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Paid advertising for freelancers: The pros and cons

Paid advertising is exactly what it sounds like – you’re paying for your ad to appear online, usually based on the number of clicks it receives (also known as PPC – pay per click) or on the amount of time your budget will allow for it to run.

In traditional advertising, marketers would pay for an ad upfront, not knowing how many impressions, conversions, or click-throughs they would get. With paid advertisements, you can run ads on a wide variety of platforms, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You choose the budget, the ad, and the demographic, and then the platform will take care of the rest.

On Google, you’ll see your paid ads pop up at the top of the list when people search for your chosen keywords. On social media, your ad would pop up in-feed. Both of these ads will be flagged as sponsored posts to alert audiences that it’s not an organic post or search result. Your ad will run until you reach your budget and then Google, Facebook, or whatever other platforms you’re using will stop running your ad.

Now we have the basis covered, let’s look at the pros and cons of paid advertising: 

Pro 1: It’s Targeted 

With paid Google ads, social media ads, and similar platforms, you have an amazing opportunity to get very specific about the audience you want to reach. This is great as a freelancer because it means you can target the clients specifically. 

Targeted and hyper-focused advertisements have proven to have a greater impact on today’s audiences. You could be reaching thousands of people with your ad, but if you’re talking to the wrong crowd, it’s essentially money down the drain. Paid advertising allows you to target your desired audience so you never waste a dollar on someone who’s not interested in your business. 

Pro 2: Analytics and Data Insights 

Paid advertising gives you ample opportunity to measure and improve your performance. With so much data at your fingertips, it helps to partner with a marketing company who can make sense of the numbers and decode the important stories they tell. 

Pro 3: Budget Control 

Google advertising, social media advertising, and other PPC options give you tight control over every penny you spend. By setting limits on your daily ad spend, you can ensure you never break the bank as you attract visitors, convert them to leads, and track your ROI for paid marketing. Plus, there’s virtually no minimum spend required, which makes PPC accessible for businesses of all sizes.

It also allows you to not spend much by trialling different paid advertising platforms with very small tester budgets. 

Con 1: It’s not for the long term 

Influx of leads drop off the day you quit paying for Google advertising or social media advertising. For many companies and freelancers alike, this is too expensive to be a long-term strategy.

For this reason we suggest spreading your budget across and pairing paid advertising with other forms of digital marketing. 

Con 2: Budget elitism 

While the budget options are flexible, naturally, everyone wants to be at the top of Google search results—including your competition.

When this happens, it’s important to remember that your competition with other businesses is always secondary to your true goal: attracting traffic. That way, you don’t bust the budget to win the battle when you could save money and win the war that matters.

Con 3: Clients and Consumers know what’s up 

In a nutshell, many consumers tend to ignore sponsored ads. Google clearly marks paid ads and social platforms mark sponsored social media posts with a “sponsored” tag, and many times, customers will scroll quickly past those to get to the organic results. This isn’t all bad. Even seeing your business name on their screen will help build brand recognition, and you aren’t paying for that exposure unless it leads to a click.

All in all, we recommend never putting all your eggs in one basket when it comes to paid advertising. So spread it out, test it out and budget wisely. Happy marketing!

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