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Your ecommerce business may have great packaging and a smart accounting system. You may know the ins and outs of your niche like no one else. Every day, your business is growing. 

Then, one day your competition starts dominating Google ads. Your first thought⁠—how can I do that when I don’t know how? No small business wants to lose money, and it’s easy to miss on paid ads if it’s not done properly. 

Every small business has heard horror stories of advertising services gone wrong. How does anyone know they are getting it right? How can your business scale while maintaining credibility? How do you decide between leads and brand awareness? What will be the key to growth for your unique business? 

We talk to small businesses every day

What do we hear? Everyone has tried something already and it hasn’t worked. Their ads haven’t gotten the results that they wanted.

Many small businesses create advertising for a season. Seasonality can work, but consistency is key. It can take 5, 7, 8 or 9 times for a new customer to see a message before they act on it. This means that running a couple of ads a few weeks before Cyber Monday won’t have the impact you think. 

For some small businesses running an ad is a big deal. When you don’t have a ton of experience it is easy to overthink the design and copy for an ad. Sometimes an ad goes through so many revisions before it goes live that no one wants to think about it again. So, another missed opportunity.

You may think that you already have enough customers⁠—after all, you’re too busy as it is! But think about it⁠—what are you busy with? Are you getting the most profit out of each order? Is the time you spend with each order helping your business grow?

Executive trying to decide which option is best for small business advertising

When is the best time for paid ads?

A new business needs ads from the start because it takes a while for SEO to kick in. 

There are other reasons that a growing business is wise to invest in paid advertising. It may be because your sales team needs new leads. You could be launching a new product. A competitor has gotten more aggressive, or the latest algorithm change has affected your funnel. Ads are an effective way to keep profits moving up.

Do paid ads fit in your marketing plan?

Do you have time to keep up on the latest platforms? Do you know where B2B is going? Do you have a plan in place for the next 5, 10, 15 years of business growth?

It can be tempting to start simple. Everyone is on Amazon, why not sell there instead of dealing with ads? Everyone’s been through the cost implications of Amazon and there’s good reach. But there are better ways to get traffic to your small business. You want focused traffic on your products and your site. You want to build a relationship with your customers for return business.

Paid ads are like social media. It’s about building awareness and engagement over time. This way, when a customer sees your ad they remember your business and choose your products. 

Are you experienced?

Effective ads take long-term dedication, which can be challenging with a low budget or low capacity. A great paid ads approach can be seasonal. But it takes a high level of knowledge and experience to dip in and out seasonally while getting the results you want. 

For some small businesses, the solution to this problem is a digital agency. Some of these relationships start great and stay that way.  For other businesses, it’s disappointing to see how the relationship changes as priorities shift. 

Sometimes your business will get less focus and time from that agency, especially when you’ve been working together for a while. Also, that lack of experience you may have could mean that your small business doesn’t know exactly what they’re getting from an agency with paid ads.

Every small business is specific and unique. This is your whole world. It can be hard to trust someone from outside to advocate for your business. We understand that. 

How we approach things

To give you a better understanding of why we decided to offer managed advertising, we want to share the journey we go through with each one of our clients. 

In this example, our client was a referral from a local website designer. She knew we had experience in Facebook advertising, and this was exactly what the client needed help with.

This prospective client runs a personal training business. She wants to grow her business with extra revenue from digital products like online classes and ebooks. 

A personal trainer has a lot of things to consider, and growing a business with digital produts is a good reason to consider advertising services like Selz Managed Advertising

Facebook Ads help

For our personal trainer, her first step in her paid ads journey was speaking with a digital agency. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the best experience. The digital agency put more effort into criticizing her site and logo than providing guidance. They basically told her to start over with her brand. That’s a pretty tough thing to encounter when you’re just looking for some help. 

Our approach is different. We’re really here to assist and advise. So we scheduled an in-person meeting. Our client spent two hours with her Selz sales manager talking about her branding, her website and her experience with Facebook. We went over what had and hadn’t worked and broke down the specifics of her efforts so far.

A comprehensive small business experience

The experience you get with managed advertising is someone who knows more than just how to use ad software like Google ads or Facebook ads. 

Our account managers have years of experience in helping small businesses with all kinds of challenges. We combine this expertise with the latest technology. The final results are what you would expect from a business at the forefront of ecommerce technology. 

This first meeting is a business review, not just a marketing review. We do an extensive amount of fact-finding so that we truly understand your business before getting started. We have a real passion for helping your business succeed.

In this meeting we’ll talk you through: 

  • Why you started your business
  • Your goals with the business when it began and now
  • What your challenges are and what’s easy for you
  • What your plans are moving forward
  • Your expectations for marketing

Deciding the right budget

After fully reviewing the business, we start to talk about the budget. Budgeting is tough for any business, and a lot of it can feel like guesswork. 

It could be that your small business has a rigorous budgeting process. It could also be that your budget is a collection of educated guesses that shift as your business reacts to internal and external forces. Either way, you need an ads budget that works for what you can afford and for what you’ll need to meet your goals.

Advertising can be difficult to let go of because it’s often a big budget item. You may have specific expectations of what you should get for your investment. It’s important to have a partner or a trusted source to give you a sense of where to properly set expectations. You also don’t want to miss an important opportunity. 

You want to set goals that make sense and determine priorities so that your business doesn’t miss the customers that are out there waiting to buy your products. 

We have a minimum budget for our managed advertising service because of the time that’s involved in building and supporting paid advertising. 

How did you form your budget?

With our personal training client, we let her know what she could get with the resources that she had. We talked through her thought process for budgeting too. It’s important to think about the cost to create your product when you are budgeting for marketing. For example, she is selling digital products, so her marketing budget is the only thing she will need to invest in for continued growth. 

If her sales triple, there won’t be any budget outlay down the line on things like packaging or shopping, so it may make sense to dedicate more resources to paid ads. That’s not the case for every client, and we talk through this important part of the decision with each client individually.

Strong relationships come from conversations and understanding the problems a business has

Targeted advertising for your small business

As soon as our client is ready to move forward we schedule another conversation to go over the next steps. Each of our managed advertising clients gets a combination of digital and human knowledge. We provide you with an incredible campaign manager who will get your ads account setup right.

Your campaign manager will:

  • Optimize your ads and landing pages
  • Work to improve your quality score
  • Create great copy and images
  • Monitor your A/B tests
  • Make sure accurate tracking is in place

Our main priority is your return on investment. By tracking these targeted areas we can give you a clear and confident picture of your progress.

We scheduled a call after the sign up to review her campaign set up. We established details on the first campaign, reviewed her customer profile and talked about how the ads budget is split. We talked about the right tone for her advertising.

Your personalized campaign brief

These conversations came together to form a campaign brief for her Facebook campaign. Once the brief is complete, we send it to our team of experts to review. The brief sometimes needs some tweaks, but within 3-5 business days, we have a cohesive plan. There are many small decisions within the big decision to run ads, and we dedicate ourselves to those conversations. 

We know how important each detail is, whether it’s a technical update or a single tracking code.  Then, if everything looks good on both ends, the campaign goes live.

A process, not a one-time event

Our physical trainer’s first ad went live.  It is running from her Facebook page, so she can monitor her ads in real-time on her own. Our team will also be monitoring her campaigns and optimizing performance, monitoring copy, images, calls-to-action and more.

Our client meets with her account manager about once a month, sometimes less or more depending on the campaign, to discuss results and updates. These meetings are also great for planning future campaigns.

Some clients have a slower decision-making process than others. This client understood how urgently she needed ads and the impact they could have on her business growth. She was ready to move quickly, so we were able to meet that need. We also understand that some clients may need to wait for a site to go live or to get a form working. We can work at a pace that makes sense to you.

A desk full of pastries and work to do, because there are so many different ways to approach small business advertising services and advertising for small business

We are with you at each step

Many businesses run DIY for so long that it’s difficult to outsource any part of the business. Others thrive because leadership knows where their distinct skills and expertise are most needed. 

This particular client was an expert in web design, but she still paid for an expert to build her site before she came to us because she felt that she would be more successful focusing her time on creating new products. 

During the course of the business review, we did spend a little time on some quick SEO analysis. This let her know some things that she could quickly implement on her site to improve searchability. 

Focus on what your business needs from you

Businesses use digital platforms like Facebook and Google every day, so it’s sometimes surprising to realize that we’re not really sure how it all works. 

Algorithms and back-end code change so frequently that you don’t always know why people see what they see or how a post will work in a feed. You may not be able to master the bidding process or page setup when you need it most. 

The layers of complexity in these tech platforms are where you’ll find your best results. That’s why it’s smart to work with an expert whenever you can.

You don’t need to master it all yourself

You can spend hours online reading about how to bid for your target keywords, tweaks for your product feed, and what kind of images to use in ads for online stores. 

At the end of the day, you only have so much time. As a smart professional, you’re looking for someone that you can trust. Someone who can advocate for your business and help you save the time it takes to learn and make the most of your sales channels.

The success of your business is in how you make the big decisions. Many business owners are so involved in the tiny day-to-day processes that have built up over time. That focus can make it difficult to step back⁠—to decide where to scrimp and where to expand. 

It’s important to build time into your schedule to focus on that larger strategy. You may have had a hard time in the past, and you’re not sure if ads can work for your business. 

But spend a little time considering what your peers are saying. A/B testing works. If you’re on the right platform, it can work. Paid ads can have a momentous impact if they’re done right. 

You may not have time to learn the ins-and-outs of ads. If that’s not your specialty, there’s no reason you can’t find another way to make it happen. 

We would love to sit down with you for a business review. Book some time for a conversation today.

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.