Billions of people worldwide use the internet, including 78% of North Americans. Can your company afford not to tap into this huge market?
Where to Start: What are my Online Advertising Options?
These are the top 3 advertising models available online:
Directories and Forums:
Directories provide an online phone-book type experience for the user, allowing them to find your company by name or industry. Many online directories are free and have the potential to drive highly targeted traffic to your website.
Online forums are websites where people with a similar interest discuss various topics related to that interest. These forums are a great place to look for free advice from experts in a field and receive high quality feedback about products and services. A great internet marketing forum is www.warriorforum.com.
The Pay-per-Click online advertising model is the most popular, primarily because it lets businesses target search engine users by the terms they are searching for. Every time a search engine user clicks on your ad, you pay an amount up to your maximum Cost-per-Click (CPC) for that keyword. PPC advertisements appear on search engines and various sites that make up a company’s “content network”. The three main PPC advertising platforms are:
- Google AdWords, which targets Google and its content network including AOL.com, ask.com, the New York Times website, and many more.
- Microsoft AdCenter, which targets the Bing and Yahoo search engines as well as the Microsoft content network including MSN, Fox Sports, and many others.
- Facebook’s Advertising platform offers both Pay-per-Click and Pay-per-Thousand Impressions (impressions are the number of people who see your ad). Facebook Advertisers benefit from very precise targeting and a potential customer base of over 800 million users.
Pay-per-Action (PPA) or Affiliate Marketing
Pay-per-Action online marketing involves paying only when a customer performs a specific action, like finishing a transaction. This is accomplished mainly through affiliate networks, and though your company is guaranteed a sale each time you pay, you will not benefit from the brand exposure of a PPC campaign, through which you can receive thousands of impressions per day. Affiliate marketing is also complicated to set-up and manage, and therefore is not recommended as a first step to those pursuing online advertising for the first time.
Below is a list of advantages and disadvantages of the three primary online advertising models.
|Directories- Pay to be Listed||–Many are free–Categorized by industry for highly targeted leads-Minimal effort needed to sign up for many directories at once.||-Free directories do not generate much traffic, except possibly DMOZ.org-Some paid directories charge large amounts to be listed, even if they receive little or no traffic-Free directories take a very long time to review and publish your site|
|PPC Model-Pay for Leads||–Large Number of Impressions to establish your brand and build your website’s traffic-Keyword Targetingallows you to advertise to people already searching for your products or services-Set your own budget, from $1.00 a day to thousands a day||-Can get very expensive in competitive industries-For the best results, extensive keyword research is required-“Broad” matching forces you to pay for terms with little or no relevance to your business|
|PPA/Affiliate Model-Pay for Sales||–Guaranteed not to waste money, as you only pay when a sale is made-Only very qualified leads are brought to your attention by affiliates||-Potential for misrepresentation of your products or services by affiliates-Affiliate marketing will not bring significant amounts of traffic to your website-Tedious sign-up process for official “affiliate network” sites|
Ok.. So What do I have to do to Get Started?
If you are just beginning to advertise your website, the best online strategy is to first list your site on various free directories and ask for feedback on forums. The directory listings will help potential customers find your site and help your site rank better on search engines.
Positioning your website on a popular forum by asking for feedback can generate a lot of traffic comprised of people interested in your website, and those trying to help you improve. These first steps will help you gain a small amount of initial traffic to your site before you undergo a paid advertising campaign.
To start your first paid advertising efforts, generally a search engine Pay-per-Click account is the way to go. If you want to minimize costs with slightly less exposure, Microsoft AdCenter’s average Cost-Per-Click for a given keyword is around half that of the same keyword on Google AdWords. However, that being said, Google does command almost 70% of the market for internet searches in the United States, and even more than that internationally.
Whichever Advertising platform you choose initially, both Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter offer helpful startup guides to help you create your first campaign.
Tips to Keep in Mind:
- Make sure you do your keyword research and know what keywords your potential customers are searching for. Google’s Keyword tool can tell you the estimated number of times a keyword is searched for each month, and can estimate your AdWords traffic based on your keyword and max Cost-Per-Click. Find the Google AdWords keyword tool here: https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__c=1000000000&__u=1000000000&__o=kt&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_STATS#search.none
- Only use the “Broad” match type when the keyword is very specific to your industry. If you run a dog grooming business in Delaware, broad matches for generic keywords like “dog” or “Delaware” will result in you paying to advertise on searches like “hot dog” or “What is the population of Delaware?”
- Always round down your daily budget, because both Google and Microsoft’s advertising platforms have been known to exceed a set daily budget by up to $10.
- You can spy on your competitors’ online advertising activity at sites like www.keywordspy.com and see if they are taking advantage of keywords you hadn’t thought of.
Useful Sites and Tools Related to Online Advertising:
Google AdWords Main Page: www.adwords.google.com
Facebook Ads Main Page: www.facebook.com/advertising
Keyword Spy: www.keywordspy.com
DMOZ free directory: www.dmoz.org
Business.com Paid directory: www.business.com
Alexa Site Statistics: www.alexa.com
Warrior Internet Marketing Forums: www.warriorforum.com