All of the main ad networks (Google, Meta, LinkedIn, Amazon etc) are self-service. They all promote the idea that it’s fast and easy to create an account, write a few ads and let AI do the rest.

And you know what? They’re broadly correct! It IS fast and easy to create an account, throw up a few ads and see what happens. You can have traffic on your website within an hour.

(Nobody does this for very long of course. Not unless you plan to fund the Big Tech Christmas party.)

In my experience, it takes 2-4 weeks to properly set up an ad campaign. So in the real world, where does all the time go?

Well to paraphrase Perry Marshall, everybody thinks they have a traffic problem, when in fact they have a conversion problem…

Getting people to your website is rarely the problem. The issue is usually that not enough people take action on the landing page, or subsequently convert into clients within a reasonable time.

You need to think about this before running ads. The exception perhaps is e-commerce, where clicks and transactions happen close together.

For myself and pretty much all of my clients there is an ‘education’ phase in between somebody becoming aware of you and signing up. You can’t just spend more money on ads and expect to see cash appear in the bank.

So the time to launch a successful campaign really goes on:

1. Researching what to say in your ads that will both resonate and stand out

2. Getting your ads and targeting set up

3. Getting your landing pages or lead forms set up

4. Getting your conversion-tracking set up

5. Creating an offer for your thank-you page (this could be to book a call or demo)

6. Creating an email sequence to go out when people respond

And for bonus points:

7. Capturing their mailing address on the thank you page (about half of new subscribers will leave their mailing address), and crafting a letter to send in the mail

Much of the work required to set up a successful ad campaign happens away from the ad account. Running ads tends to uncover deeper foundational problems, but fixing those problems can benefit you greatly in the long run.

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About the author 

Rob Drummond

Rob is the founder of

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