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The most amazing thing about the internet is that it’s a limitless universe of digital knowledge accessible by nearly anyone at any given moment.

According to Live Science, internet traffic passed 1.1 zettabytes in 2016. That’s 1,000 exabytes. An exabyte? That’s 1 billion gigabytes.

To give you some perspective on just how massive that is; if words were bytes, then the entire history of all human words spoken in any language would equate to around just 5 exabytes. The mind boggles.

So what does this have to do with online advertising? The point is, people use the internet to search for information. And it happens a lot. If your business doesn't have an advertising presence online, you're missing out.

Here are 3 tips to get you started advertising online:

1. Appreciate the Competition

The statistic above wasn’t simply intended to be a catchy opener – I specifically want you to understand what you’re contending with. Even the biggest players in the world with expansive online advertising budgets and multiple groups of employees whose job it is to avoid catastrophic losses can go bankrupt overnight as soon as a newer, better, cheaper solution manages to dip their metaphorical toe in the water.

Case in point: AirBnB. The simplest concept pulled half a billion dollars out of the hotel industry’s pocket nearly overnight. While I can confidently assert that those reading this article aren’t searching for a solution to avoid a similar outcome at such a massive scale, it’s important to always be aware of your competition, as much as time will allow.

Competitor industry research is not only integral in establishing a budget for your online advertising strategy, it’s key to your company's overall success.

2. Establish a Budget

People I’ve worked with in the past tend to get entirely too hung up on projecting this number. If you’re a smaller business, I consider it far more prudent to pick a figure that you’re comfortable investing into your brand awareness and conversion strategy and make optimizations and adjustments where the data shows.

It’s one thing to make projections, it’s another when the aforementioned volatility of the internet doesn’t give a hoot about how tidy your books are. Pick a dollar amount you’re comfortable breaking even on. Or heck, pick a dollar amount you’re comfortable losing completely and then double it.

The point is, you’re picking a dollar amount that you can pay to online advertising services like Google AdWords and in exchange, you’re getting raw data about how your users are actually interacting with your brand against your competitors.

You can’t act on what you don’t know. Pay to get the knowledge, then optimize and iterate.

3. List Your Core Demographic

Buyer personas are the crux of any inbound marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean they should be limited in their capacity to serve your website’s performance.

Being honest and objective about who you want looking at your content will help you decide how to serve it. Keep that persona in mind when deciding not only the copy you’re putting into your search ad, but also which landing page of your site you’re sending the user to.

Remember: It’s not about getting the user through the funnel ASAP anymore. It’s about offering the clearest path to the most informative solution.

4. Be Patient

In addition to creating your first campaigns, the last element required for success is patience. Launch your campaigns and let the data roll in.

Next month, we’ll open up the results and review how to optimize based around the information we uncover. In the meantime, consider going back to your buyer personas for clarity on your messaging.

If you don't have any personas built out, now's the time to get started with this free template >>

Download Our Free Persona Template!

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