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Paid advertising is a great way to promote your c-store and a new foodservice program. It can draw in new customers and be highly targeted based on geography and demographic information such as age, web use and more.

While paid digital advertising won’t be for every company, these tips can help determine if it is right for your company, and some ways you can start implementing it to grow your business.

Start Simple

If you have never run a digital advertising campaign, it’s important to start simple. Focus on one channel. We have seen great success with Facebook boosted posts and paid ads. Both are easy to set up, allow for targeting people near your stores and are tied directly to your existing company profile.

If you are already creating social posts on Facebook, you can choose to boost some of your most successful ones so people that have not “liked” your page will see you.

Other channels to keep in mind are Google paid search and Google Display Network. These require more work to maintain but are good areas to expand into after Facebook.

Offer Something Real

When using digital paid advertising make sure to offer something that will bring people in. Free food giveaways, happy hours, and buy-two-get-one deals are fantastic ways to draw customers in. As an added bonus, they are inexpensive to run as well.

Once you’ve drawn a customer into your business, they are far more likely to come in again. So focus on that first initial offer. It’s important to keep them simple, and don’t worry too much about people being able to redeem these offers more than once. Vary them up, especially if you have seasonal products.

Be Persistent

Advertising takes some time to show its effectiveness. It takes multiple exposures and touch-points with potential customers before they will recall the ads, and even more to act upon them. Sometimes you get the mythical unicorn that comes in after seeing an ad once, but this is rare.

Make sure you have the budget to run an advertising program for at least a few months. If it’s not working after a month or two, you can optimize how you are promoting, but don’t stop advertising yet.

Managing Budget

There are a lot of valuable forms of promotion and advertising out there. Your budget has competition for its attention, including your in-store promotions. It’s important to find a balance without shortchanging any one platform.

Paid advertising requires a certain amount of budget to be effective. This will take some experimenting for everyone. A good balance is when you are running out of your daily budget late in the day while still getting views.

When focusing on digital advertising, it’s important to remember there are other avenues out there. Radio and billboards can be effective, depending on your location. One client ran ads on Highway 70, which cost them just under $1000 a month. The area had enough traffic to support the budget and offer them a high return on their monthly investment.

Think about which forms of advertising are right for your location. Are there pockets of neighborhoods near you that you can target with digital ads? Are people spread out and often spend their day commuting? Is there a busy highway you can focus on?

Over time you can adjust your budget mix with what’s performing for you. As we said at the beginning, start simple. Work with one channel to start if your budget is tight and expand as your business grows.

Paid Advertising or In-Store Signage?

When it comes down to assigning a budget, make sure you have both internal and external signage so customers can find your foodservice program and also showcasing other products they can see inside your convenience store. These are one-time expenses and then you can move on to paid advertising.

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone. Take This.

It can be hard to know where to start with all of the marketing options out there. If you are looking for different ways you can advertise your store, from in-store promotions to paid advertising, then The Ultimate Marketing Guide to Grow Your Store can help:

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