As 2020 is coming to a close, many businesses are looking to increase their budgets and reach in the New Year, as many had to reduce their advertising spend amid the COVID pandemic and the fluctuating 2020 economy.
While some are wanting to take a slow and steady approach, others are hoping to ramp things up more quickly to help offset losses from this year. If you find yourself in a similar situation, below are some ideas to help you expand reach to meet your clients’ aggressive growth goals.
Review Contracted Areas
This one is obvious but it’s a good place to start. Did you restrict existing campaigns earlier this year to help save on budget? Review your notes, change history logs, etc., and see where you pulled back that could be a profitable and effective area to re-boost.
For example, we have a client who found, after analyzing long-term performance data, that Mobile leads tended to be worse quality and asked that we exclude these leads completely to help save the reduced 2020 budget for other, more profitable areas. Now that there is room to increase budget, this is an area we can try to progressively open back up.
Capture the Low Hanging Fruit
Expand on What’s Already Working
Take a good look at what strategies are already driving high-quality leads and see if there are ways to extend these efforts.
For example, maybe your best-performing Facebook audiences are Lookalikes of some of your most important lead lists. But, maybe you’ve only tested out 1% audiences. You could set up tests to try 2%-3% or 3%-4% audiences and evaluate their quality as well. Or, sticking with the Facebook theme, if you’re seeing strong campaign performance you could consider trying the targeting expansion feature.
Dig into what’s already working and look for new opportunities.
Even though 2020 was an atypical year for most businesses you should still be working hard to evaluate campaign performance and get new learnings for the new year. For instance, we have a client who we run Prospecting campaigns for with a Free Guide offer. As we reviewed data for the year, we found that these prospects did in fact move through the funnel and a high percentage eventually became customers. Since we could establish that the guide downloader audience was high-value, we are planning to test Lookalikes of this audience next year.
Maybe Search channels have proven to be your best revenue drivers. When is the last time you did some good, old fashioned keyword research or a competitive analysis to see what terms competitors are going after that you’re missing out on?
First take a look at how to expand on what’s already working well, then go from there!
Revisit Previous Ideas
Chances are you’ve already had great QBRs, weekly calls with brainstorming sessions, or other opportunities where you’ve generated some expansion ideas for your accounts. You’re likely not starting from scratch, so review your old notes and see what previous ideas never saw the light of day that you could try now.
Open Up to Additional Geographies
Did your client want to start with targeting just a few states in their campaigns? Are there additional states you could test now?
What about globally? If your client has global reach, you might not have started out targeting all countries. Are there other countries you could inquire about expanding into?
New Products or Services
Did your client diversify their business offerings? Many businesses had to change and adapt in 2020 so there might be new products or services you can start advertising in the New Year.
If your client didn’t launch anything new – are there existing products or services that they previously haven’t wanted to put advertising dollars behind that you could try now? We recently had a client mention they wanted to start building out their other product lines, so we included some effective ways we could accomplish this next year in our annual performance review meeting.
Expand through Search
We’ve found that, in many cases, lead quality is highest on Search since there is higher user intent. Generally, we look for opportunities to expand Search first before moving onto other channels/networks. (If your product or service struggles with low Search volume, Tim wrote a great post on how to drive results when Search volume is low).
If you haven’t tried DSA campaigns yet, this could be a great expansion test. A good way to help determine if DSA campaigns might work well for you is to run your website URL through the keyword planner and see what keyword ideas Google generates. If most seem relevant to your business, if your site content is thorough and up-to-date and you have clear calls-to-action then DSA could be a good way to expand.
Although volume is lower, we’ve seen Search Partners generate plenty of leads for good CPAs so they’re worth a test.
One note here for Bing – if you’re expanding to Search Partners here you should consider breaking these out into separate campaigns to more easily monitor their performance and allocate budget to what is working best. We have tended to see worse performance for Bing Partners than Google, so it’s important that you break these out for closer monitoring and management if your budget allows.
Test Regular Broad Match Keywords
This is a suggestion I give with caution, of course. I’m certainly not suggesting you create regular Broad match versions of all your keywords and turn them on and don’t look back. There are a couple ways you could start dipping your toe in the water here.
First, if you pair these keywords with an automated bidding strategy, you might see better results. Woefully, our insight into Search queries has been reduced by a staggering amount, but the added layer of automated bidding could help improve performance.
Another way you could test these is through RLSA campaigns. For example, we have a client who sells high-end furniture. We didn’t want to open up the floodgates by bidding on terms like ‘high-end furniture’ and ‘modern lighting’ so we tested them first in an RLSA campaign.
Expand Beyond the Status Quo
This year has taught us that anything can happen. We have to be ready to be flexible and to change and adapt our strategies at any time. Innovation is the key to growth.
What worked before might not work now. Best practices might not always generate the best results. You have to be able to move beyond the Status Quo and think outside the box if you’re going to capture your audience’s attention and meet aggressive growth goals.
Testing New Channels
When we think about expanding reach, of course expanding into new channels comes to mind.
Depending on your product or service and target audience, there is a slew of additional channels that could potentially work well for you: the GDN, YouTube, Google Discovery, Microsoft Audience Network, Pinterest, Taboola, Capterra, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Waze, Snapchat, Quora, Spotify, Hulu, Apple Search Ads, Twitter, and the list goes on.
You’ll want to consider your available test budget, your target audience, and the user demographics of the channels, the targeting capabilities in the platforms, etc., to help determine where to expand.
But the key questions are: what will you offer in these new channels and how can you stand out from the crowd?
Leveraging Existing Resources
In our experience, attempting to push users straight to a demo, free trial, or some other lower-funnel action hasn’t proved to be overly effective outside of Search channels. Instead, we have used some of these additional channels with more top-of-funnel offerings and calls-to-action to help expand reach and get new customers in the funnel.
Top-of-Funnel Content Strategy
As we have multiple clients with great existing content, one strategy we’ve tested is offering content to potential new customers. We’ve tried both gated and ungated in various stages of the funnel and have seen varying results.
If you have thorough, standout content already, you could test it in these additional channels (or you could create new content if you have the resources and budget to do so) to help fill the top of your funnel. Then you can evaluate and potentially nurture these leads to your primary conversion goal.
There are tons of important considerations when determining if a content strategy is right for your business. But if you have unique, standout existing content that can be leveraged, then map out your goals, determine your test channels and budget and give it a try.
Test what you already have first and use the data to inform how you proceed.
Thinking Outside the Box
When you’re considering incorporating more top-of-funnel offers to potential customers, the most important question you can ask is: what matters most to my target audience?
From there, you should work to evaluate existing offers or generate new offers that speak to your target audience’s pain points, answer their questions, pique their interests, etc.
You should also consider whether your existing offers may have gone stale. Maybe you already have great whitepapers or eBooks, but what about a more creative, standout offer like a toolkit, an infographic or access to an exclusive group? It’s time to think outside the box and consider some offers you’ve never tried before to reach audiences you’ve never reached before.
Ultimately, when you’re met with the challenge of helping a client hit aggressive growth goals, it’s important to first thoroughly evaluate what you already have in place for growth potential.
After that, there are tons of options out there with the potential to generate new customers. With some due diligence, creativity, and good communication with your client you can work together to meet their goals effectively.
What strategies have you used to increase reach and hit aggressive growth goals? Let us know in the comments below!