In this opinion piece, founder and head of growth at digital marketing agency King Kong, Sabri Suby, speaks on why you need to be spending more on advertising than your competitors are, or face a slow death.
In the past decade, there’s been a huge migration of businesses moving online, in search of better clients and fewer overheads. Every man and his dog is jumping on the online advertising bandwagon, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
But if you think online marketing is a free ticket to an endless supply of leads that will cost you next to nothing, then you’re in for a rude awakening. If there’s one thing your business should never, ever cut corners on, it’s digital ad spend and acquiring new customers into your business.
Supply and demand
Digital advertising has now out surpassed TV as the number one advertising channel. Meaning the number of advertisers is increasing and the quality of the competition is rising – but the inventory available isn’t increasing at the same rate.
There are only so many humans on the planet, and they only spend so much time per day scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. The basic laws of economics will tell you what happens next: the cost per click across all channels is driven up, and up, and up.
Increased demand and higher cost of entry has sharpened the competition and kicked the chancers to the kerb. Small businesses want their ads showing up in potential customers’ newsfeeds – but so do McDonald’s and Uber Eats and Coca-Cola. In this supposedly level playing field, we’re all competing for the same people, but the big guys can spend a lot more to acquire a customer than a regular small business.
This doesn’t mean there’s no hope for the little guys; but it does mean that they need to step up, get smart and start learning how to spend their hard-earned money wisely.
The digital marketing sea is turning red with businesses that can’t survive the rising costs, leaving their skeletons dotted along the shoreline. These dying businesses are typically filled with lazy marketers who still think they’re back in the good old days, where the competition was weak and winning was easy.
They spend the majority of their time plotting out how they can spend less, get the cheapest clicks, and reduce their costs. They reminisce about the times when all they had to do was put their ads in the Yellow Pages, sit back, and wait for the phone to ring.
Anyone who continues to think like this is going to get eaten alive by those who truly understand the cost of acquiring good customers. The business that can afford to spend the most to acquire a customer will always win, every single time. If you stop thinking of advertising as a cost, and start realising that it’s an investment, the leads and clients will begin to flow.
This shift in mindset will allow you to justify spending more than any of your competitors, putting you one step ahead of the rest. You will be able to go out and market more aggressively than any of your competitors, allowing you to get all the customers and win.
Stop panicking and start learning
So, what if you want to start winning, but you’re scared to make the jump? Here’s the secret: stop spending all your time worrying about costs, and start educating yourself. In order to justify the increased spending, you’re going to need to know your numbers inside out.
Force yourself to understand the technology. Learn about CRMs. Discover how automation can help your business. Once all the pieces start to fall into place, increasing your ad spend won’t feel like such a risk – it will simply make sense.
And when you start to get your digital marketing right, you’ll be making so much money from your customers, that the rising costs of acquiring those customers won’t matter anymore. For every dollar you spend, you’ll get three, five or ten back.
When the results are that good, you’ll want to be putting in as many dollars as you can afford. And if you’re still too scared, don’t come crying to me about how your $10 boosted post didn’t generate you any leads.