Ready to Run Ads on Instagram | Captain Coder

Are You Ready to Run Ads on Instagram (and Other Platforms)?

Marisa VanSkiver / March 7, 2023

running instagram ads

Want to get your content in front of a larger audience? You might be ready to run some ads on Instagram!

Sure, we all want to start with “free” (organic) social media marketing because it can keep our costs lower. It seems a lot less overwhelming to test out your ideas when you’re not spending any money to do so.

It’s not just that social media has become a lot more pay-to-play. Running digital ads on Instagram and other social media platforms can help you test a new message or idea really quickly and get your ideas in front of a much bigger audience than you could naturally.

Consider this: only about 10% of your followers will actually see that newest Instagram post.

Ads can be a great way to get in front of more people – and more people who really want to hear from you.

In today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through whether or not you’re actually ready to run ads on Instagram, the decisions you need to make before starting an online advertising campaign, and the steps you should take to make your money go further.

Are You Actually Ready for Ads?

This is honestly a key question that a lot of business owners don’t even ask. Just because you have “everything” set up doesn’t mean you’re ready to start running digital ads right away.

Ads are great because they can help you to reach a wider customer base that you might not otherwise reach. But they can be a negative when you’re wasting money on people who won’t actually be purchasing your services.

Before you ever hit publish on a digital advertising campaign, you need to consider these four important factors.

1. You’re Already Making Money

This seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen a lot of business owners pour their own money into ads without having a sale.

While yes, that can help you grow faster, it can also be a giant waste. Starting with the organic, “unpaid” strategies allow you to prove your concept. If someone bites and purchases from you because of a social media post they’ve seen or they made it into your email list and bought from an email, then you know that you’re doing something right.

It’s also just smart to not spend money you don’t have.

Maybe social media hasn’t been working for you yet because the wrong people are following you, but you’re getting sales in other ways.

If that’s the case, you might be ready to pay to get in front of a different audience and get the right people on your follower’s list.

2. You Have a Clear Picture of Your Ideal Customer

Knowing who you want to target and talk to is pretty huge in the world of digital advertising. With a variety of available targeting parameters, you can drill down pretty significantly to get just the right people you want to reach.

If you don’t have a clear picture of who your ideal customer is and who will actually be interested in buying from you, you’re just going to waste a bunch of money on getting leads who will never convert.

And pro tip: this doesn’t have to be the people you’re already reaching. Sometimes ads can be really beneficial if you’re trying to change up your current audience and reach a new group of people.

3. You Understand Your Unique Value

We get bombarded with ads every single day, on every single platform in which we spend time. If you’re going to get your ideal customer’s attention, you have to be very clear on what only you can do to help them.

Knowing your own unique value against competitors will help you to communicate that directly to your target customers and will go a long way in getting them to actually click on that ad versus scrolling on by.

4. You Have Set Goals for Ads

Contrary to popular belief, running ads on Instagram shouldn’t just be about getting a bigger audience. Frankly, they should be about getting more of the right audience to take action.

If you’re ready to spend some money on ads in your business, then you should have a goal in mind.

Are you trying to get more sales? Get more people on your email list? Attract listeners to your podcast? Testing out if a type of messaging is working?

You need to sit down and have a specific goal so you’ll know whether or not your ads were successful.

It’s hard to hit a target when you don’t define what that target is.

What to Do Before Launching Ads

Answered all of those questions and feel pretty confident about those answers?

It’s probably time to run some ads!

First though, you need to ensure that your business and website is ready for the influx of people into your sphere.

Creating a Google ad or launching a Facebook/Instagram ad campaign isn’t just about adding some creative and clicking a few buttons. You have a bit of work to do upfront to be completely ready to start driving new people to your website and your business.

Solidify Your Brand & Your Offer

Is everything you’re putting out now pretty consistent? If your brand isn’t well thought out, it can cause confusion when someone sees your ad, then goes to follow you on other platforms.

Make sure they know that they’ve found you and your business by keeping your brand consistent throughout every marketing channel you have. Nothing is worse than getting someone to sign up for your email list from a great ad, but having them unsubscribe because they don’t remember signing up … because your email marketing doesn’t match how they met you.

You’ll also want to really drill down and nail your offer. In my decade of running digital ads, I’ve quickly found that nothing works as well as something super specific. Just running an Instagram ad for your generic service is OK; but running an ad for a hyper-specific product, service, or offer is even better.

Make sure everything is consistent and your offer is more than just “Buy my retainer services.”

Prepare Your Website

Oh come on, you were waiting for me to mention this weren’t you? Here’s the thing. You can run ads all day long, but if your website isn’t set up to reinforce those ads, you’ll lose all of those leads.

Take just a quick look through your site and make sure everything is still accurate. Have a friend test and see if they find any odd bugs or things that don’t work the way they should.

If you want to get the most out of your digital ads, I highly recommend creating a landing page specifically for your ad campaigns. A specific page ensures that all of the possible questions someone new coming to your site might have got answered, the content of the page matches the ad they clicked on, and it should give them a way to buy or get more information right away.

If you’re just testing some new messaging and want to cut back on your time investment, you can use the newer Facebook Lead Ads. These allow you to collect someone’s email and other information right in the apps without having to create an entire landing page.

It’s perfect for when you’re testing messaging and deciding from there if you’ll be creating a full funnel or at least landing page for your ads.

Put an Email Marketing Plan in Place

Remember how I just said you should give people a way to get more info?

This is it!

Not everyone who clicks on an ad and comes to your landing page will be interested in buying or booking a discovery call right away.

They may, however, be interested in a freebie or gathering more information about you.

Before you run any ads, make sure you’ve thought through a possible email marketing component for that campaign. Give browsers the ability to join your list so they can learn more about you and your services.

The best way to nurture those new leads is to have some sort of follow-up sequence that they get where they can learn more about you and build trust with your business. Then, work on sending emails to your list at least once a month so you can continue to stay in front of them and stay top-of-mind, too.

Decide on Your Budget

Well of course you need to do this! Before you run ads, you have to decide what your budget is going to be. How much can you afford to spend per click, per lead, and per sale? What are you willing to invest for a month while you tweak and perfect your campaign?

Ads aren’t going to be successful right away, especially if you’ve never run them. You’ll need to allow for a learning curve and time to tweak and get them right.

But mostly, you want to have a clear vision of what every customer and sale is worth to you. Then you can break down what you can spend per click and still be profitable.

The best way to do this is to work backwards.

What can you afford to spend per customer to get a sale? If you’re selling a $2,000/month service, you might be willing to spend $500/month to get one sale.

Then look at your conversion history. Do you typically convert a lead into a sale about 25% of the time? You can probably then afford to spend $125 per lead (which is a pretty healthy amount).

Now, how many clicks do you think you’ll need to get one lead? You might do some Googling to see what’s average in your industry, but let’s say you need 20 clicks to get one solid lead. That means you can afford about $6/click.

Working backwards is one of the easiest ways to define your budget and then you work on refining it from there.

Accelerate Your Growth with Ads

If you’re ready to accelerate your business’s growth and reach an entirely new audience, it’s time to start your first ads campaigns.

Just ensure that you and your business are fully ready. We want you to get the most out of your investment!

Skip that boost on Facebook and do this the right way!


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