It’s very easy to spend several million dollars on online advertising but for most small business online marketers that kind of money is nothing more than unobtainium. Here are some very effective ways to engage your customer base through effective online advertising on much smaller budgets:
- Collaboration pays dividends – Collaborative advertising is one of the best ways to stretch your ad dollars. Inquire with all of your suppliers if they have any form of co-op ad deal where they will integrate you as a partner business and contribute a large part of your online advertising costs. You can also ask companies that provide ancillary products to share ad costs: If you’re selling cleaning chemicals, why not enquire whether a mop manufacturer wants to go into some ads with you?
- Sponsorship magnifies your budget – Sponsoring another organization’s event can be a great budget stretcher. Many organizations apply sponsorship money to purchasing online ads, and put in a portion of their own budget so your brand can appear in many more ads than if you had dedicated the sponsorship money to placing ads yourself. Some organizations will consider direct click links on their landing pages to your own landing pages, and that will amplify your results even further.
- Don’t be afraid to Stumble – StumbleUpon Paid Discovery may be one of the best kept secrets in online advertising. Although not precisely a pay-to-click business model, this process integrates your links into the content stream of the individually targeted user, and the cost per response can be considerably below other more direct means such as Google AdWords.
- Go negative – … in keywords that is. If you add negative keywords into your campaigns you will find that a large number of irrelevant clicks will simply drop right off and you’ll be spending your money on attracting the correct target audience for your product. So if you’re selling RAM memory exclusively, terms like computer, hardware and desktop are too broad and will bring in users seeking other components, while DDR, unbuffered and DIMM will key in just the customer who is interested in your precise product.
- Restrict your geography – International sales can incur significant headaches in shipping and customs costs and an RMA can require the personal intervention of the Secretary General of the United Nations. If you’re only selling in the United States, then cut out any advertising that is leaking out into other countries as that’s just wasted money.
- Restrict your time – Setting your ad scheduling to just the days of the week and the times of those days when your customers are going to be seeking your product or service is a great way to make that ad budget go farther. If you’re promoting your cinema’s new releases, ads that appear on Friday and Saturday afternoon and evening are going to be far more effective than those that appear on Monday or Tuesday mornings.
- Small and frequent – Huge ads are nowhere near as effective as their size might indicate. You’re far better off to place smaller ads but increase your frequency as repetition not only brings down your ad rates but also makes a more lasting impression on your customer base. Research has shown that many people have to see the same ad a minimum of seven times before they actually note it at all.
- Sponsor a blogger – Offer to sponsor a quality blogger in your industry sector and you’ll find that you will be reaching laser targeted traffic at a mere fraction of what you might have paid otherwise. Creating an online banner for their blog site that integrates your brand into the specific discussions the blogger prefers to deal with will harmonize your strategy and have a considerable impact on the blog’s readership.
You don’t have to be a multinational megacorporation to make an impact in the online advertising world. All you need to do is to meticulously craft an ad strategy that gets you the biggest bang for your buck, and then you can just sit back and enjoy the profits rolling in!
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