Business marketing: the value of advertising online

Does your marketing plan include a budget for online ads? Find out why placing advertisements online is no longer an optional extra.

Remember when you first developed your company website? Just like email, your website has revolutionised the way you sell your company and its products and services to the world. Search engine optimisation can only take you so far and to reach highly engaged individuals searching for vital information, it’s important for your company to be advertising on the websites that matter in your industry. But what are the benefits of advertising online? Timely promotion and flexibility The immediacy of online advertising ensures that products can be introduced to the market very quickly. There is also design flexibility so web adverts can be eye catching and alternate between different banners. This also allows you to rapidly test different messages in short periods of time to see what is most effective. Tracking capabilities The best thing about online advertising is its ability to track the performance of your campaigns. Through using online advertising your company has the ability to track every single click and every single user to see if they end up becoming customers. It is worthwhile downloading Google Analytics – it’s free and will allow you to track the pathway visitors are taking to your site and their movements within your site. Are your online ads generating traffic? Which sites are referring visitors to your site? Google Analytics can help give you the answers. Cost effective Banner advertisements offer great value due to low production costs. If you have advertised before then you know that just one advertisement may not have the phones ringing hot, so think about what your aims are and perhaps look at booking a series of advertisements and combining this with strategically placed editorial content. Most websites have packages available and these should offer the best value and exposure over varied periods of time. High volume The sheer volume of visitors to industry websites means that by advertising you are highly visible to many new readers and potential leads. Most industry websites offer site visitors a free subscription to their e-newsletter which is often sent weekly or fortnightly to thousands of subscribers. By signing up, these e-newsletters subscribers have demonstrated a high-level of engagement, and so advertising in e-newsletters is highly coveted and tends to be a more exclusive and expensive online advertising option. Test the market Advertising online is a great way to cost-effectively test if a particular market is a good fit for your product or service. If you have a well-designed online advertisement and you are advertising on the right industry website then you should get some decent traffic – and those all-important leads. Entire industry coverage The best way to get entire industry coverage is to take out advertising in print, online, and have an event presence. If your company can only initially afford one or two of these promotional opportunities, the results will speak for themselves and you will have a clear case to argue for an increase in next year’s marketing budget. TIP: If you are taking out multiple advertisements then you should be rewarded with a discount, but also ask about securing some editorial coverage to maximise your impact. Highly targeted Visitors to industry websites are usually looking for information to help them do their job better, so they are highly engaged. Every person who views your advertisement is a prospective customer and you need to convey instantly that your product or service is what they need. Just online, all online? So, you’re a convert – you have decided your company needs to start advertising online. But what about your magazine advertising and exhibiting at prominent industry trade events? The good news is that online advertising is the perfect complement to your other marketing efforts. Online advertising is rarely enough on its own but by combining it with print and event participation in a strategically planned campaign, your company will receive maximum industry coverage and make a significant impact. Writing your advertisement Perhaps you have tried online advertising and you didn’t get the great results you expected. Be warned: the advertisement you run in your print campaign will not be suitable for online. If you use the same sort of advertisement you are unlikely to get the traffic you deserve. For best results you should make an offer and be instructive (find out, how to, click here). Through the use of ‘active words’ (for example: order, reduce, choose, use, apply), you can entice people to click your advertisement and learn more about your offer/product/company.

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