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Remember when everyone thought the internet was free?  You put your message out there, and suddenly traffic came to your website. It was like magic. Well, those days are gone. Today if you want to drive traffic you are competing with so many other messages you may need to push your way to the top of the page with a little advertising.

As you consider adding internet advertising to your marketing mix, think about the type of relationship you have with clients. If you are running a transactional business, there is no residual value to the advertising. Every day, you need to find new customers and start the relationship building again with a new batch of prospects driven by your advertising.

In contrast, relationship businesses can use advertising to start the process, but then rely on email and other follow up strategies to generate repeat business. Let’s take a look at several different types of businesses and products that can benefit from internet advertising:

High Margin Product –Single Purchase

With a low likelihood of repeat business, this type of product is always on the hunt for their next purchaser.  For example, funeral home services, criminal defense lawyers, and cosmetic surgeons are typical “one and done” purchases (at least we hope so). The high margin on their transactions makes the return for a small but effective advertisement attractive. It helps if your sales process allows you to effectively convert a high percentage of the leads your advertising generates.

High Lifetime Value –Multiple Purchase

In these industries, all you need is an introduction to a potential customer. Industries like auto repair, dental practices, and hair salons see reoccurring revenues once they work with a new client, assuming they do a good job. In these industries, investing in advertising to introduce your business to new customers perpetually pays off. It’s up to you to have other marketing in place to keep them coming back.

Hard to Find Products

When consumers can’t find an obscure item at the neighborhood Wal-Mart they are likely to turn to the internet. In niche industries advertising puts a message in front of prospective customers when they are in shopping mode. For example repair parts for products which are no longer in production, collectibles, hobby supplies, or rare first edition books. There may not be a huge market for these unusual items, but the people who want them are willing to pay for the products when they find them. Advertising helps them find you.

Seasonal Products

Flower shops on Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day and costume shops on Halloween can spike their sales with a short-term burst of advertising leading up to the event. Last minute shoppers are likely to turn to the web to find what they need instead of driving all over town. If you have a product, service, promotion, or offer for a limited time, search advertising can fill a need.

Want to learn more about Internet Advertising?

Download our Beginner’s Guide to Online Advertising.