Should I spend money advertising my business?

Learn the basics of online advertising, and how to explore without a big budget:

For small businesses, advertising comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether you work locally, online or a mix of both - you can participate in various advertising techniques without spending a ton of money. If your aspirations are to have a steady schedule or work, or to eventually have a company of many, there is an appropriate budget and strategy for you to achieve that. 

Here's your crash course in some of the most popular avenues of advertising, how to target your audience on the platform, and what kind of content performs best:  

Your Advertising Options - How to Target Audiences, and Best Content Type per Platform:

Facebook Ads + Promoted Posts

Facebook is a great tool to build an audience that trusts you and considers you an expert. It's useful to capture new customer information, and generate a new client out of that inquiry. Use Facebook Ads (which show up like an in-feed post) to showcase your value. Start small with $1-5/day to test your ads and get a feel for how they perform.

  • How to Target Audiences on Facebook:
    When targeting an audience on Facebook, they will alert you of how big of a potential audience reach your parameters yield. 100,000 people is a good threshold, because this number represents the total possible number of people who meet your targeting, only a fraction may sign into Facebook in the time you have your ads running. 

    Let's say you're a local personal trainer (insert your business type into this exercise): 
    Start with narrowing down a location to run ads to, choose general demographics like age range, genders, and then choose specific interests. There are many categories that fit health and wellness as a whole, and you can get as granular as targeting "People who Like Your Local Gym Page."  

    For an online trainer, you can be more broad. Broad targeting can be good or bad - on one hand, ads are often cheaper to run to a larger audience, but on the other hand, you might not see great ad performance without narrowing your target a bit. Choose related interests and categories, and focusing on smaller cities or even other countries if you want, you'll find it's more affordable to bid for ad space there, whereas focusing on major cities like Los Angeles, New York or Houston are hard to outbid as you compete with other businesses.

  • Best Content Type on Facebook: 
    Facebook allows for many forms of content: articles, webinars, videos, events, or imagery. The best performing content is video, and it doesn't have to be highly produced! An iPhone shot will do. Write down a few ideas that you think will catch people's intrigue: "5 at-home items you can use to workout", "The only core exercise you need to do for a flat stomach", or "Today is the day you begin health and wellness." 

    What's easy and fun about Facebook Ads is you don't have to use the same ad or targeting to appeal to your clients. Try a sponsored post for one demographic, try a video ad for another demographic. Be concise and stick to a message and call-to-action that is clear - try to explain what you're offering, how it benefits them, and what to do next - in one sentence.

Instagram Ads + Boost Posts

Instagram Ads go hand-in-hand with Facebook Ads. Since they're both owned by Facebook, running IG Ads require a Facebook Business Page and Profile. Choose from Stories Ads, to Photo Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads, Collection Ads or simply a promoted post from a post you've shared

  • How to Target Audiences on Instagram:
    With your Business Page and Profile (on both Instagram and Facebook), you'll set up Instagram Ads in Ads Manager via Facebook. You can go through the same location, demographic, interest, behavior and custom audience targeting. Try "Lookalike Audiences" to find new people who are similar to your existing customers. 
  • Best Content Type on Instagram: 
    Instagram is one of the most active social media tools in the world, with 800 million active users. For businesses interested in growing brand awareness and exposure, increase website traffic, or moving interested clients into new clients -- the best type of content is one that catches the eye. Consider scrolling through your feed or mindlessly swiping through stories. What can you possibly utilize that stops and engages someone?

    The best ads don't look like ads. Choose photos that look real, take videos that look like other stories (DIY, spur the moment, related to what's going on currently). A short video post works great too, try a fitness tip, a motivational message, incorporate results before/after photos, and you can still utilize hashtags with ads too! 

How will you know if your Instagram and Facebook Ads are performing well?

  • Click-through rate (CTR): over 1% is good, and 2-3% is ideal.
  • Frequency: make sure this doesn't go past 10.
  • Relevancy score: 5-7 is average, above is amazing, and below you should tweak your ad (try changing the text, image, or targeting).
  • You'll also know if your ads are performing if they're helping you hit the goal you want: get new client inquiries, increase your page likes, or drive more traffic to your site.

TikTok Ads

As a newer but immensely popular platform, TikTok is all for video content with a young marketplace, with 41% of users between the age of 16 and 24. If that's your demographic, consider creating content on TikTok.

  • How to Target Audiences on YouTube:
    TikTok Ads Manager is where you'll set up your creative. Formats include: horizontal, vertical, or square video and images. Similar to Instagram and Facebook, you can target audience by gender, location, age, interests, and lookalike audiences as well. Before you run ads anywhere, it's good to understand who you want to work with from a location and demographic aspect, and then tailor ads to speak to that group on each platform. 
  • Best Content Type on YouTube: 
    The content on TikTok skews silly and fun. What's your vibe? Keep your content simple, authentic and personable. It's a social media platform that runs on hashtags as well, so you can brand a hashtag for your business and utilize that with your ads and videos. Consider a takeover - allowing a client to takeover your TikTok account for a day.
  • You can run ads in-feed, detail page, post-roll and in your story. 

Write for an Industry Blog 

Paying to write or being a guest writer on a relevant industry blog is a great way for businesses to find new audiences, get new customers, and become seen as an influencer or expert in your specialty. Writing for a blog doesn't have to cost any money at all, and that would be the best way to advertise yourself. However, unless you feel comfortable with pitching stories and have impressive writing skills and readership to bring to the table, you may find yourself buying a sponsored post space, or requesting to place content in a popular email newsletter.

  • How to Find the Right Blog:
    Identify a list of 20 or so blogs that you want to reach out to. Which blogs do you read right now? Focus on publications that resonate with your and the audience you want to speak to. If you're a trainer who specializes with pregnant women or new moms, focus your search with mom blogs. Search on google for "new mom blogs" or "best workouts if pregnant" and work backwards by which blogs show up on the first 2-3 pages of your search, or see which articles show up and what publication they're from. 
  • Best Content Type for Blogs: 
    The most popular blog content are listicles and how-tos. Strong articles explain complex or challenging articles simply. You could pitch an evergreen article, like "The Best Core Strengtheners for New Moms" or something more timely such as "8 Ways to Stay Motivated and Fit During a Pandemic". 

Get Listed in Local Directory

There are a lot of online directories (as well as in person), from the big ones like: Apple Maps, Yelp, Thumbtack, Google My Business, Next Door, Angies List, to your local municipality's website or Facebook Page. Some of these are free to join, and free to be listed. In the same way that social media is democratic with no barrier to entry, directories are open to all. But, it's the discovery aspect that may cost you money. Directories work closely with reviews, so you could try to enhance your search-ability by asking clients to write you reviews and boost your profile. Otherwise, you can see the cost of advertisements per directory to see if it's worth it for you. 

  • How to Find the Right Directory:
    Directories are a good place to assert yourself depending on the type of client you want to work with. More middle aged people tend to utilize directories and review sites like Yelp and Thumbtack than a young demographic. A good way to discovery a directory for you is to ask any existing clients what they used to find you, or if they find any particular site most useful. 

Referral Incentives

A basically free way to advertise, and one hugely successful way of finding new business is by offering a referral incentive (ie: a free class or session if you refer a friend!). If you're going to spend $20 on advertising, you may as well spend $20 on a referral, because that person is coming directly to you through a happy customer. This is an exceptional way to showcase yourself, provide value, and create a new client.

  • How to Advertise to Existing Customers:
    There are many ways to advertise this idea to existing customers - you can do it after a session or class, you can invite them through email, text, or put the offer on your social media profiles. It will not only be a great way to find new business, but strengthen your relationship with existing clients. 

At the core of every advertisement is what you want people to do after. Is your goal to have them book and pay immediately? Is the goal for them to call or email you?

Whichever the end desire, ensure that you utilize your Bounce House website, check your Messages often, and include the correct contact information.