Introduction to Online Advertising

Our next lesson covers the main items for online advertising. Advertising is probably the most important promotion tool for big brick-and-mortar companies. However, with a SEM businesses, advertising is only a supporting factor. The problem is that the majority of SEM businesses lack the scale to be able to effectively contact large numbers of prospects and clients. Furthermore, there aren’t many places on the Web where prospective clients come in flocks. Therefore, advertising is largely PPC-oriented.

Actually, online advertising is advertising on the Internet. This particular form of advertising is a source of revenue for an increasing number of websites and companies.

A significant number of firms, from small businesses to multinational corporations, incorporate online advertising into their marketing strategy. Online advertisements typically involve at least two separate firms: the advertiser or agency which purchases or sponsors the advertisement and the publisher or network which distributes the ad for display. Because of the close relationship between technical innovation and online advertising, many firms specialize in both. For example, most search engines couple their search service with an advertising program, exploiting the benefits of keyword-based search technology by including ads in search results.

Let’s look closer on the most popular online advertising form as traditional banner. PPC advertising form will be explained in details in 8 lessons of our next Step.

Traditional Banner

A Web banner or banner ad is a widely used form of advertising on the Internet. This kind of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a Web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking them to the advertiser’s website.

Generally the advertisement is constructed from an image (GIF, JPEG, PNG), JavaScript program or multimedia object employing technologies such as Java, Shockwave or Flash, and often employing animation or sound to maximize presence. Images are usually in a high-aspect ratio shape. Banners are usually placed on Web pages that have interesting content, such as a newspaper article or an opinion piece.

The Web banner is displayed when a Web page that references the banner is loaded into a Web browser. This event is known as an “impression“. When the viewer clicks on the banner, the viewer is directed to the website advertised in the banner. This event is known as a “click-through”. Many banner ads work on a click-through payback system.

At the base of a click-through system are mathematical calculations of the number of users (users clicking on an ad) divided by impression number. We remember that the term impression means the number of times the ad was delivered. For example, if your banner ad was delivered 100 times (impressions delivered) and 1 person clicked on it (clicks recorded), then the resulting CTR would be 1%.

It should be noted that banner ad click-through rates have fallen over time, often measuring significantly less than 1% and choice of an appropriate advertising site with high affinity is very important crucial factor in this situation. Personalized ads, unusual formats, and more obtrusive ads typically have higher click-through rates than standard banner ads.

When the advertiser scans their log files and detects that a Web user has visited the advertiser’s site from the content site by clicking on the banner ad, the advertiser sends the content provider a small amount of money (usually around five to ten US cents). This payback system is often how the content provider is able to pay for the Internet access to supply the content in the first place.

Nine Common Banner Ad Mistakes to Avoid

Banner advertising expert Rob Frankel advises e-marketers to avoid the following mistakes when creating their banner ads:

  1. Overloaded. Too many colors. Too slow to load. Too hard to read. Nobody wants to grow old waiting for your banner ad to load. Frankel advises designing banner ads that will load and view easily with last year’s technology. “Personally, I design pages for people running no more than Netscape 2.0 on the equivalent of a 486 running at 66 MHz and 256 colors,” says Frankel. “That means your art should still be no deeper than eight bits, unless you’re a true minimalist and can bring it in at no more than four.”
  2. Unattractive. People like good-looking stuff. What works for Cindy Crawford can work for you, too. So if you’re not a digital Da Vinci, find someone who is and pay him or her a few bucks to make your banner look great.
  3. Too many bells and whistles. Just because technology offers you bells and whistles doesn’t mean you have to use every one of them. Chances are that the average Web surfer has been through several sites before he or she gets to your banner. Give the reader a break. Don’t overdo motion, movement, or message changes. And allow some time to digest what you’re displaying.
  4. Illiteracy and illegibility. These are the ads that make you scrunch up your face and twist your head trying to make some sense out of the illegible scrawls that some knucklehead thinks are cool. But prospects don’t care how cool you think it looks. If they can’t read it, you’ve lost any chance of their clicking on it.
  5. Missing link. Your banner looks great but isn’t linked to anything. That’s a mistake that anyone should be able to detect and prevent with a simple check.
  6. Link errors. Your banner looks great. The link works… directly to a 404 message (meaning the requested Web page was not found). Maybe this one isn’t your fault. Maybe your webmaster inadvertently forgot to tell you he or she switched servers. But even if it was the webmaster’s fault, who do you think will catch the blame? Keep checking those banner links every few days.
  7. Weak message. The same things that make good ads make good banners. Unfortunately, the same things that make bad ads make horrible banners. If you don’t know how to write and design a clever, compelling message, hire someone who does. Nothing turns off poten­tial prospects more than a really stupid attempt at being clever, an offense usually committed with the aid of a bad pun. Remember that your ad is a representative of you, containing a smattering of your personality and ability. If it looks dopey to a viewer, guess what they’re going to think about you? It’s better to be clear than clever.
  8. Confusing message. Your banner looks pretty, but nobody understands what the heck you’re talking about. This is the number-one mistake made by do-it-yourselfers.
  9. Boring banners. One common mistake is that your banner doesn’t compel your recipients to respond within a certain time frame. Without a deadline, there is no immediacy to act, which means they scroll away until they forget it.

Web banners function the same way as traditional advertisements are intended to function: notifying consumers of the product or service and presenting reasons why the consumer should choose the product in question, although Web banners differ in that the results for advertisement campaigns may be monitored real-time and may be targeted to the viewer’s interests.

The evidence shows that Web banner ads are restricted by high cost and limited physical banner area. Let’s look at the Marketplace section of SearchEngineWatch.com:

Out of 10 advertisers only 3 are in the SEM services business. These companies – BruceClay, KeywordRanking and MoreVisibility – are the largest players in the industry; they have enough wherewithal to run these ads and enough resources to satisfy a large flow of traffic.

Pay per click advertising

Pay per click or PPC advertising is an arrangement in which webmasters (operators of websites), acting as publishers, display clickable links from advertisers, in exchange for a charge per click. As this industry evolved, a number of advertising networks developed which acted as middlemen between these two groups (publishers and advertisers). Each time a (believed to be) valid Web user clicks on an ad, the advertiser pays the advertising network, who in turn pays the publisher a share of this money. This revenue sharing system is seen as an incentive for click fraud.

Though many companies offer pay per click system as one of their services. Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture) and MSN AdCenter are top players in this field.

As far as PPC advertising is the first advertising option for any new on-line businesses it became one of the dominant and widely used marketing tools.

What you should remember:

  1. A Web banner is displayed when a Web page that references the banner is loaded into a Web browser. This event is known as an “impression”. When the viewer clicks on the banner, the viewer is directed to the website advertised in the banner. This event is known as a “click-through”.
  2. Banners should be placed on Web pages that have interesting content, such as a newspaper article or an opinion piece.

The Forgotten Advertising Medium

Too often those of us that own an online business forget that there’s another  advertising  medium that business owners have been using for years, with excellent results.

That medium is Newspaper  Advertising . Any online business owner that is not using the option of  advertising  in newspapers is losing potentially thousands of dollars per year.

Although print newspapers have lost some of their readership to online news sources there are still millions of homes in America that still buy newspapers, either by newsstands or home delivery.

Reading the newspaper is a habit for many families because there is something for everybody–sports, comics, crosswords, the food section, classifieds, etc. You can reach certain types of people by placing your ad in different sections of the paper that would appeal to your target market. People expect  advertising  in the newspaper. In fact, many people buy the paper just to read the ads from the supermarket, movies or department stores.

As you look through your newspaper, you’ll notice some businesses that advertise regularly. Observe who they are and how they advertise their products and services. More than likely, their  advertising  investment is working if they continue to place ads.

There are many advantages to  advertising  in the newspaper. From the advertiser’s point-of-view, newspaper  advertising  can be convenient because production changes can be made quickly, if necessary, and you can often insert a new advertisement on short notice. Another advantage is the large variety of ad sizes newspaper  advertising  offers. Even though you may not have a lot of money in your budget, you can still place a series of small ads, without making a sacrifice.

Before placing an ad in your town’s daily newspaper you may want to place a few test ads in the local papers that publish less often and are not as expensive, like the Penny Pincher or American Classifieds (formerly Thrifty Nickel). If you get a good response to your ad in the smaller publications, chances are they will pull well in the larger more well-known papers. If your response is not what you were hoping for try rewriting the ad and placing it again. Since the rate is less expensive for the smaller local publications you should be able to do this as often as needed until you get the response you were expecting.

Some things to know about newspaper  advertising :

1. Newspaper circulation drops on Saturdays and increases on Sundays, which is also the day newspapers are read most thoroughly.

2. Position is important, so specify in what section you want your ad to appear. Sometimes there’s a surcharge for exact position… but don’t be afraid to pay for it if you need it.

3. Request an outside position for ads that have coupons. That makes them easier to cut out.

4. If a newspaper is delivered twice daily (morning/evening), it often offers “combination” rates or discounts for  advertising  in both papers. You usually can reach more readers, so this kind of  advertising  may be something to consider.

Other important tips to remember are:

* Before you advertise, have in mind a definite plan for what it is you want to sell.

* Create short, descriptive copy for your ad. Include prices if applicable. Consider using a copywriter or ask your newspaper for free copy assistance.

* Face your products toward the inside of the ad. If the product you want to use faces right, change your copy layout to the left.

* Be sure to include your company name and logo, address, telephone number and website url in the ad.

* Neat, uncluttered and orderly ads encourage readership. Don’t try to crowd everything you can in the layout. If the newspaper helps you with the layout, be sure to request a proof of the final version so you can approve it or make changes before it is printed.

* Always make sure you are satisfied with what your  advertising  says and how it looks before it goes to print.

Mobile Advertising – Integral Part of Any Marketing Campaign

Mobile advertising is advertising through mobile phones or other devices like iPad. An integral part of any advertising campaign, mobile advertising is fast gaining popularity due to its quick, wider reach and its potential to track the effectiveness of a campaign. As the number of mobile users across the world continues to surge (studies show that the trend is likely to continue for several years), mobile media is evolving rapidly. Apart from simple mobile phones, smart phones based on Wi Fi or Wimax have also emerged as a popular means of promoting products and sending out social messages.

Forms of Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising is done in several forms but the most common one is banner ads of varied sizes. Mobile web banner or web poster ads appear on the top of a page or bottom of a mobile screen. Another very popular form of mobile ads is the SMS advertising which contributes significantly to the global mobile marketing revenues. Other forms of cell phone advertising include MMS advertising, advertising within mobile games, videos or in-application ads which appear when an application is being loaded or before it is loaded. Another advantage of this mode of advertising is that its effectiveness can be measured in a variety of ways, such as on the basis of number of view and clicks. A recent introduction is interactive ads, which allows mobile users to interact with the advertiser.

Importance of Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising is likely to emerge as the necessary driver for the development and commercialization of the mobile internet. It is an important tool for monetizing mobile content and applications. However, an effective cell phone advertising campaign can only be developed if the mobile phone operators, handset vendors, content providers, application developers and advertisers collaborate effectively. So, it must be taken up while taking into consideration the variety of handsets available in the market, their different screen sizes and support technologies.

The high potential of cell phone ad has seen a proliferation of advertising networks that provide the necessary infrastructure for developing mobile ads of various types that suit the specifications and requirements of advertisers. These companies provide their clients with a Software Development Kit or SDK to include mobile ads in the applications for a mobile phone.

Radio Advertising Commandments – Part 1

In my last article “Local  Advertising  – The Biggest Mistakes” we took a look at the major media available for local advertisers to market their products. To follow up, I’d like to discuss the many uses of Radio. Sort of the 10 Commandments Of Radio  Advertising . This will take up several pages, for sure, so I’ll start by asking the most obvious radio questions.

Q: How do I know if radio will work for me & why should I use radio?

A: I usually have gotten these questions when a client is afraid & can’t stomach the idea of paying for an Advertisement that they can’t physically hold on to. In other words, they think that if they can’t SEE their Ad, then no one else can. They seem to have a hard time believing that a disembodied radio voice can move people to buy their product.

Yes, it’s probably true that most advertisers get their feet wet with print  advertising . Your typical print advertiser will place an Ad in a local weekly or daily newspaper and bingo, the next day – traffic. The results can be quite immediate.

Radio is a different animal and although it can work as effectively as print, it can be equally disappointing to a seasoned print advertiser.

Local radio  advertising  can turn off a new advertiser who expects immediate results, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 10 reasons why “immediate results” are hard to come by:

1) the spots were not aggressive enough

2) the offer was not strong enough

3) there was not enough weight (number of spots) booked

4) the wrong local radio station was used to reach the desired market

5) not enough radio stations were booked

6) only radio was used

7) spots were poorly placed throughout the day

8) the production was poorly executed or the wrong announcer used

9) timing of the campaign was off

10) the new client had no name recognition

This brings me to Commandment #1

Don’t Underestimate The Power of Radio.

The voice is a wonderful thing.

Used properly, it can move you to tears, unleash a fury of anger, sooth both physical and mental pain, irritate you like chalk on a blackboard, hypnotize you into the most embarrassing behaviour, fire you up & motivate you to accomplish the most daunting tasks, fire up a nation to battle, seduce the most cold-hearted soul and yes, it can certainly convince you to happily part with your money.

In fact, the people who make radio production their livelyhood, are paid quite handsomely to get you to do things that are not on your priority list.

Ever listen to a movie trailer? Listen to the announcer. His job is to get you to see that movie. Whether you realize it or not, the impact of that voice lasts longer than you may be aware of.

You may remember the visuals, but it is the EMOTIONAL AUDIO IMPRINT that leaves you with a “I’ve got to see this when it comes out!” memory.

It is the same subliminal effect that radio can create.

The problem faced, is that most radio production quality can often be sub-standard.

Let’s face it – the radio station copywriters are under the gun to write & produce dozens of spots a day & there just isn’t enough time to write super creative & dynamic commercials. Even if the copywriter can squeeze out something really hot, there is often a lack of voice-over talent to make it happen. Let’s not talk about the studio engineer’s backlog!

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have an effective radio spot come out of a radio station. It just means that to make it more effective, you may have to go to a third party production house to get your spots professionaly produced.

This brings me to Radio Commandment #2

Get The Best Creative Production Possible

Why do you want the best creative possible? Well, there are several reasons.

1) it makes your  advertising  more effective

2) the cost of your campaign can actually be lower if more people respond to a better commercial, as fewer spots are necessary to make the same impact

3) better creative is more memorable.

4) strong creativity entertains and sells at the same time

5) powerful creative radio spots get people talking about the spot & consequently the product

“OK,” you’re saying, “but this sounds like it’s going to cost a fortune!”

Nothing could be further from the truth. What will cost you a fortune, is a radio  advertising  campaign that falls flat because the production was not up to scratch!

Remember,  advertising  is an investment if you eventually get back more than you paid. It’s a fortune if you don’t get back anything!

In order to make sure that there’s a payback, I highly recommend you look at all the variables and creative production is high on the list!

This brings me to Radio Commandment #3

Develop A Strategy & Stick With It

There are many ways to use radio. Short campaigns, long campaigns, image building, promotions, product launches etc.

The first thing to be aware of is that new advertisers have to develop name recognition with a station’s audience. This isn’t as important for long time advertisers who have used other media, but it is crucial for first-timers.

Well known advertisers are seen as reliable and trustworthy. The longer you advertise, the more favour you win with listeners. It is like money in the bank.

I advise all new advertisers to start with an introduction campaign to highlight who they are, what their product is and the benefits of shopping at their store.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t break the rules and have a grand opening with a fantastic door crasher special. Certainly that will work. But ideally, the best results for that type of scenario come when a “teaser campaign” precedes the grand opening.

Let me state that much of the advice offered here is what I believe to be the “safe route” to effective radio  advertising . Even under less optimal conditions, radio can be quite effective!

What you want to do, however, is not succeed by throwing tons of money into your  advertising , but rather cover all the essentials so that you have an effective and cost efficient campaign.

Good planning can go a long way.

In my next article I’ll continue with commandment #4

Use The Right Music Bed

Measuring Advertising Success

A comment usually attributed to Lord Leverhulme went something like, “I know that half of my marketing spend is wasted, but I’m not sure which half.”

Whether they know it or not, this is this situation most companies are in today, I would go further and say 80% of your prospects come from 20% of your marketing but which 20%? Leverhulme didn’t have the advantage of the Internet back in the 20s but you now have some big advantages.

Imagine being able to cut out the wasted spend and do more of what is working! It isn’t difficult it just needs a simple database, better use of your web site and maybe a little planning.

Whether it is paying £20 per month to put a business card in the local store, a yellow pages advert or a piece in the local/national press; you need to know whether it is worth doing. When it comes to more expensive  advertising  then you really need to know how many leads you are getting for your money and how many of those are converting to sales. If you use pay-per-click and have multiple adverts running then maybe we can show you how to track the exact success of each one.

If the ‘Call To Action’ of your  advertising  is to call you then you need to ask where people found your details or have a separate number for each campaign if that is practical for you. You need to do this every time and you need to record the results. Whether on paper or on computer you need to track every prospect:

  • Name
  • Contact details
  • Product/service they are interested in
  • Likely buying timescale
  • Where they heard about you
  • Core product/service bought
  • What additional products/services have they been offer

That is the bare minimum and you will have to add to this for your own business purposes but without this core data you are doomed to continue wasting a large portion of your marketing budget.

If you have a web site then you can get clever. If you don’t have a web site then go get one, now! Seriously, you can have a web site for around £20 plus the time and effort of setting it up. There is enough information freely available to allow you to create a compelling web experience for your customers and get the message out there that you exist. If you know nothing about the internet and can’t afford to get a third party to do the development for you then choose a web host that offers one of the easy web creators.

Every piece of  advertising  you do will have a web site address (URL) on it so that people can go to your web site to find out more about what you have to offer. The vast majority of companies drive people to their home page and in doing so most of them lose valuable information on where the visitor came from. If you are getting links to your site from other places on the internet then it is possible to include information in those links to track where they came from. If you don’t have the knowledge to do this then simple create a new web page for each advert and have people reading that advert go to that unique page.

After a while you can see through your web statistics how many people arrive at these unique pages. An easy way of judging the success rates of all your  advertising . Go back and read that part again and then make a note to do it. This is a free way of measuring marketing success and one of the easiest to implement. It is more than that though, it allows you to customize each landing page to the advert that brought people in, it allows you to test different landing pages to see which ones give the best conversion rates. Never forget the bottom line, you are trying to get people to spend their money in your direction.

Then you can stop paying for the adverts that are not bringing in visitors, adjust the ones where the conversion rates are low and do more like the ones that are working for you.

Advertising Humor – Smart Advertising Choice?

The big sin in advertising and marketing is being boring. A market will forgive almost anything else. But a boring sales letter, commercial, or video will generate absolutely no interest in your product. The advertisement must be interesting to the prospect. Not interesting in general, but to that prospect.

Most small business advertisers who are putting together an ad, think of trying to be funny as their first priority. This is because many think of advertising as a form of entertainment. Advertising isn’t entertainment, it is selling. Making someone laugh when they see your ad, may make you feel better, and it feels like the ad should be working, but this isn’t the case.

You do not want to hear “Wow, I saw your ad. How clever (or how funny).” You want people to see your ad and then want to buy the product it is showcasing.

Is humor ever effective in your advertising? Sure. A viral video should be either very funny or very shocking. This will cause the video to be spread to all corners of the internet. You may even make some sales off of that video. Humor also has a place in advertising because to tends to stick in the mind of the consumer. Humor in advertising makes the company seem a little more “cool” because if the humor. But the humor should never get in the way of the appeal of the ad, which is to make someone want to buy the product advertised.

Advertisers should always put Selling first in their ads. After there is a strong appeal in the ad, then you can think of ways to say it in a funnier way. But never let humor get in the way of the selling.

Here is the danger of using humor in your ads. Some people may simply not get the joke. If they don’t get the joke, the ad will actually irritate them, because they won’t understand your point.

You may actually offend a few people. The humor, if really funny will direct the consumer’s attention to how funny the ad is, not how great your product is.

A funny and dramatic demonstration of your product, that really drives home a buying benefit, is useful because now they are talking about the demonstration, which is the same as talking about your product. See? You want them taking about your product, not the commercial.

What is almost universally useful in your broadcast ads, is smiling, friendly faces. They don’t have to be funny, but just happy. The prospect assumes they are happy because they are using the product. In print, it’s harder to be funny anyway, so you are trying harder to be funny, which doesn’t translate well to print. In print, ads should always try to sell, not be funny.

You can be interesting without going for a laugh. Do you know what prospective customers find interesting? Anything that will make their life easier, or will solve a problem that is bothering them. That’s what they find interesting. And not being interesting is the major sin in advertising.

Do you see the title of this article? Originally it was going to be Advertising Humor: It’s No Joke. Do you know why I changed it? Even though it is a semi-clever play on words, it wouldn’t make you want to read the article as much as the title I used. See the difference?

Strategic Advertising for Real Estate Agents

“99% of  advertising  doesn’t sell a thing.”

Sounds like something a local real estate agent might say after paying for yet another ad that didn’t produce, right?

You might be surprised to learn that the quote actually belongs to David Ogilvy, legendary founder of one of the world’s largest and most successful  advertising  agencies.

Yikes – if a man regarded as a giant in the ad industry is so negative about  advertising’s  success rate, how should you feel?

The Bad News is the Good News…

There is an upside here. If so much of the  advertising  in your local market is ineffective, you can gain a significant edge on your competition by having a better local  advertising  strategy than other agents.

 Advertising  vs.  Advertising  Strategy

Notice that I said a better  advertising  STRATEGY, not simply better  advertising . There’s a big difference.

A better ad might get you a few more leads in the short term. A better  advertising  strategy can help you to have a consistent, meaningful message in your  advertising , and will position you to get more business from your local market on an ongoing basis.

With that in mind, here are three tips to help you define your  advertising  strategy, and put it into action:

1) Have a Strategic Objective In Mind BEFORE you Advertise

 Advertising  for the sake of “building awareness” is probably the fastest way to flush your  advertising  dollars away.

Before you even think about buying an ad, you must have a strategic objective in mind – after all, why should you pay for any type of ad unless it helps you to reach your objective.

Here are just a few questions that you might ask yourself before placing an ad to help define what you want your  advertising  strategy to do for you:

– If I could be known for just one thing in my local market, what would it be?

– Which part of the local real estate market is not currently well serviced by other agents? Is there potential in this neighborhood/age group/demographic profile?

– Which part of the local market is emerging and might be a driving force for sales in future years?

– What’s changing in my market right now – immigration, aging population, young families moving in, etc – and how do I capitalize on the change more effectively than my competitors?

If you can answer even some of these questions, you will probably be on your way to identifying the basis for an  advertising  strategy.

For example, you may determine that based on trends and current prices, your market will become increasingly popular with first time homebuyers. As a result, your strategic objective may be to use your  advertising  to become recognized as the local expert in serving first time homebuyers.

2) Have a Specific Objective for Each Ad you Place within your Strategy

With a clear objective as part of your  advertising  strategy, you can now think about investing in ads that support your objective.

Here’s a tip – you can create  advertising  that generates an immediate response while also serving to build your brand in a particular market.

Continuing with the above example, if you ran a series of ads in the local newspaper offering a free “First-Time Homebuyers Report” available from your website, you would actually be running a direct response ad (aimed at getting people to download the report) that also delivered a brand building message (the message being that you are the agent for first time homebuyers to call because you are the expert in that field).

You can measure the success of the ad by looking at the number of downloads from your site while the ad was running – since generating downloads was the specific objective of the ad. If the ads don’t generate enough downloads to justify the cost, pull them or change them. Ads are only valuable if they get you closer to achieving your strategic objective.

3) Be Consistent

All of your  advertising  (online, print, directory, flyers, etc) should be similar in both style and substance within your  advertising  strategy.

Yes, a consistent look and style for your ads is important to help you get recognized in a competitive market.

But even more important is being consistent when it comes to the messages in your ads. You can’t buy a Yellow Pages ad that promotes you as the leader in client service, and then advertise your “low low price” in the local newspaper, and then distribute flyers that try to promote you as the family real estate expert.

Your messages can’t conflict! Again, here’s where an  advertising  strategy comes in. With a strategic objective in mind for your  advertising , you will be able to focus your  advertising  dollars on communicating a single, clear message to potential clients about why they should call you.

An  Advertising  Strategy is Critical to your Success

If Mr. Ogilvy was right, then most of the advertisers out there in your real estate market are getting it wrong. This creates a huge opportunity for you to use an  advertising  strategy to drive business and outdo your competitors.

– Have a Strategic Objective for all of your  Advertising  – Know what you want to say about your business, and who you want to say it to within your local market.

– Have an Objective for Each Ad – Measure each ad’s results against the strategic objective you are trying to achieve – if you don’t, how will you know if the ads were successful or not?

– Be Consistent – Make sure all of your ads are focused on helping you reach your strategic objective by communicating a clear message to the market.

 Advertising  can be a tough game, but so can real estate. And in both cases, those with a well thought out strategy will almost always succeed over those that don’t have a plan.

Before You Advertise Know the Facts! Offline Advertising Vs Online Advertising

What forms of  advertising  are available to you in Cookeville? Should you advertise your local business Offline or Online? You can better decide that once you understand the buying process a person goes through before spending money on a service or a product. It could take days, even years for a person to go through this process.

Understanding this journey will assist you in determining what  advertising  methods would work best in spreading your message. We will be discussing reach and estimated cost between traditional offline  advertising  and Online Pay-Per-Click  Advertising .

Typical Consumer Buying Process:

Most all consumers have the same pre-defined actions before buying Anything! Listed below are the purchasing steps people like you and I unknowingly use.

  • Potential customers become aware that they have a need, want or problem
  • They gather information about the product, service or solution that could possibly fix their problem
  • They ask their friends opinions, read customer reviews & consumer reports, watch videos and the list of fact-finding research methods goes on

Only then, when people have gathered this information, do they feel comfortable enough to make a buying decision. The information gathering phase accounts for roughly 95% of a client’s buying process. This leaves only 5% of customers ready to buy at any given time.

What does this have to do with  advertising  in Cookeville?

Simply put, the buying process is common to all potential customers. When you advertise your business in Cookeville or your Cookeville business to potential clients in Nashville or Knoxville, you must understand who your message will reach and when. Telling the world about your business is only effective if it produces a return on investment, Right? In order to produce result oriented  advertising  you must inform shoppers and provide buyers with exactly what they are looking for, giving them incentive to buy.

Offline  Advertising 

Advertisers in Cookeville can choose Offline  Advertising  in the forms of radio, TV, newspapers or other publications and billboards. Average monthly cost for these services when opting in for minimum exposure can cost you an estimated $20-$35 a day. That translates into an average of $825mo or $9900 a year.

These forms of  advertising  can take your message into Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Constant exposure can brand your business by “keeping your name out there” in the community to shoppers and attract potential buyers along the way.

How it Works

Essentially it comes down to exposing a message or multiple messages to the people who read a particular paper or publication, use a common street, listen to the radio or watch TV in a predefined area or location. The goal here is to advertise to the majority and hope you catch some buyers along the way. In theory you are only  advertising  to 5% of the population for direct response.

Now, I understand, you are  advertising  to everyone in your chosen area, but only five percent of the given population will be ready to buy today. It is important that you position your ads in order to market to the all the potential customers that may come in contact with your  advertising .

It is best to provide an informational message that speaks directly to the 95% of people who are gathering information about the products or services you offer. You will also want to provide your viewers or listeners an alternative message driven towards direct sales in order to support the cost of your  advertising . This increases your exposure, branding your business by informing shoppers and giving buyers what they are looking for with good reason to complete their buying process.

If you are a small business trying to grow, you will most likely want to keep your message focused towards the 5% of the people on the verge of buying. Dealing with smaller budgets requires you to increase you odds for making sales and money immediately from your  advertising . Although it will cost more than the estimate above, it is always a good idea to multiply these messages on different  advertising  platforms, including online  advertising  for maximum results.

As with most  advertising , the more you spend, the more people your message is exposed to, the more your chances increase for making sales along the way.

Online  Advertising 

Advertisers in Cookeville who choose Online  Advertising  can advertise on major Search Engines, Social Media sites and on literally hundreds of thousands of websites relevant to your business. Average monthly cost for professionally managed online  advertising  when opting in for minimum exposure will cost you an estimated $16 a day or $492mo or $5899 a year.

Don’t have a website? You don’t need one! Unless you intend to build your online presence for sales and branding together, then you will need a professional website. A fully customized, search engine optimized website will run you an estimated $1000. This is the real deal. Add that to the total cost and you are looking at $19 a day or $575mo or $6899 a year.

Online  advertising  does exactly the same thing as above, plus so much more. You can take your message to Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Online  advertising  also gives you the ability to advertise your business to multiple cities of choice or entire states across the US. You can even take your business  advertising  global if you so desire. That’s not all, you can also add multiple ads or  advertising  messages whenever you want and target your customers with keyword terms so the right message is reaching the appropriate clients.

How it Works

Online  advertising  is most commonly implemented through one of many pay-per-click (PPC) programs. These programs are offered by the worlds largest search engines or websites. Google by far being the leader, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook are a few you can probably relate too. With the one time account setup, you essentially tell the PPC provider who, when, where and what.

For Example: Let’s say you own a lawn equipment business and you sell weedeaters, lawn mowers and leaf blowers. With pay-per-click you target customers by using targeted keyword searches producing as many ads as needed to get your message(s) out to the right people.

You start by building one ad for lawn mowers that will target anybody searching online for the key terms – JD ZX9 Super Model, zero turn lawn mowers and lawnmower shops near Cookeville. By doing this you target the 5% of buyers who are looking to buy a commercial lawn mower close to Cookeville. Next you place another ad about lawn mowers but this time you target customers looking for service. So your ad reads, “Get Your Lawn Mower Ready for Spring – Blade Sharpening to Full Service – Call Now for More Information.” You set it up so only people searching for the key terms – Lawn mower service, lawn mower blade sharpening and lawn equipment service see it. This ensures your getting the right message to the right people 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The cycle can go on and on to target weedeaters and leaf blowers as well. Before running these ads in what we call ‘Traffic’ you also tell your PPC provider to do a few other things as well. Things like only spend $250 a month or $8.30 a day, only show my ads to people searching for these exact terms and only show my ads to people within a ten mile radius of Cookeville, Crossville and Smithville. You have complete control over your  advertising .

Drill down further and place ads like “Bob’s Lawn Shop – Lawn Mowers, Leaf Blowers & Weedeaters – 10% off Service During May” and place these ads on many other relevant websites. For instance, I send you an email asking you if you know of a place that sharpens lawn mower blades. You reply with a no, but because the conversation is relevant, your ad is showing on the side of the page and catches my attention. Or, perhaps, your target customer is looking on Lowe’s website at zero turn mowers and he spots your ad (like a billboard) on the side of the page and clicks through to your website. You could even set it up where they simply click the ad to call your business immediately from there mobile phone because you provide what they need today, locally. This is a great way to catch shoppers nearing their final buying decision through mass marketing. Keep in mind, there are no additional cost.

The Biggest difference with online  advertising  is you only pay when someone visits your website “Internet Store Front” or takes action from your advertisement. By targeting pre-qualified customers where they live (home, work, cell phone) at exactly the time they are looking for your businesses service, product, location or solution, you increase your chances of return on investment. This takes the “Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” aspect out as well because you choose who sees your ad, when they see it and what information they get when they take action. The best part is you can collect data by tracking conversions and begin to filter out what doesn’t work and build upon the target markets that are producing revenue for your business.

With 91 million searches a day on Google alone, people are looking for your business by way of the internet. When is the last time you cut out a newspaper ad, pulled over to write down a number or hunted up a phone book?

 Advertising  Comparison

-Offline  Advertising 

Pros:

  • Reaches local customers with option of running multiple messages
  • Targets customers throughout the buying process
  • Brands your business image in your selected viewing area

Cons:

  • Short ad exposure times
  • Unable to target any deeper than location or interests
  • No precise way to track results or effectiveness

Estimated Cost: $825 a month

-Online  Advertising 

Pros:

  • Only pay when someone acts upon your  advertising  message
  • Target pre-qualified customers with specific ads for sales and branding anywhere in the world
  • Capability of tracking data, optimizing to eliminate non productive  advertising  thereby producing increased results over time
  • Ability to pause, change or adjust your  advertising  any time day or night without any contracts

Cons:

  • A professional website is crucial for long term advertisers
  • Complex. Needs professional management for best results
  • Setup takes 2-3 weeks

Estimated Cost: $575 a month

Advertisers from the Middle Tennessee area have some very good choices for  advertising  there local business to the people of Cookeville. You know your business and hopefully this information will give you better insight on not only how you can advertise your business but also what cost will typically be involved.

Feel free to research this subject more at your own leisure. You can find information through the internet from advertisers websites, additional articles and even forums/blogs describing peoples own unique experience with offline and online  advertising .

View pay-per-click packages and pricing

Advertising Effectiveness Trends, a Small Survey

In the day to day running of my business, I am discussing marketing strategies with business owners and marketing managers on a daily basis. If you can earn their trust, then they will be very candid with you, especially if you can help them without trying to sell them something.

What resulted from this were some startling admissions that I did not expect. This had me thinking, it can cost an awful lot, especially for the small to medium business owner, to spend money on good market research. So I wondered what the results would look like after a few months if I were to record the marketing success and failure stories after each visit.

I broke this down into respective industries to give more meaning to the results, and also, if available, lend the reasons to these successes and failures. Now I have decided that three month periods will do for data collection as years of research in marketing becomes outdated by the time it is published in the forever increasing and changing monster that is the modern market place. Always ensure research is current and relevant.

Although some of you may want to see raw data, a summary of my finding is all I am going to share in this article sorry! Please take into account that the sample number is in the hundreds, but certainly not in the thousands. The value of this research comes from the honesty of small to medium sized business owners, and the fact they have usually spent the time to talk about these things in detail.

Here are some general trends that I have found;

o Newspaper and radio advertising return on investment continues to decline rapidly.

o The second most effective form of advertising was word of mouth referrals.

o The most effective form tended to be anything unique, e.g. logo and advertisement placement in unexpected places.

o Advertising on product giveaways tends to have a life span of one week, i.e. a company logo on a free pen typically brings in no new revenue one week after it has been given away.

o Advertising discounts were not as effective at getting people through the door as advertising something new.

o Customer loyalty increased with free giveaways, but not so much with advertised discounts.

o Most business owners were dissatisfied with the follow up frequency of advertising sales reps, i.e. after an initial advertising campaign, contact is not made until after an unacceptable length of time.

To bring relevance to these results, one must take into account that this is a small city (about 122,000) and has a large rural support base in outlying areas. These trends show that a need to provide innovative and well maintained advertising service is apparent in this city. Perhaps this is the same elsewhere.

There were some other interesting facts, but these seven findings had the most valid results statistically. If in the future, some other trends become overwhelmingly evident, then I will revise this article.

Will You Help Me With Advertising?

With consumers increasingly tuning out of mainstream media channels and tuning into their iPods, mobile phones and social networks instead, most advertising is going to a dead letter office. At the same time, consumerism continues to flourish. Advertising is for awareness – not credibility. I’ve never said that advertising will go away – it won’t. Despite all the innovation, traditional brand advertising is not about to go away. These companies are successful brand builders, but they would be hard pressed to achieve elite brand status solely on the marketing strength of Google text ads and “buzz” conversations.

It will change many of the rules of what we think advertising is, what marketing is, and what design is. But the purpose of advertising is to expand the customer base by informing more people of the product’s existence and virtues. The more consumers a company attracts to its product, the more it sells. Although interactive advertising is included in the various revenue categories, total online revenue increased by roughly 11% to $3.7 million last year.

Pixel Advertising is the term given to visual advertisements on the web which have their cost calculated dependent on the number of pixels which they occupy. Pixel advertising gained popularity in the last quarter of 2005 when British student Alex Tew created a web site named The Million Dollar Homepage, and solicited advertisers to buy ad space measured in pixels on the homepage. Google’s foray into television advertising is an important test of whether the Internet giant can use its wildly successful system of search advertising in the biggest of media channels. While it is pursuing efforts in print and radio, TV represents the company’s biggest hurdle to achieving its goal of building a broad platform for advertisers to run targeted ad campaigns, continuously changed based on metrics, across all forms of media. The public secret today in online advertising is that PPC based advertising is saturated. Banners are sliding into the land of irrelevance.

While paid advertising is often one small component of a public relations campaign, the most powerful public relations influence is where the connection between the sponsor and the messenger is invisible. This period of American advertising is called the Creative Revolution and its poster boy was Bill Bernbach who helped create the revolutionary Volkswagen ads among others. Some of the most creative and long-standing American advertising dates to this incredibly creative period. The empirical results suggest that if advertising is perceived by producers to be a variable cost then in both provinces producer groups are likely to be overinvesting in advertising.

Advertising is an inescapable part of life, a fact evident each time you turn on the television, drive past endless billboards or sit down to check your email. As a small business owner with a limited budget, you may be more sensitive to the ads surrounding you than most. It also tries to organize all the creative into categories but creative advertising is chaotic– it has never been a science or something easily organized. If you think there’s a formula then you’re wrong. Advertising is not targeted to individual users but may be placed on the site adjacent to content related to advertiser or sponsor interest. Advertising also appears in our weekly newsletter, Housecall.

Advertising is a free speech issue, or at least it ought to be. Because behind today’s anti-ad campaigning there lurks a degrading view of the public as fickle and easily bought off, who must be protected from certain words and imagery by better men and women.

To help create a better experience for users and help encourage users to create better, more focused ads that are more appealing to potential customers, the way ads are ranked changes periodically. By improving the quality of ads and making them more relevant to users, you may be rewarded with a better ranking and reduced cost.It all boils down to what you’re selling,audience, and where and when ads are displayed. Also many advertisers are attacking the market through various channels, and are getting increasingly sophisticated in how they market and measure success. Intrusive ads are bad content.

The best ads are those that are complimentary to the content and blend in with the content. If you look at how some bloggers make money through adsense, it reveals their strategy to monetize from their content. Revenue from the ads are split about 50-50.