As businesses market by aiming to capture online and social media attention, there are a myriad of strategies which offer to help you attract the Internet at minimal cost. Many of these strategies such as content marketing do work at attracting clicks and attention.

But despite these low-cost strategies, digital ad spending reached $209 billion worldwide in 2017 according to Recode, surpassing TV ad spending for the first time. That gap will continue to grow, with digital ad spending expected to make up 50 percent of all advertisement spending by 2020. Companies are spending more because they know that paid advertising is valuable. Paid and free advertising strategies are not rivals, but partners working to bring in the highest ROI.

There are different ways companies can pay for advertising, with the marketing company Ballantine listing a few. But instead of focusing on which paid advertising method works the best, businesses should understand some of the most important concepts to get the most bang for your buck. Here are five of these most important rules.

Understand “why”

Why is your business launching an online paid advertising campaign?

All too often, businesses respond to this question by muddling about the importance of clicks, likes, and drawing attention. My response is to point to Pepsi’s disastrous Kendall Jenner advertisement last year, which failed among other reasons because no one at Pepsi took 20 seconds to sit down and figure out what they were trying to accomplish with the ad beyond drawing attention. Well, they succeeded at that.

Before launching any online advertising campaign, advertisers should have a clear goal of what they are trying to do. Are you trying to restore a brand which has taken some hits? Are you trying to increase visibility and awareness? Are you trying to attract a specific audience? These are just a few potential reasons to launch a campaign, and knowing your business’s primary reason will help underlie any advertisement.

Find the Right Metrics and tools

Just as there are many potential reasons to launch online advertisements, there are many different online metrics. So how do you know which metrics to use to measure results?

Some of the most important metrics for online advertising include click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and the number of new subscribers and leads. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of marketing measuring tools such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Apsalar. These tools will generally let your business conduct a trial run and help you determine which one fits the best with your business. With the right tools, metrics, and goals in place, you can start testing advertising campaigns and find an approach which works for your business.

Create a Landing Page

Let us suppose that your business’s home page attracts 500 visitors per month with a focus on solo ads. You launch a paid online advertising campaign, and now your home page attracts 750 visitors per month. But did those extra 250 visitors show up because of your campaign or were there other factors?

For this reason, it is important to create a landing page, which is a unique web page where clicks are sent to. A landing page helps you gain a better idea of how many clicks or views your campaign is drawing, and lets you tailor that page specifically for new visitors.

Be Appealing

This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised to see the number of business who forget this obvious step. All the metrics and tools do not matter if you are not churning out high quality paid content which attracts consumer interest and clicks.

Give viewers easy access to high quality content from the beginning which is easy to view whether they are on a laptop, phone, or other device. Gate premium content afterwards to attract leads. Remember that once a potential lead clicks on one of your advertisements and heads to your website, you only have three seconds to keep their interest. If the layout is confusing, or your website refuses to load, or there is some other detail you have missed, you will lose interest and leads.

Listen

The above tips can help your business in a general sense, but every business and industry faces unique marketing challenges. The best way to learn is not just by reading marketing guides, but to observe what your competitors are doing.

Take a look at your competitors’ advertisements and overall marketing strategy. What kind of paid advertising do they use? How do they sell their product? And above all else, what are their weaknesses and how can you outdo them? In addition to listening to your competitors, go to trade associations, network with marketers, and listen to how they deal with online marketing. This can help you figure out some of the challenges described above, particularly in determining which marketing measuring tool you want to use.

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Aaron Lee
Aaron Lee is a serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Since the age of 17, he has started and sold five businesses before creating Dash Serviced Suites--Hong Kong’s fastest growing asset-light, tech-enabled, serviced apartment community operating over 100 apartments. Aaron focuses on investing in technology to build industry disrupting startups.

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