What You Need to Start Online Advertising
Online advertising is about more than just the ad
In today’s world, just about every business will reach a point where they will consider investing in online advertising. While traditional advertising methods like television, radio, and direct mail still have their place in many marketing plans, the sheer amount of people who are active or at least present on social media and the purchasing habits of the modern day customers makes online advertising a very attractive avenue for finding new customers.
Given the number of people you are capable of reaching for a relatively low investment, there is no reason NOT to consider online advertising for most businesses. So, when businesses come to us and ask if they should invest in online advertising, the answer is 99.9% going to be yes in one way or another.
The question they should be asking however, and the question you should be asking yourself if you are a business owner considering online advertising, isn’t necessarily if you should advertise online but what you need in order to be successful with online advertising. The accessibility and opportunities that are created through online advertising have also created an increasingly competitive environment where potential customers have no shortage of opportunities available at their fingertips and competing messages to wade through.
Just participating in online advertising isn’t good enough anymore. In order to get the most out of it, you need to come prepared with the knowledge, know-how, and resources to do it the right way. It is very likely online advertising is right for you, but here are even more important things you need to have or know to do so effectively.
It all starts with your website
Every ad needs to direct potential customers somewhere, and that somewhere should be your website. On your website, you have total control over the messages visitors see and how the message is presented to them. You simply don’t have that level of control if your ads are pointed elsewhere like a third-party site or your social media profile.
So, if you want to start advertising online, your website needs to be ready to greet potential customers. Today’s online audience has a set of expectations when they come to a website. If those expectations aren’t met, they aren’t going to stick around long enough to learn how great you are and become a potential customer.
Your website needs to be attractive, well-designed, easy-to-navigate, and not feel totally sketchy or dated. If your website is not on par, visitors will assume the way you do business will also be subpar.
If you are ready to advertise online, your best play is to invest in your website first to make sure that your website is ready with a modern design, great content, and action-driving landing pages.
Have a compelling offer ready
Let’s explore these previously mentioned landing pages a bit further, shall we? One of the most important things about online advertising that businesses need to understand before they create their first ad is that it needs to have a specific landing page it drives to. You can’t just create an ad that drives to your home page and call it a day.
While you might have a primary call to action, your home page has a collection of different messages and directions for your visitors to choose from. An effective online ad drives to a focused and well-designed landing page with a strong call to action and clear direction for next steps. The best way to do this is to have an “offer,” something someone who clicks on your ad can get in exchange, attached to your ad.
For some businesses, the offer may simply be purchasing their product from that page. You are advertising a specific product, so the page you drive to has a quick and easy way to purchase that specific product. Boom, that’s an offer. But what about those who aren’t in retail?
Even if you don’t have a physical product you are selling, you can still create a compelling offer in the form of information. A free white paper, calculator, video, or any other kind of resource that someone can download in exchange for their email to learn more about a subject related to your business is just as valuable of an offer. You get the email address of highly-qualified potential customers who have now entered your sales funnel.
Understand the platforms
There are so, so, so many options for advertising online. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Adwords, online publications, TikTok, Yelp, Nextdoor, the list goes on and on. With the head-spinning amount of options available to online advertisers, no two platforms are the same. Each have their own requirements, own audiences, and budgetary demands.
Some business owners believe that you need to be a part of and advertising on every single platform, especially the hot, up-and-coming, and most popular social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram. This belief, however, is simply not true. You can waste all your time, energy, and money being everywhere at once, but if you want to advertise online effectively, it is more important to focus and advertise to fewer, more relevant locations.
So how do you decide where you should be? First, think about who you want to reach with your ads. Every online platform has different audiences, so determine which platform your audience is most likely to be on and that is where you want to be. If you are advertising a product or service aimed at college-age or young adult audience then yes, TikTok and Instagram are probably great places for you to be. But, if the average age of your customer is 45-50 years old, you will be wasting your money putting your ads in front of people who aren’t interested.
If you aren’t sure which social media platform is the right one for you to advertise on, this quick quiz can offer some clarity.
Online advertising is about so much more than just the ad: it is about the strategy behind the ad. Without a sound strategy for where you advertise, who you are advertising to, where you are taking them, and ultimately what you want them to do when they get there, even the greatest designed and written online ad will fall flat on its face.
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