What Kind of Online Ad Should Your Small Business Run?
by: Kathryn Hawkins
You want to buy online advertising for your business but you're just not sure where to begin. Enter Kathryn Hawkins and her post on the Intuit Small Business Blog.
What do you want to accomplish with online advertising?
To increase overall brand awareness, try display advertising - Otherwise known as banner ads. Kathryn states that even though banner ads do not necessarily receive a lot of clicks, that instead keyword searches and visiting the brand's page do skyrocket after the banner ad is seen.
To increase your brand's social reach, try Facebook ads - Facebook makes it very easy to reach the demographic you want to reach.
To target prospects who are actively seeking products or services like yours, try keyword ads - Otherwise known as pay-per-click keyword ads. Most people use Google for this. Kathryn states "this is an ideal method if you have a product that's relevant to a general term many people search for (such as "camping gear" or "Houston hotels")."
We've tried everything out there for our retail stores. Some online advertising works and others are a waste of money. You've got to measure your ROI or you can throw a lot of money down the drain very quickly. When we built our mall (Giftys.com, an advertising portal for online stores), we intentionally went with a low cost-per-click model instead of one with fees. As a tip, when you pay out X amount of dollars for yearly fees or dues, you don't always get a good return. With a cost-per-click model, you get exactly what you're paying for and it's under your control.
More to the question in the subject line, "What Online Ad Should Your Small Biz run?"...
Start with what your business does. What is its theme? For example, if you sell cars, there are portals out there that specialize in cars that you can advertise on. Next, I'm a fan of keyword advertising over banner ads. Banners do more for brand recognition than anything but keywords have been proven to link more directly to sales in the present. The exception would be a banner that hones in on a particular sale or targeted product discount. Finally, as stated before, measure your results. Run your stats (if you don't have a stat-tracker, get one TODAY!) and match them to your specific campaign. You can set up url extensions to include the source so that when you go to track, you know exactly where it's coming from.
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