In the last decade or so, advertising has increasingly shifted from print, radio, and TV to online advertising channels. Google has become a verb. Internet use has soared while newspaper, radio, and TV use has taken a hit. If you want to stay in the game these days, online advertising is the way to go.
For most forms of online advertising, you’ll need to determine what keywords you want to use. Keywords are the search phrase that you expect customers will use to look for the product or service you provide. For instance, if you sell model trains, you might want to build an ad for “model trains” or “model trains for sale” or “model train sets”; however, if you specialize in a particular kind of train, you may want to get more specific–for instance, “model train with steam engine”. The more specific your keywords are, the more targeted your audience becomes. A general keyword will be searched for more frequently, but it’s also competing against all the other model train sellers out there who used the same keyword. A specific keyword (also called a long tail keyword) will be searched for less frequently, but it’s also less heavily used by your competitors. Some experts say that long tail keywords will get you more bang for your buck. Other experts disagree, saying that most googlers are lazy and search only for generic terms, which means your dollars aren’t going to bring much of a return. Sometimes, it just comes down to trying different keywords and seeing what is bringing the best results.
Create a custom landing page with a clear call to action. After all, once you draw the traffic, you want them to do something–buy your product or service, come to your event, fund your cause, read your content, or something else. The landing page is a page on your website that is created specifically for the traffic coming from your ad. It may be targeted to a specific group of people or a specific location or a specific product. This one page is your chance to hook the customer. Make it grab their attention, scratch the itch that caused them to do the search in the first place, and get them to click the Pay Now button! Make sure your landing page is easy to read and navigate.
Online advertising takes on many forms–social media marketing, search engine marketing, mobile advertising, and display advertising (i.e. banner ads, rich media, etc.) Facebook is still the leader in social media marketing (93 percent of businesses market on it), although marketers increasingly use other social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube. Search engine marketing (SEM) promotes your website through paid ads, such as Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Given that Google holds a large share of the online market, Google AdWords is a no-brainer for most marketers.
Yes, online advertising can be complicated, but the good news is, it’s effective. Position your business, nonprofit, cause, blog, or model train expertise online where you think your customers or audience are most likely to congregate. It’s called strategy. Then, watch your business or nonprofit increase exponentially.