Ads or advertisements have been around since the first caveman bartered his club for a mammoth fur. It has since developed into something very technical and very expensive. Just about everyone in business has to advertise by some means. From the florist shop-keeper who places his chalk-board outside on the pavement (sidewalk), to the big multinational car maker who lavishly demonstrates the beauty of his beast... It's essential.
Although it is considered essential it doesn't really have to cost that much to get your message across. In fact it doesn't have to cost anything other than a little time. However, I would have to say that if you want quality traffic and lots of paying customers, then you must expect to pay for it. Now, when it comes right down to the options, you have to consider what is best for you.
Time was when advertising in your Yellow Pages directory was an absolute must, but like everything else times have changed. Today, every type of business can benefit from advertising online... why? Because that's where your customers are, and they are looking for you. The YP directory has become nothing more than a convenient door stop these days, albeit much smaller than it once was, and is very likely to soon become nothing more than a fly swat. However, your local and national newspaper still has clout... but for how long?
I personally think that the majority of advertising spend should be geared towards the internet, with a little bit of brochure and leaflet exposure, and with a light sprinkling of newspaper ads thrown in for good measure, if it has a chance of working for you. For the sake of this article, and because I write for every medium, let's look briefly at each option and weigh up the pros and cons.
First off, and as previously mentioned, we have those withering directories. My feeling and my advice is... forget directories. Nobody uses them anymore. The recycling plants are pulping them right now as I write. Next is press ads. Now, some form of press ads can work for you as long as you can attract instant attention and convince the reader to take immediate action. Otherwise as soon as the reader puts down the paper or magazine you will be forgotten forever. This type of ad, especially the large half or full page ads are good for clearance sales and special offers. Classified ads are generally okay for local tradesmen.
For everything else, you got to get in with the crowd. That means social networks and general search. Pay per click (PPC) is probably one of the best ways to advertise online because you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This is a very targeted approach to advertising but even this has its drawbacks. For those in the know, the words "quality score" means the difference between paying pennies for your clicks and paying big bucks. If you don't get your quality score right you could soon go bust with this method. Ask me about QS.
Facebook offer a similar way to advertise but with some big advantages. The main one being demographics. With Facebook you are able to target people by location, by gender and by age group, which means getting your products or services in front of likely buyers is much more laser focused. However, the ads have to be presented in a way that conforms to Facebook's rules and regulations, which can at times be a little restrictive. It still beats advertising in the press though.
Banner ads are everywhere on the internet and some work but many don't. The reason they don't? Many people have become immune to them. That's because they see so many of them everyday, and so tend to ignore them totally.
Generally, our eyes glaze over when we see banner ads and that's because we know it's just blatant advertising. There's no disguising it. We know someone is trying to sell us something and we don't like being sold to... do we?
There are several other ways to advertise online but the only one I'm going to mention here is newsletter ads. Now this is about as targeted as you can get. Simply find someone in your niche market who is putting out a regular newsletter to his list, and offer to pay for a sponsored ad insertion, or solo ad as they are sometimes called.
For example, let's say you are selling camping equipment. Do a search for "camping newsletter", and contact the author. Ask about numbers of subscribers and if they are in the thousands, offer the newsletter owner a sum for placing your ad in one or more of them. Your ad needs to look like it's part of the newsletter for this to work. When it works it's a killer method.
For ads that really work contact me at your earliest convenience.