By: Peters Walters
Virtually all businesses these days need to advertise online.
Driving people to your website through well placed advertisements is necessary to promote your business. Luckily, if you’re on a budget, you don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the benefits of online advertising.
While the initial temptation will be to place ads on the most traveled websites related to your business, these sites will cost you an arm and a leg - often for the same results you could likely get from a combination of a few smaller sites, for a fraction of the price.
Here are five tips for saving on advertising online for your business.
1. Write Clear Copy
While on the surface copy might not seem like a big priority, “saying what you mean” isn’t always so easy. Each word is very important. To put this in perspective, a good copywriter will sometimes write pages just to get one great word or two.
Your advertisements needs to be so good that in the second or two it takes for them to scan a page, your little advertisement not only stands out, but drives them to click. Impressions are all well and good, but you are after clicks. Your copy should be concise, specific and compelling.
Really take the time to make a quality, clickable advertisement.
2. Cross Promotions
Cross promotion is a cheap (and often free) way to attract more customers. When you partner with other credible businesses and organizations that attract a similar target market, you can reach customers more efficiently and directly with the right messaging and promotions.
Partnering with major nonprofits is a good start. Offer small donations for cause marketing to the organization and boost your visibility. With cross promotions, you’re essentially using each others customer bases to grow your own. It’s a really smart, and mutually beneficial tactic to help organizations build a following or customer base.
Some things you can do with a partner: Joint promotional messages on social media or in print, signs promoting one another, pooled mailing lists, joint interviews with media, and reduced prices on each other’s products or services or to your partners and customers.
3. Create a Company Blog
Creating a quality blog, utilizing relevant search words is essentially free advertising.
Ultimately you want to drive more people to your website, as it increases the likelihood of acquiring new customers.
A blog also will affect your businesses search rankings positively, as each new post is a separate page that can be picked up by search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Make sure to blog regularly using words that search well, are relevant to your brand and will ultimately increase your SEO ranking.
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4. Outsource Online Advertising Management to a Pay-Per-Click Expert
Trying to make successful ads is difficult, and take a lot of trial and error. Trial and error, while a great learning experience, can be expensive when you’re trying to run a business.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) experts are great copywriters, understand SEO very well, and know how to use search words and place advertisements in a way that most laymen do not. Writing and placing ads successfully is an art that takes time, skill and of course money to fully grasp.
Find an expert to help you place ads, and compensate them based on their success.
5. Use Reporting Tools
If an ad is doing well, you want to know soon so you can place this, or similar ads on more websites. Likewise, if an ad is failing, you also want to know quickly so you can get rid of it and try something new.
This is often something that an SEO expert will already utilize, so if you’re going at this alone, it’s definitely smart to use something like ShufflePoint, Analytics Canvas and LinkDex just to name a few.
If you take each of these steps, you’ll be well on your way to advertising in a cost effective and successful way.
Unless you have an SEO or advertising expert on your team, it’s likely that you don’t have the time or necessary skills to advertise most effectively.
Seeking outside help, whether through an agency or working with a pay-per-click expert is going to be your best bet, cost permitting.
About the Author: Peter Walters is a freelance blogger for various sites, and covers topics such as reputation, social enterprise and problems with ripoff report. He is the Director of Business Development for Two Degrees Food and lives in San Francisco.