What is the best moment to start advertising? It’s a question that many business owners and marketing folk have. To answer this question it is important that your organisation or marketing department has clear goals. You can use advertising to validate product concepts, to research the need of your target group, to scale your audience or to promote your promotions. So, let’s dive into some moments and strategies to start advertising.

1.   Research the need of a target group

One of the key goals of a marketing manager is to understand the challenges that their audience have and to link it to solutions that their organisation offers. A great way to discover the needs of the target group is by using advertisements to share knowledge articles, whitepapers and webinars around different topics.

For example, write articles on the top 4 trends within your industry. Share these articles via advertisements, using the exact same target audience and budget. If you already build an audience (on social or email) share it via those channels as well. Wait for the campaigns to run. Schedule two hours in your calendar to combine the analytics of the different channels. And voila. You can now see what topics generate the most traffic and how long people spend on your articles.

This is crucial information because it allows you to create more content or even solutions around that topic.

2.   Validate product concepts

Another great way to use advertising is to validate product concepts. So, imagine that your previous research showed a huge interest in a certain challenge within your industry. You can now create a concept, publish it on a landing page saying that your product is now in a research phase. And then ask people to sign-up to get more information when the product is available. This is also a trick that many writers use to select a book title or description.

Imagine promoting a product concept and getting zero requests, then you know that your product has to be revised and it might save you a lot of money on development costs.

This is not an advertisement but a great example of product validation and research by Vianney Lecroart from Lemlist, a software vendor for personalised cold email outreach:

Lemlist product validation and research

3.   Scale your owned audience using advertising

One of the best channels that I used during my B2B activities was LinkedIn. It was a great tool to send direct messages to your target audience and to share posts generating free traffic. However, since a lot of spammers who refer to themselves as ‘growth hackers’ created tools to automate this process they killed the entire platform *Thank you growth hackers!*.

The effectiveness of sharing posts and getting organic reach declined and it is clear that LinkedIn is putting more focus on generating revenue via advertisements. So, what should you do?

The most effective tool for business to business marketing is email and calling. Why? Because you can control it, you own the audience if they give you permission for it.

Here is what you want to do, advertise your gated content (whitepapers, webinars, tools) to your audience (yes, also those who follow you on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Share valuable content and ask for permission to store their data.

Remember: the more valuable the content, the more information people will share.

4.   Promote your promotions

Be aware with this step. If your organisation is low on budget, the best time to start advertising is when your product is ready to scale. Reaching an audience isn’t hard. You pay money to an advertiser or media outlet and they will share your message. So, the hard part is getting your message and product right.

When your product is validated in your market then it is time to start advertising and promoting it. Before buying Google Ads, or hiring an agency write down a plan with answers to these questions:

  • Who do you want to reach?
  • What are the three main challenges they have (that you can solve)?
  • How does your solution solve each of these challenges?
  • Do you have content that can be linked to all the three challenges?
  • Do you have content for each buying stage?
  • What results do you want?
  • When is a campaign a success and when is it a failure?
  • Are you able to measure the results?

Research competitors and do the opposite

In college many marketing students learn about researching the competitors. One of the pitfalls is that people think they should see what their competitors do and then copy it. My advice is to do the complete opposite of what your competitors are doing. After reading ‘Purple cow’ a decade ago, I knew that one of the best marketing tactics is to stand out from the crowd. If you haven’t read it yet, I would definitely recommend to check out Purple cow by Seth Godin. Don’t feel like reading, go to this video on YouTube.

So, what is the best moment to start advertising?

It depends. I know, it’s not the answer you were looking for. But keep in mind that advertising is just one tool to reach your audience. I would use it if you need to gather information quickly, or if you want to spread your message quickly.

The goal of this article was to help you to decide if it is time to start advertising. Hopefully, I helped you a step in the right direction. As you can imagine, each organisation is unique. To give a full advice I would also dive into your organisation and industry. So, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn.


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