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Marketing Technology

How to Run Ads That Align with your Digital Marketing Strategy


Running ads doesn’t promise you customers, it only promises to spend your money.

To be successful at paid advertising, your ads must fit within your overall digital marketing strategy. Too many businesses try “one off” campaigns that are rarely successful. The result is that businesses give up on profitable channels because they didn’t bring instant results.

In this article I want to give you tips on how to better coordinate your digital ads within a broader marketing strategy. By paying attention to these areas you can use paid ads to get more customers, readers, attendees, leads, and ultimately sales.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how often paid ads fail  because the audience didn’t care. Your ads need to create a valuable goal for the audience to achieve. But how do you know if that goal is valuable enough?

My favorite explanation comes from the book ,”Hell Yeah Or No,” by Derek Silvers. In it, he says, “A bad goal makes you say, “I want to do that some day.” A great goal makes you take action immediately.”

You need a great goal for your target audience.

“Download: Best Practices For Emailing Prospects” is a bad goal.

“This Email Template Booked 15 Meetings In 2 Days – Steal Your Copy Here!” is a great goal.

Set Your KPIs

Paid ads can be used anywhere in the buyers journey. The key performance indicators that you use to judge the effectiveness of your ads needs to reflect how you are using ads in your strategy.

Let’s say you are running social media ads to get prospects to sign up for a webinar. Your top-level KPI will be how many sign ups were driven by your social media ads. The number of sign ups divided by your budget will give you the cost per sign up. Once you have that number, you can judge if that is an acceptable price to pay.

Create the KPI that matches the larger goal. KPIs don’t have to be “big actions”, your goal could be to build a re-marketing list in which case your KPI would be cost per landing page view. It could also be reading an article, responding to the post, liking the post, following the company’s social media page, just to name a few.

Intent Channel vs Non-Intent Channel

Generally speaking, there are really only two ways to use paid ads, in intent channels like search, and in non-intent channels like social, sponsorships, YouTube ads, display… basically everything besides search.

If you conduct keyword research and find that there is sizable search volume for the intent that your valuable asset can satisfy, using search ads can be an effective way of getting quality traffic to your asset.

However, its very likely that your prospects aren’t Googling their deepest desires (that’s what DuckDuckGo is for). So you’ll have to reach them through non-intent channels like social, YouTube pre-roll ads and others.

There are two main issues with advertising in non-intent channels. Targeting can be hit or miss. Certain people use certain platforms and each platforms has its own limitations. For example, LinkedIn has better job data than Facebook, so if a person’s profession is key to your targeting then you should use LinkedIn.

The other issue is attribution and tracking your spend. At each level, as targeting becomes less precise, so does attribution. With LinkedIn ads you can report on clicks and you can track visitor behavior through your site analytics. But what about tracking visitors from a podcast sponsorship?

The farther away you are from direct marketing practices with strict attribution the harder it is to quantify your spend. Rigorous UTM tagging can only partially capture the traffic you can gain through various niche social platforms, dark funnels, chat rooms, discords, slack channels, and message boards.

Its All About A Unique Offer

“Hey, you already mentioned that it should be valuable!” you say.

Yes. And I want to repeat it. Because, if you’re like me, you probably see dozens of audits, templates, spreadsheets, playbooks, scripts, white papers in your social timelines.

Your prospects see the same thing. It’s crowded.

You have to stand out.

That doesn’t mean giving more – though that can work. It can mean making it…

  • Easier to consume (think infographics and slides)
  • Faster to output results (think website speed graders/analyzers)
  • Use automation for complex tasks (think advanced spreadsheets for analysis)
  • Make the asset re-brandable  (think pitch decks and proposals)
  • Available in multiple formats (think audio book)

The faster and easier your value is, the stronger your offer.

The What And The Why

This is maybe the hardest section to talk about because every business is so different. So far, we talked about creating something valuable, creating something unique, advertising on different channels, and creating KPIs.

But there’s something fundamental underneath all of that.

You can do everything I just mentioned and do it well, but it won’t work if it does not help your customer along the buying journey.

“The What” is the asset. “The Why” is what that asset achieves for the customer and your business. If the asset does not drive more awareness or consideration, if it doesn’t agitate a problem, if it doesn’t move someone closer to a purchase, then your ad is destined to fail.

There’s a multitude of sales enabling content you can create. But which is right for your prospect? It’s up to businesses to invest in customer research to find the insights that will make your target market perk up their ears and pay attention to.

Wrapping Up – Make The Ads Work Less

Paid ads can be very profitable for your business, but only if you think about them in the right way. If you want your ad to succeed, you need to understand what ads do well: getting in front of an audience and getting their attention.

Everything beyond that like where the traffic goes, what that traffic experiences, and ultimately the value of what your advertising must come from your digital marketing strategy.

By focusing on your larger marketing strategy you will avoid wasteful “one off” campaigns, useless “boosting”, and flat revenue numbers.