Remember the old days of advertising when you bought your advert in Yellow Pages and (hopefully) the phone started ringing? It’s a bit more complicated these days, but paid advertising still has a place in the internet economy. After all, even the so-called “free” options actually cost in either your time or paying someone to do them. So this week, I want to look at some of the options for spending your marketing budget.
When we think of paid advertising online, most businesses start and stop with Google Adwords. And it often is the best place to start. But there are many other ways to market your business.
Options to Consider
Bing Pay per Click
Although Google has around 90% of UK searches, you may still get worthwhile clicks from Bing – and at a much lower cost. The low volumes can make it harder to test and measure, but if you have a successful Adwords campaign, it’s worth seeing whether you can also get good results from Bing.
Think about Facebook advertising if Facebook is part of your marketing. It’s particularly useful for growing your fan base or for promoting specific offers or events. The big benefit is the highly detailed targeting so you can be very specific about who sees your ads: location, age, gender, relationship status, interests.
From local tradespeople to wedding services, there are a wide range of directory sites to choose from. Their effectiveness can be wide ranging too! Before you part with your money, do your homework and ask a few of the existing advertisers whether they are happy with the returns.
Do you operate within a specific geographical area? There may be directory type sites for that area which offer advertising. As with niche directories, check carefully before going ahead. Look for those which are active on Social Media and do more than simply create a listing for their advertisers.
Banner adverts have a poor reputation – let’s face it, how often do you click on the adverts when you visit a website? But a well crafted advert on a highly targeted website can bring results. Just make sure you test and measure VERY carefully and watch your results like a hawk. For some fun facts about banner advertising Read This
If you’re in the type of business people blog about – weddings, fashion, gardening, sport – then blog sponsorship usually offers a bit more than simple banner advertising. You’ll usually have a feature article and/or directory listing as well. Or you may be able to sponsor a competition. Prices and packages vary widely so check carefully what you get for your money. And check the readership data closely – make sure you can break it down by location if you don’t operate worldwide.
If you sell a product, then shopping sites are worth considering – the good ones will get you in front of active buyers very quickly. Of course, ebay and amazon are the big players but there are niche sites like Not on the High Street and ArtGallery.co.uk
Most work on a commission basis and some have joining fees. Make sure your pricing is structured to allow for this.
Watch out for: Buying Links
Google are cracking down on businesses paying for advertising which is primarily aimed at getting links. Read this about their battle with Interflora. Any type of link which you have paid for (blog article, directory listing, banner) should be tagged with the NOFOLLOW attribute to guard against Google penalties.
Test and Measure
Whichever options you choose, it’s vital to continuously monitor and measure your results. Online advertising has the big advantage over print that you can follow clicks through your Analytics. Make sure you do this – it’s all too easy to waste money on useless advertising.
But if you find something that works, the rewards can be very good.