- Don’t underestimate the importance of advertising. It can boost your reputation, bring in new customers, and make you more competitive.
- When tightening your budgets, it can be tempting to cut down on ad spend. Instead, you should think of advertising as a long-term strategy.
- Choosing the right kind of ad is critical—you need to target your potential customers without going over budget.
- You can get the most out of your ad spend by adapting to change, such as seasonal opportunities or even economic downturns.
What is digital advertising?
Digital advertising, or online advertising, is a strategy for reaching potential customers through online channels. This includes advertising on websites, social media, emails, streaming content, and more. Digital ads, which can include image, copy, video, or a combination of these, can be one part of your overall marketing strategy.
Why is advertising important for your business?
Most successful companies use advertising in some form. But why is it so important? Advertising can do a number of important things for your company, including:
- Create awareness and education
- Bring in new customers
- Boost your company’s reputation
- Be competitive
- Create sales or demand
Let’s break down what each of these benefits looks like:
Create awareness and education
Your business will only be successful if potential customers know you exist. Creating awareness and educating customers is part of the purpose of advertising, but ads can also keep your customers in the loop about upcoming events, sales, or new products.
Bring in new customers
Even if you have a steady stream of regular shoppers, new customers can drive serious growth for your company. The right business ads will make your company more appealing to customers who have never tried your product or services.
Boost your reputation
What do people think of when they think of your company? Advertising can help shape that in a positive way. In addition, the voice and branding of an ad can help convey the feeling you want customers to get when they shop at your business.
Are you professional or fun? Classic or modern? Your ads can help set the tone, and the right advertising techniques will bring in more customers.
Do you offer something your competitors can’t match? Maybe your prices are lower than your competitors, or you offer specialty products they don’t carry? Online advertising can showcase how you stand out from the competition.
Create sales or demand
In the end, this is what it’s all about. Advertising can increase sales by keeping your product top of mind for customers, and pushing them over the edge to buy when they are feeling indecisive.
Types of digital advertising
Here are some of the most popular types of digital advertising:
These are images or videos that appear on web pages and link to the advertiser’s website. They can include a catchy headline, product information, or just a cool graphic to catch a viewer’s attention.
If you’ve ever Googled something and seen several business ad results at the top of the page, you’ve seen paid search in action. You can pay to have your website show up as an ad when users Google certain keywords or phrases.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok can be a great way to reach a new audience. You can create posts for your company on social media, but you can also choose to boost certain posts or create paid ads through social media. You could even work with an influencer who could share details about your product with their followers.
Youtube and streaming platforms such as Hulu are full of video ads that reach millions of potential customers. Creating video takes time, effort, and a budget, but when it works it can really pay off.
Ads on music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and, yes, even AM/FM radio, can reach a wide audience, but they take creativity to be effective.
How should I advertise my business?
There are many ways to advertise, but you should focus your efforts on strategies that will reach your audience and generate the most sales. The way this can play out for your company depends on your industry, the size of your business, and the budget you can spend on advertising.
Your advertising strategy
Follow these three steps to create your own advertising strategy:
1. Create an advertising budget
How much can you afford to spend? To create an advertising budget, you’ll need to understand your sales funnel, your operating costs, and your overall business goals. Make an informed decision about how much it makes sense to spend at this point in your company’s trajectory.
Check out our guide to creating a marketing budget to get started.
2. Target your potential customers
You don’t want to use Instagram ads if your customer base is 60+ years old, and you don’t want to use billboards if your target audience doesn’t drive cars. The right advertising format or channel can make a big difference, but so can the voice of the ad itself.
3. Choose the right kind of advertising
Not every ad needs to be a TV spot during the big game, but sometimes going big can also pay off. Be sure to look at the potential return on investment for the type of ads you want to use, and possibly revisit your budget depending on the scope of the project.
Get the most out of advertising in times of change
Every year of your business won’t be the same—in fact, every season, month, or even week will be a little different. So why would you keep your advertising strategy stagnant? Here are some tips for keeping your ads fresh as things change.
Keep advertising during economic downturns
When the economy is fluctuating, it’s tempting to cut advertising budgets to save money. However, all of your competitors are likely thinking the exact same way—and you can take advantage of that.
Check out these reasons to invest in ad spend today:
1. There’s less competition
As other companies in your industry are tightening their budgets, you have an opportunity to be one of the few voices in the advertising space that still keeps a customer connection. You’ll also project a sense of stability even while the economy feels uncertain.
Don’t waste this opportunity—use it as a chance to stand out.
2. You’ll receive long-term benefits
The advantages of advertising might not be immediately apparent, but a targeted advertising campaign can help you reap rewards over time. This Forbes article details several successful companies—such as Toyota and Taco Bell—that continued advertising during recessions and saw significant benefits in the long term.
3. Advertising might be cheaper than you expect
When an economic downturn is on the horizon, online advertising becomes more affordable for businesses of all sizes. Advertising prices dropped by as much as 13% during the previous recessions. This means you could buy more ads with a lower budget.
How to get ahead of seasonal shopping
Economic downturns aren’t the only time to invest in advertising—you’ll also want to make sure customers know about your brand before they start any kind of seasonal shopping
This doesn’t mean posting about winter holiday sales in October, but you can strategically start ramping up advertising before the season starts. As you get closer to the times of year that your business makes its biggest profits, such as Black Friday, you can create a sense of urgency. This can come from big reveals, countdowns, or even smaller, limited-time discounts before the day itself.
A sense of urgency can encourage customers to make purchases sooner rather than later, or at least sign up for your marketing emails so they’ll know about your holiday sales ASAP.
They say the holiday season starts earlier every year, so don’t find yourself trailing behind.
Use Divvy for ad spend
Want to organize your ad spend and eliminate expense reports? Divvy, a Bill.com company, can make it happen.
With Divvy expense management, you can easily set spend limits and manage advertising budgets. Use virtual cards for ad spend to easily track spending and stay on budget.
You can automatically categorize spending and get instant visibility into ad spending right in the Divvy app. The software even syncs with popular accounting programs you already use.
Plus Divvy Rewards means you get more cash back on your ad spend—so you can be successful with advertising even during an uncertain economic climate.
The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided “as-is”; no representations are made that the content is error free.