3 Things to Know About Online Marketing

The other day, my wife was working online gathering some information for a project relating to her doctorate program. She happened to come across a particular website – crammed full with ads.

“I hate this! Why would anyone ever put their ad in a place like this?” she shouted. Though I make my living as a marketer, I had to agree, these ads weren’t cutting it.

I’m always troubled when small business owners spend time, effort and most important, money – only to be eluded by the results they desire online.

I’ve found that having a bit of online ad-knowledge can help guide a poorly performing campaign in the right direction.  Therefore, here are a few things you should know:

Pay For What You Get

If you decide to advertise your business via Google or other third party ad service, it is important to know about CPC ads.

CPC stands for cost per click.  This is generally a great way to advertise for those who are risk-adverse.  That’s because you only pay when someone clicks on your ad – eliminating the chance of paying for ads that no one sees. This means of online advertising is great if you’re looking for your audience to respond to a particular offer. The downside, however, is when some bored guy, sitting around in his underwear with nothing better to do, clicks on your ads as a means to pass time.

Pay For Credibility

Have you ever wondered why sponsors spend loads of money to have their company name featured in a place like a sports arena? Do they honestly think seeing an automaker’s logo plastered behind the bleachers will cause people to run out after the game to buy a car? Of course not.  Businesses use these high profile placements as a way to boost brand credibility and awareness.

The same can be true for your small business when using CPM advertising online. CPM stands for cost per mille (or thousand). This method allows you to bid on reaching people by the thousands. This form of advertising is really about getting in front of as many people as possible. The plus side of this method is found in the fact that there are no charges per click.  The downside of CPM marketing is that you can burn through money quite fast – never knowing if you’re truly raising your profile.

Cut the Middleman

Google is a great place to deploy your online ads. However, the sheer number and places where Google serves up ads can occasionally work against your business. I’ve gone to plenty of websites where the site owner overloads the page with ads. If your ads happen to be in the mix, who’s going to notice you?

I’d like to offer an alternative. Take some time and browse smaller sites that potentially have the audience you desire. Contact the site owner directly and make an offer to advertise there. This move will be especially brilliant if there are no existing ads on the site. It is very likely that offering a site owner $100 per month may come as a welcome surprise. Just be sure to do your homework and investigate the site’s traffic before making your offer. There are many “web traffic estimators” out there that will give you an objective peek into these figures.

Walter Dailey is a marketing speaker, consultant, and creative director for DSV Media, a creative services firm and ad agency specializing in Small Business Marketing for companies all over.  Ask your questions: walter@dsvmedia.com