Advertising Online 

Ok, so you're new to marketing online, and you need to find out what resources are the best for advertising.

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Advertising Online 

 by Michael Russell

Ok, so you're new to marketing online, and you need to find out what resources are the best for advertising.

You're at a loss as to which way to turn. What do you do? First of all, step back and take a few deep breaths. This is not rocket science, and stressing over it won't help at all and once you get your feet wet, you may well find that it's much simpler than you thought.

Now, let's take a look at what's available. You have traffic exchanges, safelists, FFA's, message boards, webrings...well, you get the picture.

The question is, which work and which don't? That's what we'll attempt to cover here. What works for one advertising campaign may not work for another.

Your first step is to develop your target group. Who is it that you want to reach with your advertising? Do some demographics on your niche, and decide to whom it may appeal. Do you want to target a specific geographic area? Are you targeting a specific age group? Do you want to reach pink people with purple hair, or purple people with pink hair? Figure out to whom you want to sell your products, ideas, services, etc. Then after you've written this down (yes, keep notes and records), start experimenting with the different avenues available to you. Note: before you begin experimenting, be absolutely certain that you have an excellent tracking program available to track your advertising efforts. This is mandatory so that you find where your campaigns work the best. The object here is to work smarter, not harder.

Now, pick out five to ten programs from traffic exchanges, safelists, FFA's, etc. I don't recommend any more than ten of each, at the very most. You need to be able to keep up with what you are doing. And you need to stay focused. Less CAN be more. Choose wisely. Get advice from others who are already doing this. Check into online reports that are available for you to read, and decide which programs you want to use in the beginning.

Once you have chosen the programs which you want to use, set up your campaign(s) according to your demographics. You may need to test one or more campaigns to find which works the best. As I said, this is not rocket science. But, you do need to be willing to put forth the effort that it takes to do this seriously. It's not for the faint of heart. And it cannot be a "hit or miss" undertaking.

If you can't put together your own campaign, be willing to pay someone to do this for you. As the old saying goes, "You have to spend money to make money." This is not going to be a free ride. So if that's your mindset, lose it now.

While joining so called "free" programs is fine, you need to target some of the better known ones and plan on upgrading in those to assist you with your campaigning. There's a wealth of programs out there. There's nothing wrong with no cost and low cost programs, However, quite often they do not give you everything that you need to succeed in online business. So take this into consideration when you begin your advertising efforts. PLAN on spending money. Just know where you want to concentrate your efforts, and stick with your business plan. You DO have one, right? If not, we'll cover that in another article. Stay tuned.

Alright, we've got our demographics, we've chosen our programs, and we've put together some campaigns for our site(s) according to to whom we want to advertise. Next step, set up your tracking program with your site URL's. Read your instructions carefully, and be certain to dot all the "i's" and cross all the "t's." If you are using a rotator, be absolutely sure that your site(s) in the rotator comply with the Terms of Service for whatever program you may use it (them) in. The last thing you want is for your site(s) to be rejected because you broke the rules.

Ok. Now, submit your site(s) to your advertising programs, and begin tracking your results. Keep up with this, if not daily then, weekly.

Where did you get the most hits? How about the most click-throughs? And what about sales? Which campaigns are getting you the best results? Tweak your campaigns, if necessary. Move them to different demographics/programs and experiment to find where each one does best, or if anything at all. If they work better in one place than another, leave them in the best one.

Are the programs that you are using getting you the results you want? Before you move from one program to another, be sure that you've given ample opportunity for tracking your results. Any programs that are not meeting your expectations and goals should be dropped after you've made your determinations. But, be fair. Give them enough time, without going overboard with the time that you devote to them. I'd recommend at least a month with a program before dropping it.

One other very important note here....BRAND yourself in any campaign that you do. Get your name and your picture out there online so that folks know who you are. Join forums where you will find like-minded people with whom you can network. Join webrings, etc., for the same reasons. Get yourself established as a very serious online marketing person.

I won't promise you that you are going to succeed overnight. Please keep in mind that when doing business online, it's not quite the same as a "brick and mortar" business offline. It takes more for people online to trust you and want to do business with you. This is one reason that branding is SO important.

So don't look for overnight success. Be prepared to work for what you want and be willing to invest both time and money in what you are doing. Just watch that you don't waste a lot of either in your efforts. Work with people whom you trust. Buy from people whom you trust. Use programs which you trust. Above all else make absolutely certain that what you are offering online is something that you, yourself, would be willing to purchase. Offer quality. Offer integrity...and have some fun doing it.

About the Author

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Small Business

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