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Small businesses, especially in their early stages, are often faced with a problem. With very limited resources, it can be difficult for a small business to invest in growth strategies. Moreover, they’re competing with larger companies and franchises that have better brand recognition and can afford large scale marketing campaigns. So what’s a small business to do? Our suggestion is doing it smartly.

Let’s take a look at Chris’ case first.

Chris, a 45 years old small business owner, has a store named Cevi’s selling Jean clothing in the city of Hope. After the grand opening, Chris came up with a marketing idea and ordered a full-page ad from the local newspaper. It cost him $2,000 for the one-time ad. On the weekend morning, Chris held the newspaper with his ad and expected more customers to be coming in.

However, is this the most efficient way for Chris to do marketing?

Advertising in a newspaper could be a good idea, but Chris should also think about online ads. First of all, by doing online ads, Chris not only can track down how many people clicked his ads but also can get the data reports of customer’s insights. Secondly, online ads will help small business drive sales by generating leads and increasing branding awareness.

Well, here are three easy steps you can follow to help you get a performed online ad.

Step 1, you need to know how to attract customers to view your ads.

If you want to target some customers in a specific time, then you need to make sure your ads will show up in these time slots. You also can choose the specific area or locations that you are targeting. Another tactic is to select the placements for your ads. Search results or display networks? Before you choose, you have to consider which channel is more efficient to reach your customers.

In this case, Chris wanted to reach out to local customers and generate more phone calls to his business. Chris could set up an online ad that only shows up to local people who are searching for Men’s Jeans.

Step 2, Except for displaying the ads to the certain target audiences, you also can utilize the search ads to reach your customers.

You must have seen other business’s ads when using Google or Bing search for something online. Every time you type a word or phrase in the search box, the search engine will display a list of search results which includes organic search results as well as paid search results. The paid search result is one kind of online ads.

When prospective customers search for products or services they need, all businesses want to display their ads to customers. Therefore, which keywords you choose for your ads and how to set them up properly becomes the key factors for your search ads.

You can use tools like Google Trends to help you to create the keywords list, also you can get insight through Google Analytics to discover which keyword bring in the most traffic to your website.

For example, Chris found out that “Jeans” and “Men’s wear” contributed the most traffic to his website, hence Chris added these two words on the keyword list.

Tips: By using the online ad platforms, you can put your ads on various relevant websites. In this case, Chris can order some online ads from Men fashion websites. 

Step 3, After you know who your target audience is, and how to reach these people, you can start to set up your budget.

How much you need to spend on your ads is based on your overall marketing plan. First, you need to know what percentage of your target audience watch online contents and how many of them prefer to read print materials.

The tools like Google ads will give you some budget range suggestions according to your business type and average click numbers in your location.

You can decide your everyday ads budget and you can change your budget anytime you want. You should concentrate your money on those customers who bring in more value to the business.

Most of the ads platforms will provide tracking data and performance reports. You can easily calculate how many clicks your ad generates and how many orders you received from those ads.

You probably already have good click numbers every day, however, some of these clicks are more valuable than others. Those customers who accomplished the action after the click, such as making an order, downloading an app, finishing a registration, are much more valuable.

Assessing clicks and behaviors will help you to understand which type of click is more efficient for your sales. Then you can adjust your budget to those ads with better performances.

Okay. Now, you can find the ads platforms that matches your business best, such as Google ads or Facebook ads, and grow your business by using online ads.