Small biz owners, take advantage of targeted marketing to reach your audience

Steve Strauss, Special to USA TODAY
·4 min read

It’s time, my friends, to become a revolutionary. And no, I’m not talking about being a political revolutionary. What I want is for you to become a marketing revolutionary.

I know, it sounds so boring, but it won’t seem boring when your bank sees the results in a few months.

Let me share an example of what I am talking about: I know a chiropractor who, back in the day, would put on free “pain relief seminars” for the public. He would rent out a conference room at a local hotel, run expensive ads in the newspaper and on TV, and then would spend two days giving his spiel. About 20% of the audience would eventually become his patients, but it was costly – that two day event cost him about $15,000 to put on.

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Compare that to today. Last month, he did the same thing, advertising his “socially distant” pain relief system. But instead of advertising on TV, and literally paying for and reaching millions of people (most of whom had zero interest in his seminar), he advertised on Google and Facebook using pay-per-click ads.

The entire campaign cost him a tad over $1,000, but he made more than $10,000 in new clients and services.

The secret is microtargeting.

Targeted advertising for your business

Instead of paying traditional media fees to reach masses of people who may have had no interest in what he was selling, he used the tools at Facebook and Google to identify and market to the audience that was the most likely to be interested in his pain-relief services. He had a lot of information on his target market: generally older, typically had arthritis and/or other aging issues, maybe had been in a car accident, he knew their ZIP codes (near his office).

And what he didn’t know, Facebook did (no surprise there.)

The Facebook and Google advertising platforms helped my chiropractor friend refine his target market even more. The beauty of that is that his marketing dollars went only towards those folks most likely to be interested in his seminars – a far, far smaller subsection of the general population, and therefore a much more affordable segment to reach.

Less cost (by far), better results, more money. That’s the revolution I want you to join.

Here is how you can jolt your business

1. Choose your platform: There is no shortage of places to advertise online. Your job is to do some research and find the platform (Facebook, which includes Messenger and Instagram, Google and Twitter are some easy set-up options) that most likely allows you to reach your desired demographic audience.

2. Set a budget: When you go create your ad campaign on the platform(s) of your choice, it will be helpful if set a budget. Again, the revolution is in play. Start small. Risk $100 or $500 to start. Test, and see what works. Once you know, then you can bet big, knowing that it is actually not a bet at all.

3. Create your ad: The different platforms offer different tools. Facebook will ask you what your goals are – to get clicks, page likes, sales, conversions or other. Google typically gives you room for a headline and a sentence or two, and a call to action, so choose your words wisely. Platforms like Canva can help you with social graphics that pop and even has a free option.

4. Target your audience: This is the magic. Your audience can be as specific or as broad as you prefer, but just remember – the more people you reach, the more you pay.

5. Go for it: Once your test proves you have an ad that works, its time to put gas on the fire. Spend more, run it often, make money, repeat.

So there you have it. And as an added benefit, you won't be just any revolutionary, you'll be a revolutionary that breaks the bank.

Steve Strauss is an attorney, speaker and the author of 17 books, including "The Small Business Bible." You can learn more about Steve at MrAllBiz.com, get more tips at his site TheSelfEmployed, and connect with him on Twitter @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at TheSelfEmployed.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How does digital marketing work for small businesses?