If you’re like many business owners, there’s a good chance that improving your paid media strategy is a top priority. If you’re like others, you may feel a little in the dark about what paid media really is. To help clarify, HubSpot defines it as “one method by which organizations can promote their content through sponsored social media posts, display ads, paid search results, video ads, pop-ups, and other promoted multimedia.” 

Wherever you fall along this spectrum, there’s a lot to be gained by optimizing your paid media and social marketing ads. But how can you improve advertising results, without having a Ph.D. in marketing – or at least a large marketing department that can guide you? Here are three simple steps.  

Before: Know your target buyers

We know what you’re thinking: of course we know our buyers! Maybe you do… but we’ve found that even some of the savviest business owners have trouble delineating between possible buyers and ideal buyers. Many owners want any business they can get, so they cast a wide net and try to get sales from anyone and their actual mothers. But this approach will fail you, especially in your paid media strategy. 

What you really need is clear buyer personas, as well as negative personas. Taking the time to consider past sales, current customers and market research will help you form a much clearer picture of who your best customers are and define the folks who aren’t worth your time (even if they’re willing to write you a check). Here’s a great resource about personas to get your feet wet, if you haven’t yet. 

Once you’ve gone through this process, you can concretely figure out which types of ads are most likely to be seen by your target audience, given their demographics, psychographics, and firmographics. Instead of shooting in the dark, using personas to guide your ad strategy helps you stay focused and ensures your ad budget will be seen by the best possible buyers. 


During: Use data to shape your ads

Of course, buyer personas aren’t fail-proof. You may create two key personas and adjust your paid media strategy accordingly, only to find that you’re getting even less traction than you did before. This is where data comes in. Review your ad engagement and how it impacts other first-party data (clicks on landing pages, content downloads, etc.) to see whether your ads are driving the actions you want. If not, your personas may need more work. Adjust again, and test again. 

If you’re at a more advanced stage of marketing, you may even start to work with intent data. Such third-party data, which is becoming more prevalent through providers like Bombora and 6Sense, provides a lot of insight into your target audience’s behavior online and search trends. If you do have access to data like this, use your learnings to create better ads that really resonate. For example, you might find that the parents of potential karate students are often searching for the keywords “best self defense for little girls.” If you offer such classes, you can use this verbiage in your next ad, knowing it’s popular with your key demographics. 


After: Drive leads to custom landing pages

Even if you have an attention-grabbing, relevant ad, you won’t get anything from it if it doesn’t encourage buyers to take the next step toward a purchase. Our advice? Create custom landing pages for every ad you run. This way, those who click on your Instagram ad, for instance, are taken to a landing page that looks, feels, and reads just like the ad they liked so much. This creates consistency and ensures your audience won’t get lost in a sea of text and graphics on your general home page, but rather see what vibes with them and be led along your buyer journey. 


Need help improving your paid media strategy and results? We’d love to help. Give us a call!