Read This Before Starting Your Marketing Campaign

2002-11-04by Angela Rohner

If you've got a web site, then you are probably familiar with the importance of effective online marketing to increase traffic to your web site. For most of us, search engines alone are not enough, especially in a field where there are hundreds or thousands of competitors. Below, I have listed 5 things you should do BEFORE investing in an online advertisement campaign.

1. Advertise to a Targeted Audience: If you are selling services, make sure that the people visiting the site that you advertise on will be interested in your services. For instance, AceHosts.com attracts visitors who are either looking for web hosting services or who need help with something related to web hosting. Our advertisers primarily consist of Web Hosting companies and other domain and web hosting related services. This is because they know that the visitors of this site are in the market for services such as theirs. If a Web Hosting company were to advertise at a site such as Garden.com, their campaign may not do as well because the visitors of that site might only be interested in finding out when to plant their rose bush. Of course, that is an extreme example, but sometimes web sites enter into advertising campaigns in which their ad is displayed on a large range of different web sites which may include a site such as Garden.com. It is very important to target your audience and ask yourself the question - "Will people visiting that site be interested in my services?"

2. Make Your Advertisement Banner Inticing: A lot of people purchase the best targeted advertising campaigns around, and then get very dissapointed when the results are not as they expected. This is primarily due to the advertisement banner not being persuasive enough. In order to get clicks to your site, your banner ad must encourage visitors to click on it. The best way to achieve this is to make your banner unique and inticing. You must also make sure that your banner is competitive with other advertisers, especially when price is involved. Most visitors will click on a advertisement banner that claims to save them more than another. Money talks. That's a fact. Banners that don't put any price at all or a price that is too high don't usually do well unless they are really creative. If you are going to show a price, make sure that your price is competitive. If you are not giong to show a price, get creative and make your banner stand out by making it significantly different than all the rest. Be funny, ask a question, or shout out your best deal - make people click to your site.

3. Make Sure Your Prices Compete With Those In Your Market: No matter how many clicks you get to your site, you will not sell anything unless your prices and products or services are competative with the rest of the bunch. For instance, if your web hosting company sells a beginner hosting account for $15, and the same package at your competitor's site is only $10, you better do some research as to why theirs is lower, and find a way to make yours lower. A lot of times, hosting accounts look less/month because they have a generous setup fee. Some hosting accounts are more/month but have no setup fee at all. The way in which you approach your advertising campaign will greatly affect the amount of sales you will make. If most of the competitors on the site you are advertising on are using the less/month ad, then you should too. Make your price/month 1.00 less if you can, and then raise your setup fee to make up for the reduction. When it comes down to flashing monetary savings in front of a potential customer, you must do it in a manner in which they will glance at your ad, see that you are cheaper, and click on your ad. If you were to advertise more/month with 0 setup fees, the potential customer may not even pay attention to the 0 setup fee, and click on the competitor next to you that is offering less/month. This competitor may not even reveal the setup fee until the visitor has reached their site. Your prices and services MUST compete with the other companies in your category. You can say all you want at your site that you are trustworthy and reliable and better than the cheaper hosts, but most will not even consider that over monetary savings unless they are already very familiar with your company.

4. Your Site MUST Look Professional Or You Will Not Receive As Many Sales As You Could: If you are paying big bucks for advertising, then you better make sure that you impress your visitors when they arrive with a clean, professional design and easy navigation. It doesn't matter how remarkable your services are, if you don't have a professional design to go with your wonderful services, then your visitors may not think you are worthy and go elsewhere. Many people will judge a company based on how professional a site looks, and if the site looks like it was slapped up overnight, they will assume that the company was too. You also need to make sure that at least 99% of your visitors will be able to view your site without hassle. If you are selling services in which visitors will want to see the information quickly and easily, stay away from Flash plug-ins and too much fancy java. There are still many computer users that do not have the capabilities to view such applications. And if a site causes frustration for them when their browser freezes or when they are told that they need to download a plug-in just to get into the site, they will more than likely hit their back button. If you are going to use Flash, use it in only a portion of a site that is optional to view, such as a tour of your services, or a web commercial. Try to avoid using Flash within your whole site or as an entrance page. At least until you know that 99% of computer users will be able to view it hassle-free. You must also avoid sites that use too much graphics and that take a long time to load. You can have a nice, clean site with a light amount of graphics and a fast download time. Your goal is for your visitors to see a clean, professional site that allows them to easily and quickly nagivate throughout your site and find the information they need without a hassle. Some examples of professionaly designed web hosting sites are Hostway and Jumpline.

5. Ask The Site That You Are Advertising On Questions: When you decide on the site that you would like to advertise on, do not be afraid to ask questions or request important information such as the amount of hits to a site or the number of impressions a site gets within a month. If they are an honest company, they will reveal this information without hesitation. Some may even give you a link to their web stats. If a site hesitates to give you important information, then you might be better off looking elsewhere so that you don't lose any money.

To Sum It Up: Just remember the following steps and you will be on the road to success:

  1. Target your audience

  2. Make your ad eye-catching and unique!

  3. Make sure your prices are competitive with those around you

  4. Make sure your site has a professional look with easy navigation and an appealing design.

  5. Ask questions and get the facts before purchasing an advertisement space.

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