How do you present your products or services to the audience most likely to buy? This is the age-old question. And it’s also the gold standard of marketing.

At CES this year, over 4,000 excited vendors will be vying for top-of-mind impressions, email op-ins, leads, and (hopefully) sales. But are trade shows—even big ones—the solution to scaling? Trade shows are not a new idea, nor are billboards, radio spots, print ads, or even some digital channels for that matter.

Facebook Ads: 3x to 100x ROI

You’ve heard the buzz by now. If you’re in a panic to advertise on Facebook, you’re exactly where you should be. Facebook ads mean almost immediate and massive growth. While the buzz is absolutely true, you still have to have a viable product, as Entrepreneur mentions. Even with the power of Facebook ads, you can’t cajole someone to buy something no one wants.

Why Advertise on Facebook?

Because right now it’s working, and producing truly amazing results, hence the almost manic fervor among marketers to adopt.

To know why Facebook is working right now requires knowing a basic history of digital marketing.

The Humble Website

If you were in business in the 90’s, at some point someone may have told you, “to be successful, you need a website.”

From the dawn of the Internet in the mid-90’s to about 2007, having a website was all you needed. The companies who adopted early, got the best domain names, best brand awareness, and if they played well with SEO, saw impressive results just from having a website.

Inbound Marketing

Then, in about 2007, Hubspot’s legendary inbound marketing hit the digital scene. It was a game-changer. With inbound, instead of a website simply serving an ancillary role within traditional marketing, it became possible, if not even desirable, to use a website as the primary marketing arm of a company.

Those early adopters of inbound attained phenomenal domain authority, Google ranking, and lead capturing ability. Most still retain those things today.

But many companies, especially high profit, cash-rich companies still held to traditional marketing methods like cold calling, buying email lists, and attending trade shows. Those companies now are beginning to realize they missed an opportunity.

Inbound always was a long game. Up to about 2014, we were telling potential clients to expect nothing from inbound for about the first six months of their engagement.

This meant we were expecting clients to pay $4,000 to $10,000 per month to “catch Google’s attention that you are now doing regular blogging and have bumped up your content.” After the six months we were expecting organic website traffic to improve, and those website visitors to begin downloading digital resources and, hopefully, at some point those leads would turn into sales.

In 2014, "PPC," was a dirty word. 

2014 state of inbound chart

[Source: Hubspot - State of Inbound 2014]

That was 2014. My how things have flipped. Today we’re not giving any hints of performance. While Inbound marketing still has value, and we believe you should be doing content marketing, if you have a poor domain authority and poor website traffic, do not plan to scale your company by using inbound tactics alone. In digital marketing, nothing stays the same for long.

Google Adwords

It’s PPC to drive Google ranking. You are vying for top ranking by paying for search position in an auction environment. Adwords works but if you’re a big brand and can afford the budget, you might consider Google’s other venture: YouTube videos.

Facebook Ads and Market Saturation

2017 was probably the “golden year” of FB advertising. We were telling clients you could scale from zero to something in days to weeks by advertising on Facebook.

Depending on niche, we now may say, “3-4 months.” That’s for new funnels. That’s for companies who have never, ever touched a Facebook ad before. 3-4 months still is amazing, right, for a fantastic return?

I hope you are getting my point—adapt or die: Early adopters win.

Before advertising on Facebook becomes saturated, the time to act is now, if not yesterday.

Are you waiting for something else? Here are some points to consider:

  • If you’re waiting for the next big thing, you may risk finding the next big thing will be oblivion.
  • I hope you’re not waiting for a new computer OS. Forever now, Windows and Mac have been your choices. Linux failed in all but server applications. There are only two: the Facebook ads network and the Google ads network. That’s it.
  • If you’re waiting for Open Source to take over the world, you’re going to have a long wait.
  • If you’re waiting to see if some new digital platform will emerge in say 2020, you may be waiting in line for a job.
  • If you’re waiting for the price of Facebook advertising to go down it won’t, it isn’t, it can’t. We’ve watched CPM (Facebook’s cost per thousand impressions metric) slowly creep up in ad cost. Grow now, scale now, while the ROI is still in the spectacular realm.
  • If you’re waiting for your competition to remain asleep, they won’t. (Right now, it’s still the Wild West. Most of your competitors are not leveraging digital marketing to their advantage. This means big wins for you.)

This is Elvis’s song, “Now or Never” on steroids. You still may have to get in line—because the early adopters are madly rushing to scale their companies by advertising on Facebook—and there are only a handful of global ad agencies who know what they’re doing.

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