A common sentiment I’m hearing from clients lately is the frustration around not being able to afford paid ads—and the feeling that without paid ads, they’re never going to succeed in business.
I have 3 big thoughts on this.
1. Just because you buy an impression, doesn’t mean you make one.
Throwing $1000 of $10,000 at paid ads will make zero difference to your business if your existing marketing collateral isn’t effectively communicating your value. By this I mean the messaging communicated through your social media feeds, your portfolio, your website and so on. Often we think we need to “spend money to make money”, which can indeed be true, but be aware of where you’re spending that money. More often than not, the money is better spent improving your content to engage your existing audience, rather than trying to recruit new followers as a bandaid for an existing marketing strategy that isn’t converting customers as you would like.
2. Paid Ads aren’t an easy fix or a quick win.
What are you really hoping to achieve from paid marketing? Do you want to increase your brand awareness? Do you want to boost engagement with your existing followers? Do you want to get more traffic to your website? Are you wanting to sell a product or promote a service? Are you looking to grow your email list? And then, I challenge you by asking “Do you really need paid ads in order to achieve this, or are you just hoping for a quick win?” Paid Ads can help you do all of these 👆 things without a doubt, but they are far from a quick win. They’re actually a LOT of work! You might find committing to a regular email newsletter, or creating an extra reel each week, or blogging once a month is an easier and cheaper win than a paid ads campaign!
3. You could try PR instead!
PR is public relations; essentially getting your business featured, whether that’s through a magazine publication, collaborations, guest blogging, influencer marketing, being interviewed on a podcast—anything that helps get your brand in front of your ideal audience. Yes, you can pay for PR, but you can also take the DIY route. Pitch yourself as a podcast guest, offer to write an article on your area of expertise for a publication your ideal client reads, collaborate with someone in your circle of influence to gain access to each other’s audience. All of these more organic approaches to marketing might get you similar—if not better—results to paid ads for a fraction of the cost.
Now before you think I’m anti-paid ads! Ha! I am absolutely not.
I have a fantastic paid ads manager I work with closely (Hi, Emma!) and have seen tremendous results for clients, including getting 75 registered for a webinar when the usual sign-up rate is under 20. #bigwin.
But I hate the rhetoric that not being able to afford ads means you’re doomed for failure. It’s just not true.
Good, consistent, value-based content will always win. And that’s something you can achieve with any budget.