Effective Online Advertising Methods

Reach Your Target Market Online

Because of the continual growth of the internet, any business; whether you’re running a brick and mortar establishment or an online entity, needs to take advantage of both online and offline mediums in order to grab the attention of potential customers.  This is true even if you’re only offering services locally through a brick and mortar establishment or even out of your own home.  More and more people everyday are skipping over the hardcopy yellow pages and opting to use their favorite search engine to find what they’re looking for, even for local services.

 

When you’re looking to promote your business online, even if you run a local brick and mortar establishment, there are certain steps that you should take that will help with the promotion of your business and boost the awareness of the services that you offer.

Create a User-friendly Website

Your website is the crutch of your online presence.  If you have a website that is easy to navigate and explains what you have to offer without a lot of stuff or fluff in the way, this will not only help to establish a friendly online presence, it will precipitate the long-term exposure of your business.


Offer a “community based” Website

Having an online presence isn’t enough these days.  Giving your customers the ability to openly discuss your services or have discussions about the general topic of the services that you provide will create a sticky environment for your website; one which will naturally produce the online version of word of mouth advertising (links from other website’s to yours) and will work considerably well to advertise your business.

Purchasing Paid Advertisements

Simply putting up a website does not mean that you’ll receive new customers through your website, nor curios visitors for that matter.  In order to get your name out there initially when looking for online exposure for your business, you’ll have to do a little bit of advertising.  When considering how to obtain visitors to your website, you’ll undoubtedly come across search engine optimization, or SEO.  While hiring a person or company to perform SEO for your website is usually considered a worthwhile expense, the results do not come cheap nor do they come overnight.  If you want exposure to your website quickly, paid advertisements work wonders for in getting the exposure that you’re looking for.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

The most effective form of online advertising is usually by way of PPC.  Most major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, offer these services.  PPC ads are the small advertisements that are shown directly around results in search engines.   There are three real benefits to using pay per click advertising:
1) You can start seeing new visitors to your website within a matter of a few days, even a few minutes with certain search engines.
2) If you happen to run a local only business, you can have these advertisements show only when people from certain areas of the country or world are searching for them.   This means that your ads will only show when people from your area are using these search engines to look for the services that your business provides.
3) You control what search phrase your advertisement will show for.  You could allow for search engines to show your ads when your city name is searched for or you could have your ads show up when your city name is searched for along with keywords that represent what your business has to offer. Using PPC advertising allows you to fine tune your potential website visitors, helping you to avoid paying for visits from people that would not make good potential customers.

All things considered, the bottom line is this: the most effective advertising method for your small business is through word of mouth advertising.  You can run all of the newspaper ads, yellow pages ads and online classified ads that your budget can afford, but nothing will increase the awareness of your business like a positive word of mouth referral. Whether you’re targeting your local community or an online audience, the end result of the word of mouth model is the same: increased awareness of what your business has to offer with a personal recommendation from a trusted party to boot.  Taking advantage of these various word of mouth advertising methods has the potential to increase your business exponentially without putting a strain on your existing budget.