I was recently talking to a potential client who sells products online and he wants to increase sales on his website and increase his company’s brand and name recognition. For Internet advertising I recommended we do Google Shopping and Facebook advertising. His response was he tried Google advertising and it does not work (I often hear this from prospective small business clients who try to do Google advertising themselves). He then told me he wants Internet advertising that will sell to the masses… after I had sent him a detailed proposal on how I would use Google and Facebook advertising to reach his niche market, generate sales for him, and grow his brand.

Here is my response to him:

Google shopping with AdWords does work when you have expert training, your website is setup correctly for Google shopping, and you test a lot of different ads and offers. But, with most types of advertising, you are going to lose money before you make money because you have to do a lot of testing to see what works and generates sales. That is just the nature of advertising. It took Thomas Edison over 1,000 attempts to create a light bulb that worked, yet so many small business owners think that with advertising all they have to do is create one Google ad or one Facebook ad and magically customers will flock to them and they’ll instantly be profitable. That is not reality. Advertising profitably is incredibly difficult and it is becoming more difficult every day because there is so much competition.

If you are looking for a silver bullet that will bring you mass customers and be financially profitable from the first ad without doing any testing and without losing any money, there is no such thing. Can I help you get customers and build your brand over time? Yes. Will you achieve overnight success and instant profitability working with me? Absolutely not. Any marketing consultant or ad agency that tells you they can produce overnight results for you without you having any risk of losing money from your advertising is lying to you.

Businesses that are successful at selling products on the Internet normally do a ton of testing with their website sales message and their ads. They literally test hundreds of different Internet ads. On their website they test different ways of describing their products, different promos, different shipping options, different product pictures, different colored buttons, different call to actions, on and on. Amazon has conducted thousands of tests on their website and Internet advertising to create a system that is finally profitable, and they continue testing every day.

So, can I help you? Yes. Will I make your online advertising profitable overnight? Absolutely not. Creating a profitable Internet advertising campaign is very difficult because there is so much competition. Success can only be achieved through testing.

I would like to work with you but if you are expecting a miracle with no financial risk, I cannot help you and no other marketing expert can help you either.

Small Business Owners Have Unrealistic Expectations of Internet Advertising

As I discussed with my prospective client, and to many other small business owners just like him, there is no silver bullet for Internet advertising. The reason why so many small businesses fail with Internet advertising is they expect overnight profitable results and they do almost zero testing. They try Google Adwords even though they have no training or expertise in it, and they run a generic ad or two for a few weeks. Then, when their generic campaign fails to generate profitable sales, they say Google advertising does not work. Wrong. They failed because they are not experts at Google AdWords, they are not experts at writing ads, and they did not test different ads, different product descriptions, different pictures, different promo offers, different call to actions, etc.

Maybe a better way to describe this concept is to call advertising “advertesting.”  To be successful with online advertising you have to test and test and test and test…

Business owners need to understand that creating a profitable online advertising campaign is difficult. It requires expertise. And, it requires a hell of a lot of testing. There is no miracle advertising platform that will be profitable and make you rich overnight. There is no silver bullet. Just because the “guru” who sold you their ebook on how to get rich with Facebook ads said Facebook Internet advertising is easy does not mean it is true. In fact, that “guru” probably tested dozens if not hundreds of Facebook ads and website copy on his landing page before he (or his marketing team) finally created the profitable ad and landing page combination that got you to buy his ebook.

If you’re not going to test, and test, and then test some more, you are most likely not going to be profitable with Internet advertising, no matter what advertising platform you use.

Welcome to Reality in Advertising.

By the way, “Reality in Advertising” is an outstanding advertising book that was written in 1961 by one of the world’s top “ad men” Rosser Reeves. The book describes the challenges of creating profitable ads and the importance of testing because of so much competition. It is now 2016 and the amount of competition has probably increased by 100 fold. So, if you are not testing ads and your landing pages, you may want to rethink that decision…

Peter Geisheker

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