Over 65% of people in the US are active social media users, and the stats are similar for other industrial nations. It's likely your customers are already on social media - so how will you reach them?

The great news is that most social media platforms offer a range of options for targeting and acquiring new customers. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how you can identify your ideal customer, engage with them, and test the waters with paid advertising on social media. This article takes a closer look at how you can use paid advertising on social media to cost-effectively acquire new customers.

Reaching New Prospects

You've already identified certain features of your ideal customer - their job title, industry, company size, age, and location. Now you can use these features to target them on social media! Most social media platforms offer an advertiser portal where you can create paid advertising campaigns and target specific audiences using demographic features. Some platforms, like Facebook, even offer the ability to target audiences based on purchase habits and interests, which can be very handy.

When you target these new prospects, focus on introducing your business and raising awareness about the need you meet rather than straight up selling your services. For example, if you provide event planning services you could create and promote an event budgeting template that people can download when they submit their email address. This content educates new prospects about what is involved in event planning (and consequently, the value of the services you offer) and provides you with an email list of people who are likely to be interested in your services, who you can now retarget.

Retargeting

Retargeting is a specific type of marketing that lets you target prospects that have visited your website and already know about your business. Most social media platforms allow you to target prospects that have visited any page on your website, or narrow your focus to people who have visited specific pages on your site (like the shopping cart). Some platforms require you to install a tracking pixel on your website to get this information, while others allow you to set up the rules yourself using specific URLs.

Although there can be a bit of work involved in setting up a retargeting campaign, the effort is almost guaranteed to pay off. The people you target already know about your business and have expressed an interest in what you offer. This means you can hit them with more direct ads asking them to sign up or buy today - and they will be more likely to respond. In fact, retargeting provides an average ROI of between 5 to 10 times marketing spend when done well.

Lookalike Audiences

Setting up tracking pixels on your website for retargeting also opens up another potentially lucrative audience type - the lookalike audience. This is a tailored audience similar to one you have already created using a tracking pixel, email list, or website interactions. Lookalike audiences are only available on Facebook in the social space, but on the wider web you can also use them for Google Adwords and Display (where they are called "similar audiences"). This is usually more effective than targeting brand new prospects, and provides you with a cost-effective channel for reaching people likely to be interested in your offering.

Now Get Started!

Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing, so why not get started today? Create a test campaign, set up your audience targeting and away you go! It's important to be ready to test, measure and modify your campaigns and audience targeting based on the results you get, and it can be a long journey. But it's ultimately very worthwhile and your business will reap the benefits.

Sarah Mateljan is the Co-Founder and CEO of CourseGenius, the world's simplest online training platform. CourseGenius empowers small to medium businesses to easily create and deliver their own custom online training, either to train their staff or sell to customers. CourseGenius have also recently launched a suite of pre-built online compliance training courses to enable businesses to quickly and cost-effectively train and onboard their staff with topics including Work Health & Safety, Bullying & Harassment, and Social Media. Learn more at www.CourseGenius.com