Online advertising has changed significantly over the years. Many believe the Internet came prematurely and advertisers simply didn't know how to react at first. Online advertising methods have progressed from hidden and deceptive links to targeted pay-per-click search engine advertising.
Along the way, very few people actually developed effective advertising campaigns. Some people believe a good conversion ratio requires a large number of visitors, while others believe extremely targeted ad delivery is most effective. When it comes to advertising a startup E-business, I favor targeting strategies and affordability, from start to finish.
Here are five tips for developing an effective online advertising campaign:
- Begin with advertising guidelines. If you think online advertising is easy, most people discover that it isn't. Very few companies develop a successful inline advertising model.
Recent research from the GartnerGroup showed, “75% of all E-business start-ups fail”. Becoming one of the successful 25% requires a planned, efficient, and targeted, ad campaign. Beginning a campaign with strict guidelines can help increase your chances of enjoying a successful campaign.
An easy way to create these guidelines is by addressing a very simple question: What do I wish to accomplish? Put a lot of depth into the answer. Who will be your customers? How much do you want to spend overall, or each month? What are the key values or conveniences that are going to be promoted?
In combination, make these the advertising guidelines. Place considerable thought towards them, with every aspect of the campaigns development.
- Focus your advertising efforts. It’s no secret that people now shop online. A recent poll conducted by the National Consumer League indicated that 55% of consumers with Internet access (at home or work) have shopped online. This represents a 10% increase from surveys conducted just five years earlier. 56% of the respondents said they "shop online for the convenience".
These statistics provide some key factors that are important for starting an effective Internet advertising campaign. First, the Internet has a large market share of shoppers. It also tells why most people like shopping online.
With this in mind, considerable effort should be expended on online advertising. But then again, don’t rule out conventional advertising either. There is still a considerable percentage of the market share that is shopping elsewhere. Also, ads that are online should focus on the convenience of the website, products, or services being promoted.
- Advertise in the right places. To find places to advertise effectively, you need to consider navigation of the Internet. In a research report published by Michael Day and Traugott Koch of UKOLN Metadata Group, they discovered that the internet works best using classification mapping for finding and retrieving information.
Their research concluded, “Classification schemes vary in scope and methodology, but can be divided into universal, national, general, subject specific, and home-grown schemes”.
Based on their findings your website, product, or service, may fall somewhere within one or more classification schemes. On a grand scale, classification may start with directories such as the ODP or Yahoo! Directory. Consumers browse these directories and search engines might use them to classify the relevancy of Web pages.
On a smaller scale, websites you place an ad on may have their own, “home-grown,” scheme. Try to identify the classification at work before advertising. For example, advertising home decor products on the automotive section of a website won't be as effective as advertising in the home improvement section.
- Target your advertising in order to stay competitive. Ad targeting is the art of getting your ads primarily in front of the people who are most likely to become your customer. If done effectively, targeting will produce the best results with minimal advertising expense. These savings will then enable you to offer products or services at a competitive rate while maintaining an acceptable profit margin.
Identifying your target audience is perhaps the most important factor in realizing a profit or loss. In a report published by Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez (Assistant professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and research fellow of the Tindergen Institue), focusing on Internet advertising, he found, "firms that were unable to target their ads to different consumer segments found that a Zero-profit equilibrium exists". On the other hand, his research revealed, “If firms employ targeted advertising, they can obtain positive profits”.
Some general ad targeting demographics include Age Groups, Homeowners, Renters, Single Men or Women, Couples, Couples with Children, Regions, Type of Employment, and Income Grouping. Depending on the offering, it may be a good idea to initially target one of these groups until your business becomes established.
- Launch your ad campaign. After placing considerable thought into the factors mentioned above, you should be ready to launch an effective and affordable ad campaign.
If your finances are limited, begin small. Seek out affordable advertising solutions such as link exchanges, free search engine listings, directories, and online classified ads.
Once an ad campaign is active, monitor the results of the advertisements very carefully to help ensure awareness of the best places to advertise in the future. By using thought, planning, and consistency your ad campaigns will become more effective over time.
About the author:
Michael Medeiros is an authority on business advertising and marketing.
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