TMCnet Feature
August 30, 2022

6 Online Advertising Tips for IT Businesses

How to Grow Your IT Business With Online Advertising

There are two primary ways to grow your IT business. The first option is to grow organically through content, networking, and referrals. The second option is to grow through paid traffic. Successful businesses use both strategies at the same time. That begs the question: Do you know how to win with advertising?

How to Win With Online Advertising

Organic traffic generation/sales ebbs and flows depending on the quality of your content, how much time and effort you put into proactively seeking out referrals, or the number of emails you send to your leads. In other words, it can be time-consuming and unpredictable.

Online advertising, on the other hand, can be a little more consistent and predictable – if you know what you’re doing. It’s entirely scalable, in the sense that once you figure out how to create revenue for your business by spending $50 per day on ads, you can be profitable spending $500 or even $5,000 per day. Having this sort of built-in scalability is huge. But again, you have to learn the ropes and know what you’re doing.

While it’s impossible to deliver an entire masterclass in online advertising in a single article, let’s dive into some of the most important things you need to know in order to be successful with online advertising for your IT business.

  1. Understand the Cost Structure

Before we dig into the different types of ads and how you can leverage various techniques, it’s important to understand the two main cost structures for ads.

  • CPC (News - Alert). Cost-per-click (CPC) ads are exactly as they sound. You (the advertiser) pay every time someone clicks on an ad within your campaign. That means 100 people could see your ad, but if only 10 people click the ad, you’re only paying for the cost of those 10 clicks. In theory, this ensures you don’t spend money on people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer.
  • CPM. Cost-per-impression (CPM) ads charge based on the total number of impressions your ad receives. In other words, if 100 people land on a page with your ad, you’re paying for those eyeballs (regardless of whether they’re interested in your product or not).

Almost every popular ad format follows either a CPC or CPM approach. If you’re trying to make a direct sale or get someone to take a specific action, CPC ads are usually more cost-effective and efficient. But if your advertising efforts are more focused on building brand recognition within a particular audience or industry, CPM has its place.

  1. Know the Different Types of Ads

“Online advertising” is a pretty broad term that refers to all different types of ads. When you first get started with online advertising, you’ll want to select one or two different types and focus your energy and attention on them. Here are the most common types:

  • Social ads. Social media ads typically come in the form of PPC ads delivered via platforms like Facebook, Twitter (News - Alert), Instagram, and LinkedIn. These ads may look like display ads served in a sidebar/banner or, more than likely, they’ll be integrated into the newsfeed to mimic the look of organically shared content.
  • Paid (News - Alert) Search ads. Search engine marketing (SEM) ads show up at the top of the Google or Bing search results. They often look similar to organic search results, but feature a heading that reads “Ad.”
  • Display ads. These ads appear on website pages all over the internet and come in a variety of forms. Banner ads and sidebar ads are the most common.
  • Video ads. These are the short ads you’ll see at the beginning of a YouTube video. Video ads are more expensive to create, but can be quite effective when the proper audience targeting is in place.

Don’t let this list overwhelm you. As mentioned, you only need to pick a couple of ad types and focus on them. More than likely, you’re going to focus on social ads (like Facebook) Paid Search ads (like Google (News - Alert)), and/or display ads.

  1. Choose Your Platforms

If you’re just getting started with online advertising, you don’t want to move too fast. We’d recommend choosing a couple of platforms and focusing on them. More than likely, this will mean investing in Facebook (News - Alert) and Google Ads of the CPC variety.

  1. Follow the Rules

Both Google and Facebook have strict rules on how you can advertise, what you can and can’t say, the types of products you can promote, etc. The good news is that you’re in a pretty safe industry (IT). You don’t have to worry much about controversial products or topics. Just make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules.

If you don’t follow the rules, you can end up in Google or Facebook “jail” – meaning your ads account gets suspended. If this happens, you’ll have to work with a company to get your Google Ads suspension reversed. (By being proactive, you can prevent this from happening in the first place.)

  1. Create Clever Ad Hooks

Successful online advertising is built on clever ad hooks. An ad hook is basically what makes people pay attention and click. It’s how you get people to care about what you’re saying.

For the most part, it’s the ad hooks on individual ads that will dictate your success. We recommend constantly trying new things, studying the analytics, and iterating to find the perfect hooks for your audience. (Note: The effectiveness of different hooks will vary over time. A particular hook might work really well for six months and then fizzle out. You’ll constantly have to improve and pivot. Sometimes changing a single word or image is all it takes.)

  1. Ensure Consistency

Getting people to see your ad is the first goal. The second goal is to entice them to click. But it doesn’t stop there. You want them to follow through with a specific action after clicking. This could be requesting a product demo, scheduling an appointment, purchasing a subscription, etc.

Regardless of the end goal, there must be consistency between the ad and the destination. For example, let’s say your Google Ad reads something like: “21 Things Your Current IT Services Provider Isn’t Telling You.” Make sure when someone clicks that ad, they’re being taken to a page that shares these “21 things.” You wouldn’t want to send them to your website’s contact page, which is an inconsistent landing page and doesn’t align with the promise of the ad.

Grow Your IT Business With Online Ads

Don’t stop your organic lead generation and traffic strategies. Successful IT businesses still commit time and resources to this sort of marketing. However, if you can layer skilled online advertising on top, you’ll multiply your results.

Let this article serve as a primer on the basics of online advertising. Now it’s time to go to the proverbial “drawing board” with your team and determine a proactive strategy.

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