Consumerism might be shaky at times but the fact is that as long as the world has people and products, you can safely assume that consumerism will be alive and well. With that being said, don’t assume that your products will be purchased just because they exist. To grab people’s attention and generate traffic that leads to sales, it is smart to utilise online advertising. Before taking the online advertising path, make sure that it is necessary as your local bakery/coffee shop/florist/etc. might benefit more from flyers or e-newsletters. This brings us to the first question you need to ask yourself before deciding on your online advertising strategy.
Do you need to advertise online?
Online advertising is an attractive way of reaching people, especially now that it seems like everyone is doing it. However, just because everyone is doing it does not mean that you should too. It might even cause you to lose money if no one takes notice. Identify your situation and research whether you will benefit from online ads through looking at competitors and performing field research in which you ask current and potential clients how they found you. If you only cater to a local audience, you might be better off creating flyers to distribute in your target area. Once you are sure about using online advertising methods to attract consumers, make sure you take the following discussion points into account.
Which platforms will you utilise?
It might be tempting to cover as much online ground as you can, and in some cases it is a good idea but placing your ads on all social media sites, numerous websites and other pages can be costly and time consuming. Put some work into finding out which platforms will work best for you and what kind of maintenance, like changing ads and ad offers, is feasible to make sure that you get the most out of your time- and money-investment in online advertisement. Creating an Instagram account for your product even though you don’t really have enough content to update it on a regular basis could turn out to be a bit of a waste of time and even hurt your business due to having an inactive account. An alternative could be to, instead of creating an image based advertising account, send your product to an online influencer to be reviewed (see my blogpost on YouTube Influencers).
Who do you want to reach?
Placing an ad for a new cooking tool on a gaming website is highly likely to generate less traffic and conversion than if the ad was placed on a cooking website. Make sure you define your target audience and market so that you know which online spaces are appropriate for your ads.
Using tools like Adwords that target your target audience for you can also be very beneficial and don’t have to be very time consuming. Some social media platforms that allow you to create your own ads also have segmenting tools that allow you to create demographic profiles.
Banner, text or button?
There are multiple ways of displaying your ad online, so find out which type works best for your objectives and ad space that you are going to be using. A large banner or image will work if it is going to have a dominant place but if your ad will be displayed on the side of a website, in a small ‘ad column’ you will be better off creating a button with a short piece of eye catching text. If a website is already predominantly image based, try going for a text based ad and vice versa.
Is your message coming across?
Creating a banner that simply states your product/brand/business name might look good, but will not be very effective in generating conversion if you’re not a large brand like, for instance, Nike. Try adding some concise text to your banner that states what it is you’re selling, its benefits and possibly an offer or discount that you currently have running. This way you will attract people that actually are interested in your product, and less people who are simply curious as to what it is that the banner stands for. Watch out when using offers and discounts as these can devalue your product if done incorrectly or too frequently.
Do you think your ad will work?
When creating an ad, take the tactical step of personal research to find out what works. What makes you click on an ad and why? Try to find out what elements of ads attract people and grab their attention as well as what types of ads are effective. If possible, ask people to keep record of which ads they clicked on over a course of an X amount of time (you can also participate). Once you collect enough data, look at the ads that caught their attention and define which of the ad elements seem to have the best effect. This can also provide you with greater insight into the banner, text, button dilemma.
Is your ad visually stimulating?
Once you have planned the placement and content of your ad, it needs to be executed properly. It’s such a shame when an ad has so much potential but contains spelling mistakes, bad images, and or another off-putting element. This might be seen as a rookie mistake but it happens too often so make sure you’re on top of a proper quality design. Find out what the best resolution is for images online, don’t rely on one set of eyes to check spelling, and research basic design dos like alignment and colour choices, and you will have created an ad suitable for public online display. Make sure that you stand behind the design, because being consistent in brand image is very important for brand recognition. Changing your entire ad-look could result in people that are usually interested in your products overlooking your ad because they don’t associate it with you as it has changed too drastically. Be consistent and loyal to your brand identity.
Additional posts that you might find interesting:
• 6 Changes your 2014 SEO strategy must focus on: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240271
• 8 Dos and don’ts for more effective advertising campaigns: http://thefinancialbrand.com/31471/8-tips-for-more-effective-advertising-campaigns/
• Online marketing dos and don’ts: http://www.wahm.com/articles/online-marketing-dos-and-donts.html
• Dos and don’ts for better online marketing: http://www.gearylsf.com/press/dos-and-donts-for-better-online-marketing/