How to implement lean advertising 2

Last week, we talked about why it’s important to take a lean approach to advertising, testing different approaches to see what works. But how do you put it into practice?

Under the Build-Measure-Learn cycle, companies start with an idea and then build something to see if they can make it work. While that’s more obvious with startups creating new products, the same can work for advertising.

Start with the idea: what do you think will work? Maybe it’s a specific market you want to go after or an audience who you think will really enjoy your service or product.

Figure out what you need to do: Do the minimum possible to test your idea. This doesn’t mean do a bad job but instead of an entire marketing campaign with videos, testimonials, and well-produced ads, start with a simple text ad (for instance, a Google ad) and a landing page that you can quickly and easily get off the group.

Watch what happens: Do you get the results you want? Is the return-on-investment reasonable? Or will you run out of money if you keep going? And how does this compare to other things you’ve tried? Don’t just focus on stats like the click-through rate or cost-per-click but make sure to look at conversions and the all-important profit. Doesn’t really matter if the CTR is high if you’re losing money, after all. It also helps to talk to your customers and learn why they are using your product, what they want, and why.

Learn and change things for the future: Did the approach work? Great, then figure out how to make it better. Maybe try using a video, different ads, or a different landing page. This is where A/B testing really comes into play as you start the cycle from the beginning in order to maximize your success.

Did the test fail? That happens, unfortunately. But it’s better to fail quickly and cheaply then to waste lots of money on an approach that won’t work. Figure out what did work and how you’ll try again and then move on. Maybe the answer is to narrow your niche: instead of targeting all students, focus on med school students. The answer might be that your market thinks of the problem differently than you do. For instance, I started off my own business by focusing on online marketing but realized that many of my clients didn’t think about online marketing: they just wanted a high-quality up-to-date website but after doing that, I could then interest them in other services.

By following this cycle, you’ll be able to have great success with your marketing and advertising. For tips on running AdWords campaigns, check out AdWords University: The Complete Guide to AdWords.