By now, most people are familiar with the words “online advertising.” But you may be wondering:

  1. What online advertising tools exist?
  2. Which strategy is most beneficial for my company?

There are no set rules on how many online advertising mediums you need to successfully market your business.  Your proposition is unique, you may need to experiment, track and tweak to determine the perfect mix.

The tools listed below are all wonderful vehicles to project your message.  The tools combined with your messaging is what creates success in each medium.  When considering what mediums to use examine the communication tenancies of your target market.  Do they like to email or talk on the phone?  Are they often on Facebook?  Do they hate social media?  This can help you understand which tactics best fit your company. You may find that only one tool appeals to you or you may find all but one is right for your business.  Most often a mix of the following tactics using the content recycling method to share your message across multiple streams reaches to the broadest audience to yield success.

Email Marketing 1. Email Marketing

Email Marketing is a direct marketing tactic that sends a commercial message to a group of individuals via electronic mail. According to a 2013 study conducted by Marketing Sherpa, 60% of people who send out a marketing email will see a return on investment.

DO use email marketing if you have (or are building) a list of customers or subscribers to promote your businesses activities.

DON’T buy a list and start spamming people.  

2. Search Engine Marketing

Also known as SEM, search engine marketing is a form of advertising that promotes a website through search engine result pages.  Some SEM campaigns include paid advertisements such as AdWords displayed on search results pages on the top and to the right of the organic listings.  These ads can be targeted based on location, keyword, device in an effort to engage with your audience. Most search engines, such as Google, will only charge companies if people click on the ad and visit the website. This method is also known as pay-per-click. To measure the effectiveness of your SEO campaign, your business can turn to an SEO analytics program. For the most part, these services are free or minimally priced.

DO engage in SEM for a quick traffic boost.  It’s a sure way to drive traffic to your site in the short run with the least amount of effort.

DON’T set it and forget it.  Tracking ensures your investment in SEM is preforming well and paying off.  Lots of visitors does not automatically mean lots of business.

3. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a highly saught after type of SEM affecting the frequency or visibility of a website on a search engine result page.  SEO refers to where your page ranks organically with other listings.  Although you may pay a consultant for the service there is not fee incurred with the search engine, such as Google, for improved placement in search results due to SEO.

DO employ progressive SEO tactics and engage in SEM to drive traffic and new customers to your website.

DON’T use black hat techniques to boost your website quickly that can penalize your website in the long run.

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing, the process of marketing to your audience via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. This tactic not only creates awareness, but it also allows for possible consumers to share their thoughts and feelings about the product/service within their social network. According to a 2013 study conducted by LinkedIn, 80.4% of survey participants said that “it was important for CEOs to engage with customers on social channels,” and over half of the respondents stated that they, “believe social media engagement makes CEOs more effective leaders.”

DO create a social media plan to compliment your other online marketing efforts.

DO involve your whole staff in social media efforts.

DON’T allow staff to engage in social media without a clear expectation of what’s appropriate when promoting your company online.

DON’T expect users to engage just because you set up a profile.  Friends talk and social media is about building relationships through friendly exchange.

5. Display Advertising

This advertisement consists of text, logos, photographs, GIFs, and/or maps. An example of a display advertisement is a web banner. A web banner can be placed on various websites. As noted in a HubSpot article, display advertising is the least effective form of online advertising. According to their data, an average click-through rate for display ads is 0.1%. Despite these statistics, it’s important to note that display advertising has evolved to target individuals with ads based on previously visited websites, called remarketing, which could prove to be an effective response driven advertising tactic to continue engaging with visitors after they’ve left your website.

DO use display advertising as part of online mix to reach out to a targeted demographic.

DO NOT try to reach everyone using this medium, targeted ads are best, don’t waste your money talking to people who don’t care.

6. Blogging

Although blogging may not seem like an advertising tool at first consider the impact it has on driving visitors to your website.  A blog can create a reason for return visits and also connect with more people by creating more reasons for search engines to refer traffic to your site.

Guest blogging can also lend credibility to your business and drive traffic to your website.  Consider publishing content on a well read blog that appeals to your demographic.  This way you can connect with their readers to build your sphere of influence.

DO publish original blog content.

DO utilize the traffic from guest blogging to connect with new viewers.

DON’T expect blogging to be a short term solution, it’s a distance race, not a sprint .

DON’T leave your blog unattended, visitors may think you’ve closed up shop or are not reliable if you’re only posting two times a year.

 

No matter which forms of online advertising you choose, keep in mind that these advertising tools are only successful when properly paired with audience centered messaging.

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