Online ads drive traffic and revenue to your website. Consider the fact that 63% of companies view generating traffic and leads as the hardest part of marketing. However, you can’t just start throwing money at online ads and expect consistent results. You can spend a lot of money very quickly with minimal results if you don’t proceed with caution.
Choosing the right ads can be very beneficial when done right. One of the most valuable things about online ads is that the target audience is highly specific and you can thoroughly define to whom you are targeting ads, especially on social media.
It’s important to understand how to create an effective online ad in the first place. For example, posts on social media that have a photograph tend to gain more interaction than those that do not.
Content Is Still King
Although there are many different ways to advertise online, creating content to draw in readers is still a top strategy for driving traffic to your website and attracting new leads. Companies with an active blog generate about 67% more leads than those without one. Relevant content creation is still vital for driving organic traffic to your site. If you don’t regularly add new content, there isn’t much reason for visitors to return to it.
However, you can’t just slap up a few articles on your blog. You must be very strategic in answering the questions your typical customer have and including a call to action within your posts. Your best bet is to use a professional writer for this work or an in-house marketer. While it is important to have content, it must be well accurate and relevant if you want it to result in new customers for your business.
Social Media Ads
You’ve likely seen a sponsored ad or two when you’ve been online browsing social media. For example, Facebook saw $83 billion in digital ad spending already in 2017. There is a reason for that level of spending on advertising on one specific social media platform – it works. Have you ever searched for dog collars on Google and later seen ads for dog collars on your social media wall?
The reason this happens has to do with some very advanced cookie tracking. Facebook knows what you’re looking for. It might be a bit creepy at times, as you may do a search and suddenly feel as though someone spied on you as that item pops up on your wall. However, it is also a highly useful form of advertising.
Facebook allows users to create a precisely targeted ad. If you went to a local home show, you might meet all sorts of people, but only a small percentage would be potential customers for your specific business. On the other hand, on Facebook, you can target only that part of the population that is interested in what you have to offer. You can narrow your audience as much as you want and set the budget that works for you in the time frame that works for you.
Search Engine Ads
Search engines are a smart place to put some of your advertising dollars. Google still is the dominant search engine, particularly in mobile searches. They are predicted to see a 15% jump in revenue for advertising this year. Their US search market share is up from 75.8% to 77.8%. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is particularly useful if you are trying to reach those in the 18-44 age range who use mobile devices and Google Chrome browser. Google’s users also tend to be primarily male and online in the evening.
The great thing about a PPC ad is that you only pay if someone clicks on the link and visits your website. If they don’t, then you aren’t out any money. That makes PPC a rather cost-effective way to advertise your business to new leads.
If you’re looking for some inexpensive advertising options, newsletter swaps are an excellent choice to help you reach a highly targeted audience without spending too much of your time. The key here is to reach out to businesses with a similar customer base but who are not your competition. You then offer to swap ads or recommend each other’s services.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure the other business is reputable and that you’re comfortable recommending them to your mailing list. For example, if you offer golf lessons, you might team up with a local company that sells golf carts or an apparel line. You may have some crossover customers on both of your lists, but that’s okay. You are seeking those potential customers you’ve not reached before and so is the golf cart company.
Which Type of Ad?
Figuring out which type of ad works best for your company does take a bit of trial and error, but the best place to start is somewhere you know people who are interested in your product already are. If you are trying to reach seniors, then Google may not be the best advertising venue for you. However, a newsletter ad aimed at those who are retiring could be perfect.
Although it is difficult to track how well a specific ad is doing, you can get some insight by adding unique offer codes, studying website analytics to see where traffic is coming from and creating individual landing pages for different ads.
Online ads will benefit your website traffic numbers. This will naturally lead to more customers because a percentage of those site visitors will convert into customers for you. Although you can never know for sure that traffic equals customers, it is a safe bet that at least some will be interested in what you have to offer.
Online advertising is quite different than offline advertising, but it is an animal worth taming. You’ll gain access to billions of people who are online, with more logging on every day.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.