#23: Why Knowing Your Audience Can Make Or Break Your Paid Ads with Josh Golden

Organic SEO and paid digital strategies are both vital to an omni-channel marketing strategy. And that’s why Josh Golden is joining us today.

Josh presented at a conference I attended, and he had great things to say on how to get an ROI out of your paid campaigns. I’m excited to share his insights today.


Josh didn’t start out in paid marketing. After graduating from Endicott College with a degree in marketing and media production, he landed a job in mainstream marketing.

After 4 years in this field, he got a chance start in paid digital marketing when he applied for a job with no experience at all. But he landed the job anyway. This was his introduction to entry level digital marketing.

In this job he also got to work closely with paid analysts. His interaction with them taught him the best strategies that to target leads using paid digital marketing. Now after 8 years focused on paid ad campaigns, he knows the inside scoop of this paid marketing, and here’s what he has to say.


Differences between organic and paid marketing

While Josh champions the use of paid strategies, he also works very closely with other marketing strategies.

The benefit of paid marketing is that it allows you to really hone in on your audience. You can specify by gender, job titles, interests, etc.

Because you can be so specific with your audience, your leads may already be warm and open to your input. But unlike content marketing, you do have to pay for these perks.

On the other hand, organic marketing is free marketing. You don’t pay to get your material in front of people. This approach focuses on building online profiles for businesses through content creation with the goal that consumers will find your company through your online presence.

Tips to jumpstart your paid marketing on Google

For someone like Josh, starting a paid advertising campaign is second nature. But for those of us who’ve never created one, the process can seem overwhelming. So Josh gave us some tips for getting started. For our purposes, we’re going to focus on Google ads since they’re easier to set up.

Step 1: Research like crazy

Ad campaigns whether through Google or social media platforms operate on that data you put in. For instance, Google ads need optimized keywords to reach the right audience.

If you don’t use the right keywords, you won’t reach the right audience, and you’ll virtually be throwing away your money. Here’s a “for instance”: if you’re a tech company trying to reach rehab therapists, you need to know what words they’re searching for in Google.

In this scenario, if your keywords include generic words like “therapist,” you may have large numbers of people to reach. But you could be reaching tons of people who couldn’t care less about your product.

Rather than just reaching rehab therapists, your ads will reach speech therapists, massage therapists, marriage therapists… you get the point.

By honing your keywords, you may end up with a pretty small audience, and that’s ok. The smaller your audience, the greater opportunity you have to connect with them on an emotional level. It’s better to pinpoint 5,000 people than to reach 150,000 people with ads they don’t care about.

Step 2: Organize your campaign

Organization is very important for paid marketing. Google makes it simple to set up ad campaigns with the click of a button, but if you’re not organized, you could be reaching the wrong people.

Paid marketing is different from content marketing because you’re selling a click. This is very different from a developing a landing page. So you need to strategically chose imagery and ad copy creation to incentivize your audience.

And since people buy based on emotion, you need to create a campaign that connects with your target audience on an emotional level.

Using Bing as an advertising platform

If you’re like me, you never put much thought into Bing. However, Bing is the default browser of any Microsoft device. And while it doesn’t have the same search volume as Google, you’ll probably reach different people through Bing and Google advertisements.

In addition, LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft so there’s crossover between advertising on Bing and reaching LinkedIn connections. So while Bing shouldn’t be your main advertising push, there is value in advertising through this search engine.

What do people get wrong with paid advertising?

In Josh’s experience, the biggest failures in paid marketing are when campaigns don’t focus on their audience. That’s something we’ve heard time and time again on this podcast series, and that’s because knowing your audience should drive your marketing whether you’re into content marketing, editorial outreach, or paid advertising.

Not disabling Google banner ads

Next to missing your audience, a common mistake made by first-timers is keeping Google display banner ads. These are the type of ads that show up in apps without images or ad content.

Josh was recently working with a startup that had allowed these ads. Their ads were getting a TON of clicks. Super exciting, right?... Wrong. Josh discovered that most of these clicks were accidents.

So he turned off this option for the ad campaign. And while the ads got less clicks, the company ended up getting MORE conversions.

Not being specific enough

Another common mistake is that new ad users don’t know how specific their audience criteria can be in an ad campaign. One time when Josh was helping another startup that specialized in children’s hats, he encouraged them to set up social media ads.

A few days later he started seeing ads for kid’s hats. Josh has no kids. This startup wasn’t reaching the right people because they didn’t have their audience specified.

Helpful resources for learning about new developments

Josh is a learner. His job basically requires it. If he doesn’t stay up on new developments, he could end up marketing to the wrong people and wasting precious money. Here are some places you can go to make sure you’re on the right track with your paid marketing:

  • Search Engine Journal

  • Social Media Examiner

  • Wordstream

At the beginning of every day, Josh takes time to drink his coffee and scroll through Twitter. This is where he learns a lot about industry changes.

Even if Google hasn’t formally announced changes, someone out there knows what’s changed overnight, and Josh makes a point to learn from them. If you’re interested in marketing of any sort, you can do the same.

Must-read book

In addition to staying up on industry changes, Josh also reads for fun. As a New Englander, he loves all things sports from the Patriots to the Celtics. His most recent non-fiction read was Relentless - the story of the Patriots wide receiver.

Josh and his wife have also benefitted by reading books by Charles Duhigg. Two such books are Smarter Faster Better and The Power of Habit.

Want to connect with Josh? Find him here:

LinkedIn: Josh Golden

Like what you hear?

Please subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher. I’d love it if you would leave a review as well! And of course, tell all your friends!

And, as always, if you need help with your marketing…

Let’s talk. You can book your free consulting session with me today.