Paid Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

March 26, 2021 - 12 minutes read

How to win more customers and drive more revenue with paid marketing.


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Paid marketing can offer retail or ecommerce businesses a healthy return on investment (ROI)—if you get it right.

Sixty-eight percent of leading marketers say that paid marketing is “extremely important” to their overall marketing strategy. Considering the Google Display Network alone reaches 90% of Web users worldwide, it’s easy to understand why.

Paid marketing is no longer confined to low-grade static ad banners with no personal value. Now, you can reach specific segments of your target audience with messaging that engages, inspires, and—most importantly—converts.

The eCommerce and retail sector is paved with opportunities for small business owners looking to make their mark. But whatever your niche or specialty, the competition is fierce.

By using paid marketing to your advantage, you will broaden your commercial reach, increase customer loyalty, and reach consumers when they’re most likely to engage.

Here are some essential tips and ideas to help you win with your paid marketing strategy.


Segment your customers

We mentioned reaching out to specific segments of your audience. This will form the foundations of your paid marketing efforts.

Eighty-eight percent of US marketing leaders confirm measurable marketing campaign improvements by personalizing their ad messaging. By segmenting your customers according to specific demographics or buying behaviors, you can reach out to people with paid ad content that speaks to them on a personal level.

Using a buyer persona as your guide, you can break down your audience and run ad campaigns tailored to specific interests, preferences, or pain points rather than sending out blanket messaging that is unlikely to have any real impact.

You can, for example, segment your customer based on whether they are repeat buyers or consumers with a higher average order value (AOV). You can also group your customers or prospects based on aspects such as age, profession, geographical location, and personal interests.

Analyzing your customer data and creating multiple buyer personas will allow you to segment your audience and develop paid ad content with maximum impact.

If you sell furniture, for instance, you might have an audience segment of repeat vintage rugs and lampshades. By identifying this target group, you could create a paid Google ad promoting your new range of vintage lampshades and rugs, with a 10% discount incentive to encourage click-throughs and conversions.


Go social with paid ads & content

Facebook accounts for 9% of the world’s overall paid marketing share, with 30 million businesses using the platform regularly. Plus, more than 80% of registered Instagram users follow a business on the platform, with 75% of users engaging with a brand after seeing a post on their feed.

The scope and the audience reach on these two popular social platforms alone is enormous. By investing in paid or sponsored content, you will connect with more customers and earn more revenue.

To help you on your path to paid social media success, here are two must-read resources:


Retail & eCommerce paid marketing split-testing

Pay-per-click (PPC) is one of the most common and powerful branches of paid marketing. Using Google Ads, you can bid for branded and unbranded keywords or terms related to your business as well as what you’re trying to sell and appear at the very top of search engine result pages (SERPs) for relevant search terms.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the basics of PPC, here’s a quick video guide to get you started:

One of the most effective ways to optimize a targeted paid Google ad campaign for success is a concept called split-testing.

With split-testing, you can run two or more ads in an ad group and tell Google to alternate between each version so that the ad is shown around the same number of times. This allows you to see which variation performs best and offers the best ROI. 

By running two versions of an ad, you will also increase your chances of reaching a wider range of consumers. You will get a clear insight into the messaging and formats that work best, refining your ads for consistent success in the process.

Take travel retailer and hospitality brand Southern Sun Hotels, for example. The brand’s main goal was increasing online bookings via its new site while encouraging new international tourists (for both corporate and leisure purposes) to visit its South African branches.

In addition to running two separate versions of its PPC ads to test the performance of keywords and ad content, Southern Sun Hotels also split-tested the landing pages linked to each ad.

Through testing and optimization (creating the best version of each paid ad), the brand earned 7,500 clicks per month for the first three months of its ad campaign. This analytical method also earned a healthy PPC ROI ratio of 20:1 ($20 dollars for every one dollar spent).

The bottom line: Create more than one targeted Google ad where you can and track the performance of each one to squeeze more value from your campaigns.


Paid marketing copywriting tips

In addition to segmenting your customers, tracking your performance data, and split-testing, you need to develop impactful messaging.

Here are some essential paid marketing copywriting tips that will improve the performance of your campaigns:

  • Create personable and approachable messaging by addressing your audience directly. To do so, make sure your copy reads as naturally as possible while using words like “you” and “yours.”
  • Use emotional triggers to engage your target audience and prompt people to click your ad. To help you develop emotionally-driven ad messaging, read our seasonal guide to holiday marketing.
  • Research your character limits. Every paid advertising platform will have character limits for headings and body copy. If you exceed these character limitations, you will dilute your messaging and waste your ad budget. This major paid ad platform character limit list is a great reference.
  • Add your main keywords and key terms to your ad headlines and at least once to your main ad copy. You should also include your USP in your copy and end with a call to action (CTA) that inspires the reader to engage with your ad. CTAs (e.g., “be the first,” “offer ends in [time],” “don’t miss out,”) that create a sense of urgency usually work well.
  • Use numerics rather than written numbers where possible. Doing so will improve the performance of your ad while making it more concise.

Our essential UX and microcopy writing tips will also help you craft copy that stands out from the crowd and improves your paid marketing ROI.

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Try ad retargeting

Ad retargeting is the concept of creating targeted paid ads aimed at people who have previously engaged with your business and are yet to make a purchase.

By using your user data as your guide (insights based on how someone has interacted with your previous ads), you can develop retargeting content to spark their interest at another point where they are likely to engage.

Consumers that retargeted with value-driven display ads are 70% more likely to convert.  If you earmark the right customers to retarget, you can deliver well-placed customized advertisements that are likely to grab customers’ attention when they are next browsing online.

As an online retailer or eCommerce business owner, you can retarget customers (both those who are yet to convert and those you’re looking to reconnect with) using Facebook and Google Ads’ user-friendly platforms.

Here are some retargeting dos and don’ts:


  • Target highly specific segments of your customers. Never go too broad or generic with your retargeting efforts.
  • Be bold enough to experiment with striking ad copy and messaging to cut through the noise. Aim to be both informative and creative.
  • Get your timing right and run your retargeting campaigns for periods appropriate to your audience as well as the product or service you are selling.


  • Forget to include a strong CTA at the end of your retargeting copy.
  • Run a second installment of a retargeting campaign if your initial one doesn’t land for any reason. Learn from your mistakes, move on, and target a different segment of your customer base.
  • Use sales messaging that is overly salesy_today’s customers see right through it. Aim to add personal value to your customers’ life and use testimonials or social proof in your ad content where possible.


“Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.”—Bill Bernbach


We hope our guide to retail and eCommerce paid marketing helps you earn a healthy ROI while setting you apart from your competitors.

For more business-boosting insights, check out our definitive guide to the art of cross-selling and upselling.