I have been having great success with digital advertising for my customers – often seeing huge increases in attendance numbers at events and 15-20% increases in sales. But not always – some of the ads I have put out have totally bombed – does that mean it was a waste of money for my clients? Not really – you see, marketing is not a one-time thing. Sure, it would be nice if every time you placed an advertisement that it would generate sales. If it worked that way, we’d all be rich. But it doesn’t. Just like every other form of marketing, advertising requires consistency. Very few marketing projects go viral and make a ton of money. However, if you stop marketing, one thing is certain: your sales will dry up (or at least revert back to where they were before you started marketing). A one-and-done Super Bowl ad is a poor way to impact your sales over a period of time. Instead, spread those ads out over a series of months.

When I had my first software company, we used to advertise in magazines and at tradeshows. Not just hit or miss by doing scattered things here and there, but every month, issue after issue, we would advertise in Landscape Architecture magazine (the software was a CAD application for Landscape Architects), and every year for 10 years we would attend the American Society of Landscape Architect’s conference and the AEC Systems Shoe (Architects/Engineers/Contractors). Consistency was the key, and it still is. The difference is, we used to spend tens of thousands of dollars every month on advertising. Today you can do it for a small fraction of that, and often get better results.

Some of the marketing types that work well in today’s world are email, Facebook ads, and retargeting ads. The thing all of these have in common are the ability to target your audience and the ability to reach the same people in a consistent manner, over an extended period of time. Let’s look at a real example.canon-office-and-business-mx922-all-one-printerFor the purposes of this example, I am going to assume you are selling printers, but it doesn’t really matter what the product is. This month I am going to concentrate on selling the Canon Office and Business MX922 All One Printer (http://amzn.to/2dRo5UG). The first thing I would do is to write a blog post about this printer, telling my readers why this is one of the best printers you can buy, not just for the money, but at any price. Discuss the features and benefits in detail, as if you are the expert on the subject (hopefully you are an expert on what you are selling and your customers recognize you as such). Now, take that exact same copy that you just spend time writing, and send it as an email to your customer list, with a link to your blog post. Make sure you include a way for them to purchase this printer in your blog post (you can actually get one at the link I provided: http://amzn.to/2dRo5UG). So far, we have written a single piece of copy and used it in two marketing pieces, but we aren’t done yet.

Now we are going to create a Facebook ad for this printer. With Facebook ads, we can target the exact audience we want, in this case, business owners. Families may also need a printer, but we know that business owners tend to go through printers at least once a year. We can specify other demographics as well, depending upon what you are selling and where you are selling it. The Facebook ad will contain much of the same copy we have already written, but in a condensed form. When someone clicks on the ad, we will take them to a “landing page” – a newly created page on our website whose sole purpose is to capture the person’s email address. We do this by offer a free product, in this case an ebook that we called, “10 Things you should consider before buying a printer” (Xerox has has such a title). The customer gives us their email address, and we give them the free ebook, which of course gives great information about buying printers, but also shows why THIS printer meets all the criteria and why YOUR BUSINESS is the right place to buy it from.

Once the ebook has been downloaded, you give the customer the opportunity to buy the printer, but statistics show that less than 2% will probably buy from you the first time they see your ad. Even with a very targeted Facebook ad, most people simply will not buy from you after seeing your ad one time. You have to be consistent and keep advertising to them – it’s the old adage that someone has to have at least 5 “touches” before they make a buying decision. That’s where retargeting comes in.

Retargeting is a form of advertising that keeps putting your ad back in front of the prospective customer because of the fact that they clicked on your ad in the first place. When they did this, you place a small piece of code on your website that installs a “cookie” onto their web browser to track them. Now, wherever they go on the internet, whether it be back on Facebook, or on some third-party news site or someone else’s blog, your ad keeps appearing to the customer encouraging them to buy your product (in this case, the printer).

By now, you should start to see a few sales. But of course, it doesn’t stop there – you have to keep applying these techniques over and over, month after month, before you gain enough traction to see a significant increase in sales. When you are looking for a return on investment (ROI) for your advertising dollars, think long term if you really want it to pay off.