So Many Advertisement Opportunities, So Little Money
With so many options for advertising your business online, it’s sometimes difficult to know which ones will most effectively meet your needs. There are several factors to consider when evaluating an ad purchase decision. First and foremost you want to ask yourself: Will this advertising opportunity expose my brand to people who are likely to make purchases with me?
A well-targeted ad campaign is going to bring you the best results. When comparing an ad that costs $20 with one that costs $100, try to look beyond those dollar figures and consider which ad is likely to expose your brand to real potential customers. An inexpensive ad is a waste of money if it isn’t going to bring you customers, and you won’t get much bang for the buck.
The next thing to decide is how you are going to evaluate the effectiveness of an ad campaign. Just because you do not see a huge jump in sales overnight, that doesn’t mean the ad campaign was ineffective. Think about a beverage company like Snapple; when they advertise on a highway billboard, their expectation is not that drivers will immediately pull into the nearest gas station for a Snapple. Their goal is to increase their brand awareness so that next time those drivers are thirsty, Snapple will come to mind. The same is true for your advertising efforts. Don’t expect people to immediately pull off of the information superhighway to make a purchase from you. Some people may, but a lot of people won’t.
What you are really after is having your brand in the forefront of those consumers’ minds when they are ready to make a purchase. Those ads you ran back in September that may have only resulted in one sale may really pay off come early December when the people who bookmarked your site months ago return to do some holiday shopping. Your results will be even better if you advertised on the same site in October and November. The daily readers of the blog that you’ve been advertising on for several months who maybe didn’t bookmark your site back in September now have so much exposure to your brand that when it’s time for holiday shopping, they’ll still come to you. Plus, they’ll remember how to find you because they saw you on their favorite blog every day.
While all of this sounds a bit nebulous, there are indicators you can look for to see if your ad is generating interest from people who will make future purchases. Click-through rate is of course going to be one of them; if people are clicking through to check out your products and website, that’s a good sign. If they are bookmarking your site, (some traffic analysis software can make estimates about this for you; AWStats is one of the programs that does this) that is also good. If they are signing up for your newsletter, that’s terrific. Don’t have a newsletter, you say? Get one, posthaste. People love deals, sales and giveaways, and offering these sorts of goodies as an incentive to join your mailing list will not only encourage purchases, it’s a great way to keep your brand on consumers’ minds. You want to email them each month and say something like “Remember us and our fabulous products? Just for you, loyal customer and mailing list subscriber, I am offering free shipping for a limited time.” It is a call to action, to come back and make a purchase, and an incentive for doing it right now.
The bottom line is a marketing campaign is about building relationships with customers, not only about producing sales immediately. Going into a marketing campaign with sales as your singular goal is both unrealistic and short-sighted. When you consistently expose your brand to potential customers and offer them incentives to take an interest in your brand, you are establishing interest and familiarity with your brand, and that is what will ultimately lead to brand loyalty and consistent sales.
Meredith Keller is an artist for Ex-Boyfriend and the founder of IShopIndie.com, an advertising co-op for indepedent designers. She has extensive experience running internet advertising and promotional campaigns on the internet for Ex-Boyfriend and IShopIndie.com. She has served as a consultant to other internet businesses on how to promote online. She has recently launched a service that is dedicated to co-op based promotion for independent online retailers.
Ex-boyfriend’s series on Internet Advertising continues here. Her previous post, dealt with the terminology and different options for buying ads.
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