Is Online Paid Advertising A Fit for My Small Businesses
Years ago (back in the dark ages, circa 2000) I was opposed to paid ads online unless your website didn’t get traction in the search engines, potential customers didn’t know about your brand or it was a perfect fit to reach your target audience. There was little competition online in 2000, and with a little elbow grease you could gain visibility in the search engines both locally and nationally for your business and its services and products. Fast forward 17 years (that’s a little over two and half centuries in Internet years) and today without some type of paid advertising online, some local business have a difficult time being discovered or found by their customer base.
With increased competition online (over 331 Million Top Leve Domains (TLDs) registered), the addition of something called Social Media (Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat didn’t exist before 2004) and page layout changes to Google, Yahoo and BING (MSN) it can be difficult for a small business to be found online locally.
If you need a little help with visibility online, here are 3 options for your small business to reach local consumers online for free or at a minimal cost.
- If your business has great brand recognition, make sure your business citations (e.g., Google My Business) are all up to date with the correct information in all the major search engines and directories (e.g., Yelp). The cost for Google My Business is zero! No cost and a great way to gain exposure on mobile devices and computers (customers are looking for your phone number and address). This should be part of your local optimization strategy.
- Text Ads. You can start a Google Adwords campaign to place ads on both mobile devices and computers with a small daily budget. The key to success is knowing what terms people may be using to find your services or product (keyword research is critical). Don’t try to be everything to everybody. Make sure your ads display for your main offerings and that your ads only show locally.
- Paid Ads in Social Media. Depending on your target audience, Facebook may be a great option for your business. Facebook can target your ads based on user preferences, location and demographics. One of the latest study claims the people on average spend 50 minutes per day on Facebook! By selecting the right audience (age, education, location, likes, lifestyle, etc.) you can gain great branding and sales from Facebook.
If you run a paid for campaign, make sure you set up landing pages for each campaign/ad. You want to direct traffic from your paid advertising to the correct landing pages that match your call-to-action or value-statement. Having a careful designed landing page can make all the difference in successful and unsuccessful campaign.
And just as important as setting up lading pages is making sure you’re tracking your visitors! You can have your IT person or Web company install Google Analytics on your website for free if you’re not currently using it. This tool allows you to track where people come from (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing, Google Adwords, etc.) and see what they like on your site (pages they visited, time they spend on your site, etc.). Without tracking you won’t know what is and what isn’t working.
About the Author: Joe Ippolito is the owner of River Horse Internet Marketing in Savannah, GA. Joe has over 18 years of Internet Marketing experience helping both local and national companies online.