Online advertising has the advantage of being more cost-efficient than real-world ads, BUT the online space is oversaturated. That means, you need to know how to advertise online, and who you should advertise to, before you put your first buck into online marketing. Otherwise, your message won't have a chance of being seen or heard.
There is a ton of information about online marketing out there. It can get confusing. So we condensed lots of tips and how to's into an easy-to-digest guide to online advertising.
E-mail marketing, or an eBlast, is a great way to get your advertising out to a large group of people. But lots of businesses end up creating spam instead of quality content.
Your emails should be:
Permission-based. Don't send emails to people who have not agreed to be added to your list. Here are some creative ways to cultivate your list.People who really like you (whether they have purchased something or not) are more likely to spread the word about you. You do not want to incite people to mark your emails as spam.
Proactive. Send out an eBlast when you have a new product or news to send out to your buyers. Listen to your buyers and cater to them with your content. Reward your fans for paying attention to you with deals and exclusives.
Pithy. Keep your ad short and to the point. You do not want to put too much information in the eBlast. Tell buyers about sales, changes, new products, news and so forth.
Tested. Trying your email out with people you know first will help you avoid confusing wording and not-so-exciting imagery. Send a test email to a bunch of people you know first and get some feed back
You should not:
Buy emails. Lots of people offer email addresses in bulk, for a price. No matter how these emails were collected, they aren't worth buying. You have to earn your fans organically.
Include unnecessary punctuation. The title of your email should not look like "Check out this offer!!!!!!!" or "N.E.W. Items at My SHOP." This tactic is used by companies that send out Spam and the e-mails are often deleted without even being viewed.
Force people to continue subscribing. Always include an opt-out option at the bottom of your e-mail to allow people to be removed from your mailing list. Making it difficult for people to stop subscribing will just make them think negatively about your brand.
Using social media outlets to communicate with your customer base can be an amazing - you provide a resource to them and they engage and share your content. Hubspot found that 92% of marketers claimed social media was not only important to their marketing, but also increased traffic to their website.
Social media is advantageous because:
It's low cost. Social media companies, like Facebook and Twitter, let you set the budget to fit with your available funds are at any given time. You can increase and decrease the amount you're spending to amp up visibility with the touch of a button.
It's direct. You are speaking directly to your customers and fans. They can contact you and you can respond directly to them.One study found that Americans who follow a brand via social media are more loyal to the brand itself.
Social media can be difficult because:
You need to respond in real time. You will need to keep track of your social media and make sure you have someone who can respond quickly. You do not want your customers waiting days to hear back from you where others can see they are waiting.
It can be difficult to quantify how if affects your sales. Along with posting on social media, you need to setup Google Analytics on your site and pull regular reports to see what's working and what isn't.
Some of the social channels to consider getting on now are:
Facebook is a powerful tool for businesses to communicate. It is considered a must-have for all businesses. You can target your audience at a higher level, creating ads for a particular group within your target demographic with slight changes in the ad for each group. If you have an event somewhere, you can target members of your demographic in a particular area. If someone likes a link/ad you post, their friends would see it in the newsfeed, so it increases your visibility to people who may not be part of your regular demographic.
Twitter can also be a great tool for promoting your business if used effectively. It is great for short blast out to your followers. It is a quick and easy way to speak to customers, but are limited to 140 characters.
Podcasts are a relatively new way to advertise but with the success of podcasts, a larger audience is now available there. Companies like Midroll match advertisers with podcasts. Their goal is to find a good fit so you actually gain sales (and fans) from the partnership.
Internet radio - like regular radio - allows you to place ads for people to hear while listening to music on their computer. This is a great option for music sellers, since you can target an audience who is listening to music similar to what you are selling. But, many internet radio systems play the same commercial , or set of commercials over a span of time, so people get use to and even annoyed with commercials.
YouTube ads can reach millions, if attached to the right video. Ads are played before popular videos, meaning that more people are likely to see an advert than if you uploaded your own video content direct to YouTube. They have a per view price, so you can pay a set amount to have it viewed by a set number of people. Many people will skip or tune out ads, but with a well-produced spot, you can hope to grab some folks who will look at your site.
As I said at the start, there are countless resources and differing opinions about online marketing, but these data points should give you enough to get started with advertising your business online. If you have any questions for us, tweet us!
Good Luck and Good Sales.