures, but it will show up when people search for specific keywords. This method can be expensive if you are dealing with competitive keywords such as loans, gambling, and legal. Do some research on your competitors in this field, so you’re not starting from scratch. Check out Spyfu and see real ads that your competitors used for similar keywords if not the same. You can use Google’s Keyword finder within Google Ad Manager and pull a list of similar keywords clusters, monthly search volume along with suggested bids per click.
  • Display Ads:

    • Drive traffic to your website through a network of websites that use images or videos to promote your business. You may have the option to choose websites that are relevant to your target market or buyer persona or target people who are currently in the market for a product like yours. There are so many different facets to targeting that it’s easy to get lost. 
  • Email Ads: 

    • Engage with your targeted audience through their email inbox. These ads are not typical emails as they usually say sponsored across the top, and there are limits to the structure of the advertisement within the email.
  • Video Ads:

    • Some video ads only charge if the audience watches more than 30 seconds of your ad without pressing skip. Several websites will host your video advertisement, and it’s not limited to YouTube or Vimeo. You can post them on social media, ads in your targeted display network, and others.
  • Social Media Ads: 

    • Interact directly with your target market through social media ads. Social Ads can be highly targeted and valuable, and costs vary depending on the platform and specific targeting criteria. There are several types of social media ads, and you can choose to pay per click, per thousand impressions, or per lead generated. 

Always keep your targeted buyer persona in mind when choosing your advertising channels. It doesn’t make sense to send digital ads to someone who doesn’t have access to the internet.

If you want to become a pro, check out Udemy’s Digital Advertising courses to learn more.