Once upon a time, a long long time ago, you could get a decent response just from advertising your business in the local paper, sending out promotional ads via direct mail, or buying a spot in the yellow pages. No more. Today, hundreds of millions of people are searching the internet for information, products, and services. Newspaper circulation is way down, making those ads less powerful, promotional direct mail has become “junk mail”, and advertising in the yellow pages… wait, what’s that? Google is the new yellow pages, and the internet is the new source for gathering information, communicating, and buying stuff. Are you effectively advertising your business online?
A recent study by Nielsen Media Research found that more than 85% of the world’s population has shopped online, up 40% from just two years earlier. Combine this statistic with the fact that 87% of home buyers search for property online, and that 3 out of 4 car buyers also search online, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that people are relying on the internet for more reason than just to surf; they’re also there to buy. If you own or run a business – whether freelance, real estate, automotive sales, product sales, service provider, or anything else – then you need to be marketing online.
So, how do you advertise your business online? The options available to you are many, and if you are just getting your feet wet in this arena then things can be confusing and overwhelming. Do your market research due-diligence, consumers are not going to leave online shopping behind any time soon. Here are a few options to get you started:
- Website – An effective website is much more than a static placeholder. Take tips from articles like “10 Steps to Measuring Web Site Success” and the Google Blog.
- Blog – Blogging can be very effective if done right. Refer to advice from successful bloggers like Chris Brogan, CopyBlogger, the Online Marketing Blog, and others.
- Post Targeted Ads – These types of ads can create a broader online presence for your business and be targeted to your market.
- Google AdWords – Create online ads based on a set of keywords and set your own budget.
- Social Networking – This one can be tricky, and many people use it entirely the wrong way. However, if managed successfully, social networking can be a great way to build your brand and presence online. To start in the social networking arena (see Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), I suggest you do much more watching and listening in the beginning to get a feel for how it is done successfully in your market. Find and connect with others in your industry who have been successful, and define a strategy with measurable goals.
The most important thing about online advertising for your business is to start. Have questions on any of these advertising methods? Disagree with me? Have another to add? Post your 2 cents in the comment section below.
Photo credit: jaaron