Advertising – cost effective and referral friendly techniques


Last week, I talked about how to use online and offline strategies together to find more referral partners and get them to send you clients.

This week, I’m going to explore how to use internet and physical advertising to attract more clients and improve your search engine ranking.

I’ll also explain how you can use advertising in conjunction with education-based marketing, so you can help your clients to understand why they need you, thus converting more leads into sales and inspiring the people who respond to your ads to make larger purchases.

How to use advertising to take control of page 1 on Google:

While Google is the most popular search engine, holding 72.48% of the world’s search market share, over 55% of searches on mobile devices do not go through Google.

Instead, they go through directories like Yelp, Foursquare, Bing, and Yahoo. Given that mobile searches account for roughly 58% of the overall search query volume in America, it’s very important that your business shows up where your mobile-using customers are looking.

Each of those directories allows you to display offers, and in some cases blogs, on them in order to promote your business, so they’re a valuable way to make yourself easy to find.

It’s vital that the information in your online directories is accurate and consistent. When consumers find incorrect information about a business online, 73% of them lose trust in that business, and your Google rank suffers.

When you have accurate and appealing profiles across all of these sites, with no discrepancies from one directory to another, it improves your Google ranking, and helps people who are searching for you online to find their way to your website or physical building.

You can also use listings in places like Angie’s List, BNI, and the Chamber of Commerce to improve the odds that potential customers will find you.

How to use social media advertising to get more clients:

Some social media sites, such as Facebook, go out of their way to encourage their users to provide large amounts of information in their profiles. One of the biggest reasons they do this is to help advertisers target the people who are the most likely to buy their products.

If done correctly, social media advertising can bring you a lot of sales. But if done wrong, it’s nothing more than a money sink.

Here are six important elements you need to include in your social media advertising campaigns:

  1. Advertising to the right people in the right places.

Before you start your ad campaign, it’s important to know two things: who are the people who are the most likely to buy from you, and which sites do they use the most?

It does no good to advertise on a site that has few or none of your target audience, or to show your ad to people who have no interest in your business.

It may be tempting to cast a wide net, but unless you have a huge marketing budget, it’s unlikely that millions of people will see your ad.

Even if there are five million people in your pay-per-click or pay-per-impression campaign’s estimated target audience, that doesn’t mean you’ll have enough money to pay for all of them to see it, so it will only be shown to a fraction of those potential leads.

When you’re creating your target audience, eliminate anyone who’s unlikely to buy from you. For example, if you offer child-related services in a specific geographic area, target parents who live in that area, and exclude anyone who lives elsewhere or has no children.

You can also increase your results by putting your ads in the parts of the sites that people are the most likely to look at. For example, in Facebook, more people look at the newsfeed than the sidebar, so avoid the sidebar and focus on the newsfeed.

  1. Relevant and eye-catching images.

Humans are highly visual beings, so images are vital to the success of your campaign.

They can also make intangible products seem more real and valuable, so if you’re offering a digital, downloadable product, you can boost conversions by using a 3-D picture of a physical book or CD set as a visual representation of your ebook or audios.

It’s important that the images you use are relevant to your product. Using an enticing but misleading image just means you’ll waste a lot of money on clicks that don’t convert, because the people clicking the ad weren’t really interested in your product.

Speaking of relevant, if you use pictures of people, your ads will convert better if those people are in the same target demographic as your audience. For instance, if you serve seniors, don’t use a picture of a model in her twenties.

Unless you’re a very well-known brand, don’t waste image space on your logo. The same goes for your slogan or tagline, unless it tells the viewer how they’ll benefit from clicking the ad.

Every part of the picture should entice the viewer to click on it, even if they’ve never heard of you or your product before, and they don’t know why your product or process is necessary to them.


The images should be clear and professional-looking, and it’s important that you have the legal right to use them.  Don’t just grab a picture off of Google image search; make your own, or use one from a stock image site that allows you to use their pictures for commercial purposes.


Here’s a list of sites you can use to find images you can safely use for free:









When using these sites, bear in mind that some pictures might use different licenses and grant different privileges than others, even within the same site.

For example, some are free for commercial use without attribution, while others require attribution, so make sure you take note of the specific ways in which you’re allowed to use each image.

Most sites will include a description of the ways in which you’re allowed to use an image, or a link to their license description, on the page with the picture.

  1. Enticing, self-explanatory text.

When you’re writing the text for your ads, don’t talk about the process you use.

For example, if you’re running a weekend retreat for men, don’t say “Join us for a weekend retreat! You get six weeks of coaching calls with the package, plus printed handouts and audios.”

That doesn’t tell your clients anything about how your offer will improve their lives – all they know is that it will take up a weekend and probably at LEAST six additional hours of their time. That’s not enticing – that’ a turnoff!

People don’t want the process – they want the results.

Another trap to avoid is using vague words to try to inspire curiosity, or using inside terms that are only meaningful to you.

To continue the example of the men’s retreat, don’t say “You’ll reconnect with your masculine mystique, and discover the true north of your inner compass.”

That might sound cool to you, but once again, the reader has no clear idea of how they’ll benefit from it.

Instead, it’s better to say something like, “Tired of feeling unmotivated and uncertain, and of STILL not knowing what you want to be when you grow up? Join us this weekend to rediscover your purpose, and to learn how to build wealth and success by doing what you love.”

That last example tells the reader exactly what kind of problems you solve, and how they’ll benefit from joining you.

If you want to boost the changes that a specific phrase will be seen, you can incorporate that text into the picture instead of putting it in the text area.

Bear in mind that some platforms, such as Facebook, have specific rules when it comes to how much text you can have on an image, so make sure you follow those rules when designing your ad.

  1. Dark posts.

In social media advertising, “dark posts” are newsfeed-style ads that don’t actually get published to the newsfeed of your page.

That means you can send different advertising posts to different audiences or segments of your audience, without clogging up your newsfeed with a plethora of ads.   For an excellent post from the folks at Duct Tape Marketing see this link for more information on the use of dark posts.

  1. Supplementing your campaign with education-based marketing.

Pay-per-click and pay-per impression ads get their best results when they’re partnered with education-based marketing, as opposed to being segregated from it.

Use the paid ads to bring people to your educational materials, such as signup pages for webinars or newsletters, and use the educational materials to nurture the leads you get from the ads.

  1. Effective tracking strategies.

Make sure you’re in control of your ad campaigns, and that you’re able to track and analyze the results.

Conversion rates will differ from site to site, but generally, a successful conversion rate for social media is between 2-5%.

It’s important for you to know how many people saw the ad, how many clicked on it, and how many actually took the action you wanted them to take after clicking the ad.

If your chosen advertising platform includes optional tracking pixels, or if it doesn’t and it lacks the data you need to fully know how your ad is performing, I recommend incorporating a tracking pixel into your campaign.

Tracking pixels are tiny images that enable you to track the behavior of the people who interact with your marketing item, such as an ad, email or website page, on which the pixel was found.

The exact process for adding a pixel varies from one platform to another, but whatever site or software you use, it’s a vital tool to have.

How to use offline advertising to get more clients:

Now that we’ve explained how to attract clients through online methods, let’s talk about how to supercharge your results by adding offline advertising to the mix.

Many of the principles I outlined above, such as advertising where your ideal clients hang out, using relevant and eye-catching images, and giving specific, problem-and-benefit-oriented explanations of why people should take action, also apply to offline advertising.

But there are some principles that specifically apply to offline marketing, and it’s important that you implement them in order to ensure that you get a good ROI on your expense of time, effort and money.

Principle 1: Your offline methods need to work online.

These days, fewer and fewer people are looking at physical materials. They want the information easily accessible on their phones, and they want access to the rest of the process NOW.

So instead of asking them to write down the information, or to take a physical copy home and maybe or maybe not ever look at it again, give them a way to act on it digitally right away.

For example, you could tell them to text a specific word or phrase to your company’s number in order to get more information, or you could use a smart code like a QR code that will take them to a specific landing page that tells them more about your offer.

This is a great way to encourage people who look at your posters to take action, and people who receive your business card to actually contact you.

Principle 2: Stay consistent.

Both online and offline, it’s important to keep your branding, domain names and company information consistent.

Even a small discrepancy can confuse customers and search engines alike, making it harder for people who were enticed by your ads to find you.

 Principle 3: Give a clear call to action.

People are constantly bombarded by options and offers, so if you want them to act on yours, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

Never leave them wondering what their next step is. Always tell them what their next action should be, and how they’ll benefit from taking it.

Principal 4: Support your referral partners

Your referral partners including you existing clients are always a great source of new business.  Make sure they have access to your on-line materials and understand where it is located.  Consider a separate section for your partners (for partners only) that gives them the resources that they need to help you close business.  For example, are you promoting a seasonal offer for the fall?  Provide your partners a selling sheet on-line and FAQ’s that they might encounter when they are promoting you and make sure you have a landing page that makes it easy for them to sign up business for you.

Want a faster, less expensive way to make sales?

Ads can be an effective way to grow your business, but they’re only the first step in the customer journey. After a person responds to an ad, you need to educate them about why they need you, and nurture your relationship with them until they’re ready to take action.

It can take five to eight contacts, or even more, before a person who just discovered you is ready to make a purchase. And even then, they’ll probably want to try some of your smaller offerings before they risk a large investment.

But if that same person was referred to you by someone they trust, you could make a large sale in the very first encounter.

Referral marketing is one of the most powerful client attraction strategies in the world, which is why BNI is so focused on helping our members to form lucrative, mutually supportive referral partnerships with each other.

In 2016, our average member made an average of $24,789 in additional income through referrals from their fellow BNI members, and this year, we’re working to top that number!

If you want to help more people, make more money, and support your fellow business owners, we’d love to see you at our next meeting.  Check out a meeting – To find a BNI chapter to visit click this link.

Image Credit – Adobe Stock

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