paid ads marketing for startups

Should you use paid ads marketing for a new business?

Should you use paid ads marketing for a new business?

Paid ads marketing is a hot topic in business marketing world because it’s both popular and polarizing.

Paid ads on Meta (Facebook/Instagram) TikTok, YouTube, Google, Pinterest, and on and on, have increased as a marketing choice over the years and frankly, the bigger a platform gets, the likelier it is to push businesses and companies to pay them for advertising.

Paid ads as a marketing choice is polarizing because they can feel gimmicky, expensive and even desperate.

If you’re wrestling with the decision to use paid ads for your startup, here’s some real talk about the realities of running paid ads as a marketing method.

The Big Question: To use paid ads or opt organic

Should a startup business use paid ads for marketing? OR you may be asking yourself, should my bootstrapped new business jump into paid ads quickly or are there other, better organic options that will save me from the commitment to ad spend for a while while I build up my business budget?

Understanding the Commitment of Paid Ads

Paid ads are more than just a financial commitment; they’re about strategy, understanding your audience, and creating compelling content. Here’s a quick rundown of what it really takes to see true ROI (return on investment) from paid ads marketing:

  • ROI is King: Your ads need not just to attract leads, but to convert them into paying customers, covering your ad spend and then some.
  • Targeting Matters: Knowing your audience inside out is crucial for effective ad targeting without breaking the bank.
  • Content is Queen: High-quality, engaging content (think video and graphics) is essential for catching those eyeballs.

Budget Realities: Let’s talk about ad spend. It deserves its own article, honestly.

There was a time when a $10/day spend may have produced some okay results. That’s no longer true. So if you’re stuck in 2015 with your paid ads marketing expectation, I need to shoot straight.

It’s 2024. Everything is way more expensive now. Including paid ads.

Sorry, I’m just the messenger. I don’t dictate how far your dollar goes on these platforms.

Dabbling here and there on the lowest spend amount possible won’t cut it. It’s the worst use of your money.

Which means you need to be ready with a nice chunk of change when you commit to paid ads.

This is the best approach and probably not the requirement you’re ready for in the first year or so of business.

Taking that and the other above points into consideration, if you’re a bootstrapping, budget-lean, inexperienced business owner, you’re not likely to be set up for success by doing paid ads early on.

In the first year or two of business, you probably haven’t had enough practice on your messaging, audience targeting, content creation and interpreting marketing data to do ads well.

You probably don’t have thousands of dollars set aside to get paid ads at the place they should be to bring in great results.

Additionally, you probably have high expectations for the return from ads – which even in an optimal scenario (plenty of ad spend, great sales language and professionally created ads) takes time to achieve. You are likely to be discouraged and disappointed when the paid ads don’t 10x your sales within a month.

Because you haven’t experienced the actual realities of paid ad marketing.

The Rookie Phase: Is your product honestly ready for paid ads marketing?

For those in the early stages of their business journey, jumping into paid ads might seem like a fast track to success. Yet, without a solid understanding of your market and a tested product, it could lead to frustration and drained resources.

Hear me loud and clear on this: Paid ads are not a fix for slow sales that are actually the result of an unattractive product or service.

Organic Growth: A Stronger Foundation?

Instead of putting all your eggs in the paid ad basket, why not focus on organic marketing strategies?

Time for more real talk.

If you are quick to want to run paid ads, be honest about the following:

Have you truly, whole-heartedly, patiently given your top organic marketing methods a fair shot?Meaning: have you gone all-in on them for at least 6 months?

If the answer is yes, then make sure you fully troubleshoot slow lead generation and slow sales. Because if you’ve got leads coming in and no sales, it’s likely a problem with your sales messaging or your service/prooduct itself. Paid ads will not help this.

If the answer is no, well, there’s your answer to the paid ads question. Going all in on organic marketing will not only make sure you’re doing what it takes to get leads and sales, but it will also ensure your marketing skills are ready for paid ads.

Paid ads don’t replace your sales and marketing skills as a business owner. You need to work on those through organic methods first.

The Verdict on Paid Ads

Paid ads can be a powerful tool, but they’re not a magic bullet, especially for startups.

Before considering this route, ensure you have a solid foundation, understand your audience, and have tested your offerings.

To hear more from me on the decision to use paid ads marketing early in business, check out the Savvy Startup Marketer podcast Episode 9.

FREE Launch Essentials Workshop Alert!

Feeling overwhelmed about launching your business?

My free Launch Essentials Workshop is designed to help you navigate these waters. I host them regularly so sign up to get an invite to the next one. I’d love to see you there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *