Why Paid Advertising Isn’t Worth Your Money
Part Nine of The Small Business Website Guide for Business Owners
You made it! This is the final post in the Small Business Website Guide. You’ve learned an awful lot and come a long way. Today we’re going to talk about whether you should waste your time with paid advertising when you’re first getting started.
Here’s an overview of why I don’t use paid advertising (very often):
- You can’t make money unless you have money
- Where to experiment with paid advertising
- Losing focus on value
- Back to relationships
- Wait to try paid advertising
Paid advertising sucks.
Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating. Paid advertising has its place – but as far as I’m concerned, it has no place in your beginning marketing efforts.
You can’t make money unless you have money.
I hate that phrase. It’s very often true, and paid advertising shoves it in your face.
Paid ads are most effective if you can get a lot of exposure. Sure, if you know the game really well, you can get quite a lot of exposure with just a little money. However, if you’re reading this Small Business Website Guide for yourself, then this part of the game is too advanced right now.
Even when you do know the game, figuring out exactly what works takes a lot of testing. When you’re testing with paid advertising, you’re paying for every single experiment, and that’s before you even launch a full blown campaign.
Sometimes the small amount you could afford to invest just isn’t going to be worth the tiny results you’ll get. Put your money somewhere else where it will work harder for you.
Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!
Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you have something that is just innately popular and all you need is a little exposure. The chances of this being you is highly unlikely if you’re selling anything or not giving anything away.
But try it! Spend a small budget on advertising and see what happens.
Some popular options:
The danger of losing your focus on value.
If you really are going to do some paid advertising, take note of the way your behavior and mindset changes. Suddenly you’re investing dollars for clicks and that kind of minutia starts making you feel a little crazy. Having something so measurable yet so inexact at the same time is hard on you.
It’s all about the detailed ROI and you start to lose focus on what’s important: having a product or service worth talking about and sharing.
With paid advertising, there’s nothing personal about it.
With paid advertising, you want to figure out as many tricks as possible just to get a higher click-through rate.
With paid advertising, you forget that there are real people on the other side who are clicking through to your website.
Social media marketing focuses on serving the customer.
The great thing about social media marketing (or as we talked about before, relationship marketing) is that it focuses on quality and connection.
Quality and connections are real. Those are things that are invaluable. Those make you a better person and a better business.
Quality and connections creates wild fans and brand evangelists.
Paid advertising maybe gets a few apathetic clicks likely leading to a page that doesn’t deliver on expectations.
Paid advertising may work… just don’t do it yet.
I recommend waiting until you’ve been around the web a bit longer, found a voice for your blog, and really discovered how to deliver what your customers need online.
Focus on value right now. Shape your existence on the web to become invaluable to your customers.
Don’t give yourself the opportunity to get distracted by click-through and fancy graphs. Focus on quality content. Focus on building real connections.
The final chapter of the Small Business Website Guide for Business Owners.
It’s been a crazy two months writing this guide for you and I’m glad that it happened. I hope that you’ve found this to be a great lesson in learning how to approach websites as a business owner.
It’s easy to find tutorials walking you through each individual step of the way but it’s difficult to find something that lays out the philosophy and approach you should take when you have no idea what you’re doing in the first place. I hope that this guide has been that for you.
If you have any post requests to help clarify any of the topics in this guide, feel free to post those suggestions in the comments!
In the meantime, sign up for more webby goodness and get the Web Tips newsletter. You’ll receive a free Where Do I Start? Worksheet to help you organize your thoughts in taking the next steps for your website.
Thank you! Without you this guide and blog wouldn’t be able to happen.
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