Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

If you don’t know the difference between social media marketing and social media advertising, it’s okay to admit it. The distinction can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re new to the social media world or to digital marketing—especially since they’re sometimes used (carelessly) as interchangeable. There is a difference between social media marketing vs. social media advertising, and it pays to know that difference and to incorporate both into your overarching digital strategy.  

 

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a crucial facet of any digital marketing strategy today. It encompasses your business’s online profiles on social media platforms, along with the social media activity of those platforms: posting, liking, commenting, sharing, and so on.

 

Social media marketing begins with creating company pages or profiles on relevant social networks. The networks that you choose will depend on your industry; B2Bs will likely find LinkedIn to be the most relevant network, since they’re marketing to other business professionals, while home builders and developers might make use of platforms like Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram to show off images of their homes and properties.

 

But it doesn’t end with just a page or profile. To effectively market using social media, interaction and engagement are key. Click To TweetYou need to interact with others on the platform by liking, commenting, and sharing their content, as well as by posting and sharing your own content. This will drive engagement, which is when others interact with your content—liking, commenting, sharing, and clicking.  

 

What kind of content should you share and post? 

 

Again, this depends on the platform and your industry. Industrial manufacturers may not have much luck posting photos of their products on Instagram. (Are the insides of factories usually very aesthetically pleasing? No.) But, they’ll have more success posting content about their processes, sharing their blog content, sharing relevant articles and news from industry publications, and posting infographics on LinkedIn. 

 

Always be aware of the platform and its conventions when posting social content. 

 

Twitter is great for sharing links, but because tweets are limited to 280 characters, it’s not the place for longform content. 

 

Instagram is designed for sharing images, and while you can use an image to promote a piece of content, you can’t link from a post directly. You have to include the link in your bio, which might not be the most effective way to direct people to that link. 

 

Why Do Social Media Marketing?

One of the major principles of inbound marketing is bringing your ideal customers to you. Since your ideal customers are using social media—everyone is—having a social media presence is a necessity if you want to draw in potential customers. 

 

Social media helps create a community around your company, one that can result in sales.

 

Creating a community through social media marketing has some major benefits, like building brand awareness and helping to establish your industry reputation as an authority in your field. Also, it can establish your company as enjoyable to interact with, which can result in people converting to customers when they do need your company’s products or services.  

 

What is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising (also known as paid social) involves running paid ads on various social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. These can include banner ads as well as native ads and activities like boosting posts or like campaigns. Social media ads are often charged on a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression basis. 

 

You can use paid social to promote content, like a whitepaper or guide that your company or marketing agency has created. You can develop an ad around this content you’re offering, or boost the posts where you shared the content offer. This increases the reach of your content, which can lead to more website traffic and conversions of visitors to leads. 

 

Why do Paid Social?

Targeting

 

Promotional posts on social media don’t have a ton of reach on their own and aren’t likely to get a lot of organic engagement. Paid social allows you to specifically target audiences. This targeting is no joke, either. Depending on the platform, you can target audiences by criteria such as location, age, gender, search history, interests and activities, device use, even things like employer or job title. 

 

Since you’re paying either by the number of clicks or impressions (views) your ad gets, you want to ensure that you’re getting the most for your social media ad budget. You do this through targeting, which ensures that only the most relevant people (aka, your ideal customers) see your ads. This makes paid social a high-ROI advertising strategy. 

 

Additionally, the analytics that social media advertising platforms provide you can help better understand your audience and fine-tune your advertisements for better reach, engagement, and ROI.

 

Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

Essentially, advertising is a form of marketing that uses advertisements, which are paid notices that appear on public platforms. Not all marketing is advertising, but all advertising is marketing. 

 

When we talk about social media marketing vs. social media advertising, however, we’re generally making a distinction between paid and unpaid methods of marketing using social media. Social media advertising refers to the paid methods (like PPC ads) and social media marketing the unpaid methods (like your social media posts and shares). Click To Tweet

 

Which is Better? Social Media Marketing or Social Media Advertising?

If you’ve read this far, you probably already know what we’re going to say: you need both. 

 

  • Social media marketing helps you build a community and foster relationships with current and potential customers—it’s a long game. 
  • Social media advertising puts your name/products/services/links in front of people who are looking for what you offer right now

 

Both of these strategies can generate leads and sales, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. Using social media for both its organic (unpaid) and paid methods of reaching your intended audience is simply the most effective use of the vast power of social media. 

Marketing vs. advertising: that is the question. Click To TweetHowever, when you use both, you can optimize your results for the best possible outcome. Not sure you have the team to handle both advertising and marketing? Get in touch with Evenbound. We specialize in both inbound and outbound marketing and would love to help. 

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Inbound and Outbound Marketing Can Work Together To Deliver Qualified Leads

Inbound and Outbound Marketing Can Work Together To Deliver Qualified Leads

Since the dawn of inbound marketing, marketers have been hatin’ on outbound marketing tactics.

And really, we get it. No one wants to see that McDonald’s commercial for the 100th time, and no one wants their Pandora workout station interrupted to hear once again how Geico could save you 15% or more on your car insurance.

 

via GIPHY

Outbound marketing is disruptive. But it’s also kind of effective — if you know how to use it for 21st-century consumers. Before we get into this whole thing though, it’s important to know what inbound and outbound marketing are, and why maybe, just maybe, they can work together.

Outbound Marketing

Like we mentioned earlier, outbound marketing is inherently disruptive. It gets in front of a consumer with a goal of distracting them from whatever they were already doing. In the past, you’d have seen this most in radio and TV ads, as well as billboards and honestly, the Girl Scouts selling cookies at the grocery store. (Seriously, they get us every time.) Outbound marketing is any form of marketing or advertising that pushes your message out to consumers, rather than drawing them in. Click To Tweet Outbound marketing is also usually paid (Check out our complete guide to outbound marketing for more in-depth info). You have to pay for ad spots on radio and tv, just as you now have to pay for ad spots on Google, Facebook, and other partnered websites.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is any form of marketing that draws consumers into your company, your website, or your building. It’s also usually free (ish). Inbound marketing relies on tactics like content development, blogging, and sending targeted emails to your existing email list.

These are tactics that take time and brainpower, but don’t cost much money. Inbound marketing has proven exceptionally successful in the 21st century. We’ve explained this more than once, so we won’t go too far into it, but generally, the idea is that people hate being interrupted, and inbound marketing gets the word out about your company in a way that feels natural, organic, and not pushy.

Pretty nice, right? It’s cheap, it gets you quality customers, and you don’t have to pound the pavement to find them.

via GIPHY

Inbound marketing methods are proven to be cost-efficient and effective, costing you 61% less per lead than outbound marketing tactics. The only problem is that it does take a bit of time. When you write and publish content to the web, you have to wait for search engines to crawl and index your site.

Once they do, they’ll evaluate your content and rank it relative to other sites writing about similar topics. Then, you have to see where you rank, so you can keep optimizing your site for better placement on SERPs, and better conversion rates on-site.

When fully deployed and implemented, inbound marketing draws in serious traffic and has the ability to convert like no other marketing tactic out there today. But sometimes you need a little boost when you’re getting started. This is where we start to get a little controversial:

It’s Not Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing can solve this problem of driving the right traffic to your inbound-optimized website immediately. The key is doing it properly. Unlike Geico, you don’t want to blast your message out to the general populace. Instead, you should use targeted, inbound-centric paid advertising and social media advertising campaigns to let the right people know about your product or service.

Choose digital advertising platforms that let you control who your message is going to, and how it’s delivered. With in-depth metrics, you can see which segment of your audience is responding best, and you can continue to optimize your paid ads to deliver the best results, for the least spend. (Check out this blog about optimizing PPC, and this blog about optimizing Facebook Ads, for more information on improving outbound marketing ROI.) When you’re developing targeted digital ads that are designed to meet your ideal audience, you’ll see better, more effective results, and more importantly, you’ll see immediate results.

It’s good to know that outbound marketing tactics aren’t just for new websites, either. When used properly, outbound marketing is a great way to supplement an already robust inbound marketing platform. The fact is, there’s a point where you might feel like you’ve saturated your existing market. Outbound marketing can help get your message out to a new group of people who can benefit from your products and quality customer service.

Inbound Marketing + Effective Outbound Marketing = Company Growth

If you take anything away from this blog post, it should be this: inbound marketing and outbound marketing can work together effectively. It’s easy to pit the two methodologies against each other because they do come from fundamentally different perspectives. But, if you apply an inbound mentality to your outbound marketing methods, and direct ads and promoted content to the audience most likely to care about what you have to say, you might just find that the two methodologies can work together to help grow your company. Outbound marketing tactics are a great supplement to any inbound marketing strategy. Click To Tweet When implemented properly, optimized for maximum ROI, and paired well with your inbound marketing strategy, they work to deliver qualified leads that can help stimulate overall company growth.

Not sure where to start? Let’s chat! As a digital marketing and growth agency, Evenbound doesn’t choose between inbound our outbound. We help our clients leverage the best of both inbound and outbound marketing strategies for overall company growth. Interested in seeing how we do it? 

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6 Steps to a Facebook Ad Campaign That Delivers

6 Steps to a Facebook Ad Campaign That Delivers

Facebook is the leading social media platform for marketers, and for good reason. It’s intuitive, it has a direct line to nearly every consumer you’d want to share your product with, and it’s convenient.

The fact is, when you advertise on Facebook, you have the opportunity to reach a huge number of qualified buyers who are already interested in your product or service. It’s a pretty attractive outbound marketing method, and it’s easily paired with your inbound marketing strategy too. 

So what’s the catch?

Well, it does cost money.

There’s also the fact that a ton of marketers already use Facebook’s platform to advertise, which can drive Facebook advertising costs up.

But what if we told you there was a way to optimize your Facebook ad campaigns that could minimize spending and maximize performance?

It sounds wild, sure, but it’s actually something our social media advertising experts do every single day. And we’re going to tell you how they do it.

Here are six methods our social media experts use every day to minimize Facebook ad campaign spend, and maximize performance:

#1 Know Your Goals

Facebook offers a massive platform of opportunity. There are more than 5 different types of Facebook ads to choose from, and the Facebook ad manager lets you pick from a variety of campaign goals for each ad you create. It’s important to know what your goals are going into any Facebook Ad campaign, so you can optimize everything to fit that specific goal.

For example, if you were hoping to drive traffic to your website, you wouldn’t choose Facebook’s app install ad or an event promotion ad template. Instead, you’d want to choose a clicks-to-website ad or even a web conversion ad.

If your goal was to boost your brand’s awareness or get more likes for your company Facebook page, then a conversion or lead generation ad wouldn’t make sense either. You’d run a like campaign or sponsor a few of your favorite, eye-catching posts to reach a greater number of potential followers.

While these examples might seem a little obvious, it’s important to remember that every aspect of the ad you create should work towards your campaign goal. With a campaign goal in mind, you can better develop content, creative, and design that work to direct consumers to whatever your goal might be.

You need a solid goal for each Facebook advertising campaign before you start building the ad if you want to see quality results.

#2 Understand Your Facebook Ad’s Audience

We’ve already talked about Facebook having a huge platform on which to advertise your product or company. There are millions of Facebook users, and the fact is, they don’t all want your product. So don’t market to all of them.

If you’re hoping to minimize your budget while still maximizing Facebook ad performance, you might want to look into microtargeting. It’s a thing the HA Digital Marketing ad team does really well (if you don’t mind our saying so), and it’s produced some impressive results for our clients.

Microtargeting is the art of narrowing down your ad campaign’s audience to just the very key consumers who are likely to be interested, or who already are interested in the product or service you’re offering. Effective microtargeting can take a little bit of practice and market research, but when it’s done properly, the results don’t lie.

Whether you’re up on the microtargeting trend or not, it’s good to know at least a few defining factors about your target buyer — their age, their occupation or industry, and maybe even one or two of their interests. These qualifiers make for targeted ad campaigns that can produce better results, for less money.

#3 Don’t Forget About Creative

It’s easy to get caught up in the goals and targeting aspects of Facebook advertising, but it’s important to remember that in the end, your ad is going to real humans. Make sure your creative reflects that.

Consumers respond to images and videos that tell them a story and make them feel something. Click To Tweet

Try not to forget that the content — both visual and written — that accompanies your ad is what’s really going to sell you. Take the time to get it right, and be sure to keep in mind that audience you’re targeting and your goal for the ad campaign as a whole.

#4 Link to Something Good (Like a Landing Page)

If your Facebook advertising campaign’s goal is to drive traffic or web conversions to your site, you have to offer something good, and you need to link to a page that will perform well.

It’s pretty obvious that you need to offer something attractive to get people to click on your ad. What’s not always obvious is how you offer that content or promotion when they get to your site.

Let’s say you wrote a killer ebook that will solve your target audience’s pain points, like right now. That’s life-changing content they need.

Too many advertisers miss out on a quality opportunity by just serving up that content as soon as a Facebook user clicks over to their website. Instead of sending those users to a general page, send them to a landing page.

From here, you can ask for just a little bit of information from them, like an email address and a first name, before they download that awesome ebook. This way, your Facebook ad campaign is proving legitimate, tangible ROI — a qualified lead, with all the contact information you need to keep pulling them through the rest of the sales funnel.

It’s important to remember that your ad is bigger than just a little advertisement on Facebook. That ad should be working on every level to deliver you more leads, for as little money as possible. By linking your web conversion and traffic ads to a landing page that can capture key lead information, you’re boosting the campaign’s overall value to your company.

#5 Keep Optimizing in Real Time

Facebook ads can run for as long as you’d like. Set them to run until you’ve spent your budget, or choose instead to let them run for a few weeks of your choosing.

What’s important is to check back and optimize those Facebook ads in real time.

Facebook ads offer some incredible insights into your target buyer’s ad preferences as well as the effectiveness of the ads you’ve created. Best of all, Facebook lets you optimize those ads in real time. If one ad set is outperforming the others, you can stop the others and let that one use the majority of the budget.

If another ad starts slowing down, consider changing the creative to bump up audience interest.

Take a look at your stats while your ads are running, and optimize them based on the data you’re receiving in real time. These adjustments will help you minimize your ad budget while optimizing the ad’s overall performance.

#6 Think Big-Picture

Our last tip for optimizing your Facebook ad performance is to always keep the big picture in mind.

We’ve already talked about placing a priority on your ad’s objective, but it’s also important to think about how your Facebook ads fit into the bigger picture of your digital marketing strategy.

You might not be able to prove precise ROI from one Facebook campaign or track a campaign's immediate effects on your bottom line. That's okay. Click To Tweet

If you’re able to keep the big picture in mind, it’s easier to realize that a Facebook engagement or awareness campaign can help get the word out about your company and generate more traffic for your website in the grand scheme of things. Your Facebook advertising campaigns are just one part of your digital marketing strategy and should function as such.

Facebook Ads: One Part of Your Digital Marketing Strategy

A Facebook campaign can help you get more traffic, more conversions, or raise more awareness for your company, but it can’t do everything for you. If your Facebook ad campaigns are returning good metrics, and aren’t costing you much money, they’re working in your favor. It’s the rest of your digital marketing strategy’s job to convert those positive results into future leads, contacts, and sales.

Facebook advertising is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. Facebook offers one of the most comprehensive targeting platforms, allowing you to develop and deploy ads that are specific and relevant to key audiences.

That said, Facebook ads take a bit of time and finesse to get just right. If you’re not sure you’re there yet, or if you’d like a little help microtargeting Facebook ad campaigns that deliver exceptional results, the Evenbound team can help. Let’s chat about how we can optimize your Facebook ads and digital marketing strategy for overall company growth.

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7 Ways to Apply Inbound Marketing Tactics to Your Facebook Ad Strategy

7 Ways to Apply Inbound Marketing Tactics to Your Facebook Ad Strategy

Optimizing Your Facebook Ad Spend With Inbound Marketing

In recent years, a solid social media ad campaign has become just as important as a PPC ad campaign for many industries. The fact is, most people spend a great deal of time on social media sites, and because of the exceptional targeting power of social media giants like Facebook, the platforms offer the segmentation data and the exposure many inbound marketers are looking for.

If your company is thinking of starting a Facebook ad campaign, or already has a Facebook ad strategy in place, applying a few inbound marketing tactics can help optimize your Facebook ads for ultimate results. Here are 7 inbound marketing tactics you can use to boost the effectiveness of your Facebook ad strategy:

#1 Target Facebook Ads To Your Buyer Personas

Remember those buyer personas you spent so long drafting and editing? Well, they’re good for a lot more than just your website content. Use your buyer personas to determine your Facebook ad targeting settings. You can’t make content (or ads) perfectly suited for everyone — so don’t try.

Instead, segment your ads based on buyer persona, and build different Facebook ad sets to target different personas with different interests. Facebook offers a vast suite of targeting tools, so you can set ads to go out to people with specific likes, dislikes, hobbies, job titles, and more — all things you probably already have outlined in your buyer personas. Use those buyer personas to develop Facebook ad campaigns that go out to consumers you already know have an interest in the products or services you offer.

#2 Set Clear, SMART Goals

Inbound Methodology tells us that we should always set SMART Goals. That is, goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

This principle is directly applicable to your Facebook ad strategy as well. Whether you’re looking to boost engagement, or drive traffic to your website, it’s important to define a goal for each Facebook ad you create, so you understand immediately when your ad is successful, and when it’s not. Here’s how you can apply SMART goal setting to your Facebook ads:

  • Specific: 500 likes, or 100 new followers. A specific, ultimate goal for your campaign to work towards.
  • Measurable: If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, is there a certain percentage of traffic you’re looking for? Do you want a certain number of new contacts? How will you measure the success of your Facebook ad?
  • Attainable: If your last campaign resulted in 15 new followers, you shouldn’t set a new campaign goal of 100 followers. That’s just unrealistic. While it would be amazing if you reached 100 new followers, you need to make sure your goals are set based on real, hard data, and are possible to reach. Otherwise, your results will always be discouraging, and you may not be able to see the benefits that your ads are creating.
  • Relevant: Your goal should be relevant to the campaign you’re putting out. If your ad talks about the story behind your company, your goal might be engagement focused. If you’re advertising a free ebook or webinar, your goal might be more conversion-based.
  • Timely: Don’t let your Facebook ad run in perpetuity, but don’t set it to run for just a few hours either. Plan for your campaign to run for a specific amount of time that will help your company work to its goal, and that will produce enough data for you to learn from and implement on your next ad campaign.

#3 Tell, Don’t Sell

When it comes to creating ads for social media, especially for Facebook, it’s key to keep inbound marketing best practices in mind. That means forget about the hard sell. Especially if you’re a B2B company, a “Buy Now” ad isn’t likely to convert the way you want.

The best way to get today's consumer to interact with your brand is to offer something that's actually attractive to them. Instead of running an ad with your company logo and description, offer a free ebook or whitepaper. Click To Tweet Write a bit of compelling content that tells a story, rather than tries to “sell” your company or your product.

Consumers run from the hard sale like the plague, so put effort into drafting a narrative, and offering up something unique and worthwhile. The more interesting and compelling your offer, the more effective your campaign will be.

#4 Test, Smartly

Always test for your goals by sending out more than one version of your ad. You never know what photo, what content, or even what call-to-action button consumers will respond best to, so it’s always good to test your ads.

How to test multiple Facebook ads:

Let’s say you have two different graphics for the same ad. Create one ad set, targeted to your specific buyer persona, and upload the first image to that set. Launch the first set, and then go back into your Facebook ad manager. You can now duplicate that set — so the ad with the other graphic goes out to the exact same consumers — and simply change the image. Set both ads to deploy simultaneously, and you’ll be able to watch the ads progress, and see which graphic performs best in your targeted audience.

When you’re testing your ads, it’s important to only change one aspect at a time, so you know exactly what is driving more or less engagement, and so you can accurately apply those results to future ad campaigns.

#5 Adjust in Real Time

The digital world is fast-moving. Don't wait for your ads to end to determine their success. Click To Tweet

Facebook allows you to adjust and tweak ads at any point in your campaign, and you should take advantage of that. If you’re a few days into an ad that’s just not performing, you can pause it or adjust your settings for better performance. On the other hand, if you have an ad that’s facilitating a ton of conversions and boosted engagement, you can extend it or bump up the budget slightly. Making adjustments in real-time allows you to maximize your budget on the spot. This way, you’re not wasting money on an underperforming ad.

#6 Focus on Long Term Value

While your immediate budget and spending goals are important, it’s equally important to keep an eye on how much you’re spending relevant to your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). When you’re just starting your Facebook Ad campaign, it’s easy to worry that the money you’re spending isn’t worth the leads you’re getting. A surefire way to figure out if that’s true is to consider your customer lifetime value.

For example, let’s say it costs you $80 to acquire a customer. Let’s also say that your average loyal customer spends about $800 over their lifetime as your customer. Even if you don’t make $800 immediately from each customer, you know that over their lifetime as your client, you have essentially spent $80 to earn $800. That’s a pretty attractive ROI, if you ask us.

Bottom line — Don’t get caught up in the immediate shock of spending, unless you’re shelling out a lot on ads that aren’t producing new business. Your goal should always be long-term success, and to accurately measure that, you need to look at the ratio of what you’re spending compared to what you’ll make in the long run from each of those new customers you’ve acquired.

#7 Inbound-ify Your Facebook Ads — Turn Them Into Funnels

Finally, if you want to apply really successful inbound marketing tactics to your Facebook ad strategy — embrace the funnel.

If you’re familiar with inbound marketing, you’ll know that it’s best practice to create content for consumers in every stage of the inbound marketing funnel. From a stranger to your brand to an interested lead, each consumer at each level of the funnel will be seeking different information. Traditional inbound marketing targets leads moving through the funnel with email workflows that provide the right content, at just the right time. You can apply this idea of nurturing leads through the funnel to your Facebook ad strategy too!

Facebook Ad Funnel Basics

Facebook allows you to create ad funnels, which work much the same as an email workflow.  You start with a top-level ad that tells consumers a little bit about your company. Let that ad run for a few days.

Then, send out a second ad to the consumers who interacted with the first ad. If your first ad was a video, then you can send your second ad to just the people who watched say, 20 percent of your video. If your first ad was a static image, you can send the second one to just those consumers who clicked on or in some way interacted with the first.

From there, you can keep your ad funnel going about as far as you want, until you’re targeting only the most interested, engaged consumers for that particular ad set. This is a great way to optimize your spending, and it also helps to pull people through the inbound marketing funnel, ensuring they’re even more qualified for your products and services by the time they make it to your website.

Though it’ll take a bit more work to set up a Facebook ad funnel, it’s a useful tool that will give you increased insight into how your ideal customers and target buyers react to your social media advertising strategy.

Why Inbound Marketing Tactics Work for Facebook Ads

Inbound marketing tactics are so effective for Facebook advertising campaigns because they are already designed specifically for today’s consumer. The average consumer (who just so happens to be the exact same person you’re targeting on Facebook) prefers a warmer sales experience than the traditional hard-sell. Since inbound marketing is already geared to those consumers, it’s easily applied to a Facebook ad campaign to boost your results and maximize your spend. Learn more about using outbound marketing to attract, engage, and close qualified leads here. 

The foundation of inbound marketing is getting to know, on a personal level, your ideal consumer. If you’d like to know a little bit more about how you can use inbound marketing to grow your company in 2019, let’s chat. We’re a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner, and we’ve been doing inbound marketing for about as long as it’s been around. We’d love to help you grow, so schedule time with our president, John Heritage to see what Evenbound is all about.

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How Digital Ads Sell Homes

How Digital Ads Sell Homes

At this point, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you home builders out there that digital marketing is the best way to get new clients and sell homes. That’s old news. You’ve likely heard all about how you need to have a high-quality, mobile responsive website that features high resolution photos; how you need a blog that offers quality content; how you need to get in on conversations on Houzz and Facebook and other social media platforms, etc. And that’s all still very true — if you want to get consumers’ attention, and if you want to get Google’s attention, you need to complete all of those key SEO activities. But if you’re a results driven person — that might not be enough for you.

It’s also no secret that the homebuilding industry is exceptionally competitive. Even if you’re implementing all of those great, whitehat SEO techniques, it’s possible that you’re still in tough competition with a number of builders in your area, and some big national names who have overarching clout online. With all of the noise, how’s a local builder to get ahead?

One of the answers is digital advertising.

It’s an attractive answer for a few reasons, but if you just made a face and thought “ew, I’m not paying for online advertising” just stick with me for a second.

Digital ads sell homes. There’s no getting around it. (We wrote a whole guide to digital advertising and outbound marketing, it’s that serious.) If you’re hoping to cut through the noise and put your home building company above the competition, you’re going to want to give digital ads serious consideration. Here’s why:

Benefits of Digital Advertising for Home Builders:

Easy to Use, Easy to Turn on And Off

When it comes to digital ads, whether you advertise on Google, Facebook, or even Bing, you have total control. This means if you’re trying to fill a development or a spec home, you can put the ad up for only exactly as long as it takes to sell. As soon as the homes are gone, you can take down the ads. That’s a lot easier than making a total website for your development, and then having to adapt or take it down after the development is full.

That control also means that if you need to save a little money, you can stop your ads from going out. If you know your ads don’t perform well on the week days, stop them Monday through Friday, and turn them on for the weekends. With digital advertising, you have total control.

Spend Only What you Want

In the same vein, you only spend what you want with digital advertising. You can create budget limits on each and every ad you create, no matter which platform you’re choosing. Daily limits are great if you only want to spend so much per day, or you can set overall campaign limits, and just let an ad run until it’s used up all of its spend.

The key benefit of digital advertising spend is that you’re only paying for the people who click on your ad. So, unlike traditional print ads, you’re not paying just for exposure. You’re paying for people who make the conscious decision to click on your ad, and are taken to your website, where you can gather their contact info.

Precise Targeting

Beyond the fact that you’re only paying for people who click on your ad, targeting options on digital ads are exceptionally specific. You can choose who gets to see your ad, based on age, demographics, interests, likes, even crazy things like job title and occupation. This means you can set your digital ads to go out to the people you know will be interested in, and can afford your homes.

This increases the success rate of your ad campaign, and decreases the money you have to spend to get qualified leads. Best of all, your digital ad campaigns put you ahead of your competition. Your houses, and your ad will show up above all the other homebuilders who aren’t advertising, meaning you get the first look from your target buyers.

How to Create Digital Ads that Sell Homes

At this point, it should be pretty clear why digital ads sell homes. They’re a cheap, effective, and precise method of advertising that sets you above your competition, and can target your key buyers. So now, how do you create effective digital ad campaigns that actually get the clicks?

Platform

The first choice to make is where to advertise. You can create digital ads for nearly any digital platform these days, but some will always be more effective than others. At this point, Google and Facebook seem to be the best bets for home builders.

Facebook Paid Ads

Facebook has one of the most intuitive targeting options available. You can so specifically choose the target audience for your ad that anyone who clicks on it is guaranteed to fit your target buyer’s profile. This seriously bumps up the effectiveness of your ad campaign.

What’s more, Facebook is highly visual, giving you the chance to show off your beautiful homes in an ad experience that seems relatively organic to the users. Most Facebook users are already looking for photos and visually appealing content. If your ad has great photos of your homes, you’re likely to see a lot of engagement, and photo ads do tend to perform best on Facebook.

Google Paid Ads (PPC)

Google is obviously the most well known platform for digital ads. It’s a great place to find those end-of-cycle buyers, who already know they want a new home, they know what they want it to look like, and they just need someone to build it for them.

Google is also a great tool in your toolbox because of the advanced metrics it provides. You’ll be able to tell which of your ads are doing well, and which aren’t, and most importantly, Google can help you discover why. As a result, you’re able to tweak and optimize each of your ad campaigns to ensure you’re spending the least amount possible for the greatest number of qualified leads.

Target to End-Of-Cycle Buyers

The best way to boost your ROI with digital ads is to write and deploy ad campaigns that target end-of-cycle buyers. These are the people who have already made the decision to buy a home. They’ve done research, they’ve decided how much they’d like to spend, now they just need to choose a builder.

Building ad campaigns that target these buyers is easy, if you know your target buyer well. Generally, end-of-cycle buyers are going to search for home builders in their area, and they’ll be looking for reviews of each candidate so they can make an educated guess about which builder is the best fit for their dream home. Bid on more specific keywords like “best custom home builder in Grand Haven, MI” or “craftsman-style homebuilder near me.” These are searches that will only be done by someone who’s legitimately looking to build a home in your area.

Use Demographics to Target your Ideal Buyer

We mentioned earlier the exceptionally advanced targeting options that both Google and Facebook offer. Use these as fully as you possibly can for effective, high ROI digital ad campaigns. You should know who your ideal buyer is first:

Do you build smaller, lower cost first homes for young couples just starting out?

Do you build custom dream homes for doctors and surgeons on the lake?

Do you build something in between, or something totally different?

Imagine the person you most often sell homes to. Are they young? Old? Female? Male? Employed at the local hospital or nearby manufacturing plant? Answers to each of these questions are demographics you can target when building your ad campaigns. The more specific your ads, the more qualified leads you’re likely to get. Remember though, if you exclude too many people from your ad campaigns, you might shrink the amount of engagement you see from that particular campaign.

Make Sure Your Ads Lead to a Landing Page

The final component of a successful ad campaign that gets you the qualified leads you’re looking for is a quality landing page. We won’t go into the nitty gritty details here, but what’s most important is that each of your ads send leads to a landing page. If you don’t have a landing page for your digital ads, you’re basically wasting money, because it’s your landing pages that will capture email addresses and other necessary contact info.

You use information from your landing pages to reach out and close deals, and without it, your ad will do little more than raise awareness for your brand — which is great, but not really the goal of a digital ad campaign that’s supposed to convert leads. Not every ad you create needs its own unique landing page, but each ad should connect to a landing page that’s relevant to whatever you’re advertising. Again, for more info check out this blog.

Digital ads sell homes. There’s really no question there. If you create intuitive digital ad campaigns that are well targeted to people who want the homes you’re offering, you can reach a wide range of qualified potential leads, using very minimal funds.

That said, digital ad campaigns can be easier said than done, so if you’re worried about building a successful campaign, or you’d like a bit more help getting started, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Evenbound. We’re digital ad experts, and we’re happy to offer a few getting-started tips, or even help handle your ad campaigns for you — just let us know what you need. And if you’re not sure where you’re going with your digital marketing plan just yet, check out this Smartass Guide to Inbound Marketing. It’s got the information you need, and it’s not boring:

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