Best Practices to Create and Capture Demand at Your Business
As a marketer, I’m always curious to understand how business owners and franchisees use channels like Google Ads, SEO, Facebook, and TikTok to both engage current members as well as grow their member base. Over the last few years, I have spoken to countless business owners who (rightly) bemoan the complexities of these channels, the opaqueness of the results, and the time it can often take to manage these channels. It dawned on me that business owners and franchisees may be looking for some actionable insights to both create and capture digital demand for their businesses.
How to get started
First, you need to know who your audience is and where they are. Your audience is likely on social media, and since Facebook and Instagram are some of the most active apps on any consumer’s phone, those are great places to test. But a word of caution—default settings in advertising platforms can cost you money and create the opaqueness in results that I mentioned earlier. Take some time to get a deeper understanding of the “who” in your targeting. Start with these considerations:
- Are you trying to focus on a specific town, city, or metro region? If so, use geo-fencing to ensure that your ads aren’t showing to audiences outside of your target.
- Does your audience skew to one demographic? If so, Facebook and Instagram offer a trove of targeting data to help you find your audience. Whether gender, age, income level, or hobbies, social channels like Facebook will help you arrive at a composite Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) for your services that you can further hone over time.
- Do you have customer relationship management (CRM) data that you can connect to Facebook? If you do, you can create powerful lookalike audiences using Facebook’s data to find similar audiences as your highest value customers.
- Want to ensure that you are only reaching new prospects for your business? Exclude previous site visitors.
- If you have multiple locations, make sure you leverage the in-store traffic objective to maximize returns.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it gets the thought process moving beyond simply creating a campaign to drive eyeballs. Your advertising should have return on investment (ROI) goals that drive real business outcomes, namely members.
Test, test, test!
The beauty of many advertising platforms, though, as much as the data and the reach you can get is the ability to be iterative in your approach—to build on what works and to eliminate what doesn’t work. Again, assessing what works relies on a good tracking infrastructure, which is something I’ll cover in a future post, but if you leave with anything from reading this, it’s this: Test as much as you can, as often as you can and don’t treat these platforms as a monolith.
Be deliberate about your segmentation strategy to measure what is most performant. I mentioned earlier the different dimensions you might consider: geography, demographics, socio-economic status, etc. I’ve achieved some of my best results by mixing and matching all of these into different ad sets, creating bespoke targeting that I can apply specific ad creative to.
By its nature, advertising in a social feed is interruptive to the user’s intent. Embrace that by adding value and going beyond the generic. If your ad set is targeting a very specific subset of the addressable population, make sure your creative mirrors that so your audience can see themselves (figuratively or literally) in your advertising. You want to create a thumb-stopping moment and it’s your ad creative that will do that—whether it’s a static image, video, or carousel—be inventive and test.