The DL - Episode 7 - Online Marketing
In this episode, host Tyler Robertson is joined by Ed Goss, an online marketing expert from Ten Thousand Foot View - a search marketing agency headquartered in Toronto, Canada.
Ed got his start doing sales and marketing in the medical devices space, and when he started using Google Adwords, his eyes were opened to the possibility of sustainable and predictable marketing for small and medium-sized businesses all over the US and Canada. He ended up quitting his job and starting his own marketing agency, and he's grown from there.
Ed mainly focuses on pay-per-click ads (Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn ads) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - making sure your company shows up on Google when people search for things you sell.
What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
Pay-per-click (PPC) is just what it says - you set a daily budget for your ads, and the platform displays those ads to people you choose. Anytime someone clicks on those ads, the platform charges you a portion of your daily budget.
Right now the three major PPC players are:
- Amazon Ads
Google is the "universal" platform that works for almost any type of business, but for products, most people actually start their search on Amazon, which owns 50% of the e-commerce market in the US!
Google also has shopping ads, search ads, display ads, and Youtube ads - basically anywhere you go online, you're likely to see a Google ad somewhere.
Ed says the reason paid ads are so attractive to online businesses is that the amount of "organic" (the regular search results that aren't ads) has shrunk dramatically over the years.
What are some changes you've seen with online ads evolving so fast?
Ed says the biggest push today, especially for social media ads like Facebook, is the use of automation over older techniques like manually entering your target market demographics.
So for example, I can tell Facebook "hey, I'm going to give you a list of my customers. Go find people on Facebook similar to my customers, and show them my ads." And Facebook is getting really good at using this artificial intelligence to find your next customers.
Ed says this is the best path, especially for those running their own ads, because it eliminates a lot of the learning curve involved with Facebook ads.
Ed also notes that LinkedIn, while having a huge user base and a solid set of advertising tools, is generally more expensive ($10 per click and up is not uncommon).
It's worth noting that Tyler (the host and CEO) has built up a very solid network on LinkedIn and you can see that firsthand with the likes, comments and shares he gets on his posts there.
Like anything else, it takes a long-term approach to build a popular profile like his.
PS. While we're at it, connect with Tyler on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tyler-robertson-diesel/
What's the best way to set up my online presence?
If you've got nothing at all and you're starting from scratch, here's what to do:
- Go to Wix.com and sign up to build a website. Everything is drag and drop and very easy to use.
- Go to Google My Business and set up your business there. Google will send you a postcard with a special code so you can "verify" your business with them.
- Follow Google's advice on how to optimize and maintain your site. A complete guide straight from Google can be found here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7451184?hl=en
- Set up a company page on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube and start posting to each once per week. Post pictures of jobs you're working on, or just you sitting at your desk - it doesn't really matter as long as you put something out there once per week. This sends a "social signal" to let the platform know your company is active online.
Should I run ads myself or hire someone?
Ed says once you're spending over $1,000 per month, it's time to hire an agency. Reason being, the amount of time you're spending on running ads yourself - you could probably be doing other things inside your business, so paying a pro will ultimately get you better results and save you money.
Until then, you can absolutely try running ads yourself. Ed gave a couple of tips for those wanting to go that route:
These days, you can't put out a generic ad that says "hey look at us!" and expect it to do well. You have to use a combination of imagery and psychology to get people to pay attention, and you also need to know who your target market is so you can speak directly to them - using the industry lingo they want to hear.
Here's a couple ideas for getting people to click on your ads:
- Use deals like coupon codes or sales
- People hate to miss out, so make limited-time offers
And if you're just getting started with ads and need a complete course, Ed recommends Udemy (udemy.com) which has some great, cost-effective learning material available for anyone wanting to dip their toes in the water of online advertising.
Just search for courses around Google and Facebook ads - the courses on Udemy are high quality and almost always kept up to date.
When it's time to hire, how do I choose a good agency?
Ed outlined several smart tips for choosing the best agency for you.
- Avoid companies that promise everything; they generally deliver nothing
- Do research and get references from their past and current clients
- Ask to see results they've gotten for other companies first
- Make sure the price isn't "too good to be true" as you really do get what you pay for
- Don't trust any company that guarantees a #1 result - they're most likely using "black-hat" tactics that can get your website penalized
- Think about the size of the agency you want to work with relative to your budget. Ed says he routinely passes on clients that are too small or too big for his agency to handle.
Where do I find an agency?
- Check out freelancers on Upwork
- Sign up with Reddit and make a post on the PPC subreddit
- Ask for referrals from colleagues who have a similar-sized business as yours
How do you keep up with online marketing changes?
Ed says he spends about 20 hours per month just reading, learning, and keeping up to date on all the developments in SEO, SEM, and online advertising in general.
Connect with Ed
You can find Ed at tenthousandfootview.com or call him directly at (416) 725-7757. Thanks so much, Ed for being on this episode of The DL!
Mike Heath is a marketing analyst with Diesel Laptops who helps promote online platforms such as TruckPartsCross.com, TruckPartsLookup.com, and TruckPartsPremium.com. When he's not marketing, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and 2 cats here in Columbia, SC.