Yesterday, I shared the recent news about The Big 2 — Google and Facebook — the world’s biggest online advertising networks, by far…

Long story short, between the two of them you can advertise on the top three websites on the internet, plus on a huge portion of all other websites and inside a ton of mobile apps.

Through just The Big 2, you have access to almost every single internet user over the course of any given week, and you only have to pay when someone actually engages with your ad.

That’s why they are expected to collect nearly half the online advertising spend this year — a combined $106 billion between them.

Today, I promised to continue the story…  And frankly, today’s breakthroughs are far juicier, now that we have the scene set.

Let’s dive in…

The hidden hidden “license to print money” in both platforms…

What if you had a way to only reach out and put your ads in front of people who already know you?  That is, they know who you were, and have at least a passing interest in what it is you offer…

The only way you used to be able to do this was with a list.  You built an in-house list of prospects and customers.  And you focused a significant portion of your advertising dollars here, because you knew this was the highest-ROI place to go to generate new sales…

Today you have access to something just shy of an actual opt-in, permission-based marketing list.  That’s the remarketing or retargeting list.  This is all the people who’ve visited your site or engaged with your social media presence.  They know you, at least somewhat.  They probably had a reason to be on your site or in your social media to begin with.  And so they’re likely to have at least a passing interest in what you offer.

And using each of The Big 2’s advertising platforms, you’re able to target and put your ads in front of just these people — while they’re browsing the web, or on Facebook.

I’m sure you’ve seen it.  You visit a site.  Maybe on your phone.  Maybe on your computer.  But then everywhere you engage online, their ads are popping up everywhere.  (I’m having this go on right now with Saddleback Leather — again.)

They seem to be following you all over the internet — because they are.  It’s one of the highest ROI uses of these platforms.

And here’s an even more powerful way to use this.

The best online marketers do this in two steps.  They create content that’s just content, and only passively tries to get the conversion.  It’s not heavy on selling, it’s simply meant to attract the interest of the ideal target audience for their offer.

They try to get maximum clicks here, which they’re using to build a retargeting list.  Then, only for the people who’ve visited the page, or stayed on it for a certain length, or somehow shown a level of engagement or interest do they then spend a LOT of money retargeting.

There are all sorts of nuances and advantages to this strategy that I don’t have time to go into here, but it’s very powerful…

On to the next point…

How much do you need to know if you’re NOT the one buying traffic…

I know a lot of my readers are copywriters, consultants, coaches, and business owners who may not actually be in there buying traffic every day…

So how much do you need to know?

Well, do you want a big advantage over everybody else in your position, that you’re competing with?  Learn this stuff.  At least enough to know the basics about targeting, ad formats, platform capabilities, and how traffic flows from these platforms onto the advertisers’ websites.

Get the best practices down, and try to understand it at the principles and strategies levels, at the very least.  Maybe someone else gets in there and implements techniques and tactics within the tools.  But if you get the principles and strategies, you can map out what your campaigns need to do, and know you’re going to be creating campaigns that will get the most out of the platforms.

Plus, I’ve long said that even if you’re a copywriter who would rather hang out in your cave and write copy all day long, you need to understand where the markets are, and that side of marketing.  It will make you a better copywriter, with better contributions to the campaigns you work on.

Now what about advertising beyond Facebook and Google?

The cons of going beyond The Big 2…

Facebook and Google are mature enough marketplaces that it can be pretty expensive to buy traffic there.  Other places today may be more like those platforms were in their early years, where there’s less competition and traffic is cheaper.  Plus, other platforms and ad networks may get you in front of traffic that Facebook and Google don’t.

So should you?

My recommendation is NOT to go beyond The Big 2, until you’ve gotten The Big 2 to work for you.  Between the two of them, you can run both search and display advertising.  Advertising that responds to shopping behavior, and advertising that goes out and gets in front of a target market that’s not shopping yet.

There’s no other platforms that have the flexibility and capabilities of The Big 2, so you have everything you need to test and get good.  Sure, the clicks are a bit more expensive, but that just challenges you to be better.

(My friend for life, Brian Kurtz, has written about how paying for direct mail made him a better marketer — if he can pay $500+ per 1,000 impressions, you can pay a buck a click.)

The downsides you avoid by starting with The Big 2 are…

— Clunkier, less user-friendly platforms with limited capabilities across the board…

— A smaller traffic pool to draw from…

— Less sophisticated targeting…

That said, once you’ve really aced at least one of The Big 2 platforms, you can seriously consider rolling out your winning strategies through other platforms and channels…

The pros of going beyond The Big 2…

Now let’s say you have really aced buying traffic through at least Facebook or Google.

You’ve figured out how to attract qualified traffic, get consistent conversions, and create a good profit from that.

Now, you actually have a big advantage if you go off those platforms.

Google and Facebook only have about 50% of the online advertising marketplace.  The other 50% can get you traffic that isn’t being fought over at nearly the same level.  Which means much cheaper visitors to your website.

If your strategies are profitable on Google and Facebook, this is huge.  Because usually you’re able to dominate on other less competitive platforms.

Taking winning campaigns off The Big 2 into 5 or 10 or 20 other platforms can be a huge scaling strategy that you simply can’t match by bidding more on The Big 2.

Plus, if you are doing retargeting, traffic you buy anywhere can then be retargeted through The Big 2, increasing profits across the board.

But that’s not even your biggest breakthrough…

You’ll still create the biggest online marketing breakthroughs if…

You use all of this to build that permission-based opt-in list that you can communicate with on your terms.

Yes, I’m talking email.  But I’m also talking direct mail follow-up, if possible.

I’m talking getting the first sale.  But then I’m talking about building the relationship through time, and developing a fan, follower, and customer for life.

You can fight all day long over bringing in new customers.  And it’s absolutely necessary to bring in new customers to sustain and grow any business.  But your best, most profitable customers are the ones who’ve already done business with you, and been completely and totally satisfied by the experience.

Finding ways to deliver more value to those customers — online, offline, whatever — will be a huge breakthrough to your business.

And not only will it multiply your profits from your current business…

It will also make each new customer all the more valuable, and increase your ability to go out and compete on The Big 2 and through other advertising networks and channels, bringing even more new customers through the door.

And THAT is the biggest breakthrough.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

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