As a small business owner, do you feel like you're constantly wasting your marketing dollars?
Join the club.
Although print advertising, direct mail, tv and radio still have some relevance for some industries, for many, it's a giant waste of time and money. Consumer attention span is getting shorter, coupled with an ever increasing amount of advertising, you can see why people go about their day with blinders on.
One area of marketing that is growing though is online advertising. According to Statista, The Digital Advertising market worldwide is projected to grow by 7.57% from 2023 to 2027, resulting in a market volume of US$910.30 billion in 2027.
If you aren't advertising online yet, or are looking for new avenues to pursue, below are 7 places you can market your small business online. While I'm a huge proponent of optimizing your website so you can get found in the search engine results for free (SEO), the reality is that it takes alot of time, patience and persistence to rank high in the search engines. While you're slowly and methodically building up your organic search rankings, why not spend your advertising dollars more efficiently online right now?
Why You Should Consider Investing in Online Advertising:
- Targeted Audience: Online advertising platforms offer sophisticated targeting options. Businesses can target ads based on demographics, interests, behavior, and more. This means your ads are more likely to reach people who are interested in your products or services, leading to higher conversion rates.
- Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional advertising methods, online advertising can be much more cost-effective. You can set your own budget and often only pay when a user interacts with your ad. This means you're investing your money in ads that have a higher chance of leading to a sale.
- Measurable Results: One of the key advantages of online advertising is the ability to track and measure your results. You can see how many people saw your ad, how many interacted with it, and how many converted. This data can help you understand what's working and what's not, allowing you to optimize your campaigns and get the most out of your investment.
- Increased Visibility: With the majority of consumers using the internet to find products or services, online advertising can significantly increase your business's visibility. Your ads can appear on search engine results pages, social media platforms, and other websites, putting your business in front of potential customers.
- Flexibility: Online advertising campaigns can be adjusted at any time based on performance or changes in your business strategy. If an ad isn't performing well, you can easily tweak it or stop it altogether. This flexibility allows you to make the most of your advertising budget and ensure your ads are always optimized for the best possible results.
Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is the pioneering platform for online advertising. Given Google's dominance in the search engine market, Google Ads has become the largest platform for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing. It allows businesses to create text, image, or video-based advertisements targeting users who search for specific keywords or terms in the Google search box, or through demographic and behavioral targeting via their Display Network.
Google Ads offers several advertising options, each with its unique benefits:
- Search Ads: These are the traditional ads you see when you perform a Google search. Typically, there are 2-3 ads above the organic results and several ads to the right of the organic search results. With Search Ads, you target specific keywords that users are typing into the search box. You compete in an online auction with competitors for top placements, making your ads highly visible to users actively searching for your keywords.
- Display Network: This option allows you to place text, image, and video ads across Google's properties, such as Gmail and YouTube, and their partner websites. The Display Network extends beyond the traditional Google search, giving Google Ads the largest reach of any online advertising platform.
- Remarketing: Remarketing campaigns allow you to advertise to individuals who have previously visited your website as they surf the internet. This means you can reach these users almost anywhere on the internet, whether they're on Google's properties or a third-party website. Remarketing is available for both Search and Display Network campaigns, making it a powerful tool for keeping your brand top of mind and encouraging users to return to your website.
Setting up a campaign on Google Ads can be a bit complex for beginners. However, Google offers an easier way for small businesses to get started with Google Ads Express. This simplified version of Google Ads makes it easier for businesses to create and manage their ad campaigns, making online advertising more accessible for businesses of all sizes.
Google Ads offers a comprehensive platform for online advertising. With its wide reach, sophisticated targeting capabilities, and variety of ad formats, Google Ads can help businesses reach their target audience, drive traffic to their website, and achieve their marketing goals.
Bing Ads, powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine, offers a platform for businesses to serve ads in search engine results and on partner networks. While Bing's audience is smaller than Google's, this can be an advantage for businesses looking for cost-effective online advertising solutions. The smaller audience often results in less competition for keywords, making bidding less expensive and potentially stretching your marketing budget further.
Over the past few years, Bing Ads has made significant improvements to its ad network. It has become more user-friendly, making it easier for business owners to create and manage their own ad campaigns. This accessibility, combined with the potential cost savings, makes Bing Ads an attractive option for small businesses or those just starting with online advertising.
Bing Ads also offers free advertising credits, providing an opportunity for businesses to try out the platform without a significant upfront investment. These credits can be obtained by submitting your site to their search engine, giving you a chance to test the effectiveness of Bing Ads for your business.
Bing Ads offers a valuable alternative to other online advertising platforms. With its lower cost per click and user-friendly interface, Bing Ads can be an effective tool for businesses looking to extend their online advertising efforts. Whether you're a small business owner or a seasoned marketer, Bing Ads provides a platform to reach a new audience and potentially drive more traffic to your site.
Nextdoor stands out in the realm of social networking services by focusing on fostering connections within neighborhoods. It's a platform where individuals in the same locality can discuss various topics, including local businesses. This neighborhood-centric approach makes Nextdoor a valuable platform for businesses looking to engage with their local community.
As a business owner, you can establish your presence on Nextdoor by creating a free Business Page. This page serves as your business's profile on the platform, allowing you to share updates, respond to recommendations from neighbors, and answer questions from the community. This direct line of communication with your local community can help build your reputation and foster relationships with potential customers.
Nextdoor also offers a feature called Local Deals. Local Deals are special offers that businesses can promote to specific neighborhoods or within a certain radius of their business. This paid feature allows businesses to target their promotions to the people most likely to visit their business, increasing the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.
In addition to Local Deals, Nextdoor provides the option for Sponsored Posts. Similar to ads on other social media platforms, Sponsored Posts allow businesses to reach a broader audience beyond their immediate neighborhood. These posts appear in the newsfeed of targeted users, increasing the visibility of your business among potential customers in nearby neighborhoods.
In conclusion, Nextdoor offers a unique opportunity for businesses to connect with their local community. Whether through a Business Page, Local Deals, or Sponsored Posts, Nextdoor provides various ways for businesses to engage with their neighbors, promote their offerings, and grow their local customer base.
Facebook, with its vast user base and sophisticated advertising platform, can be a gold mine for small businesses. Over the years, Facebook Ads has evolved significantly in terms of effectiveness and user-friendliness, making it a go-to platform for businesses of all sizes.
Facebook Ads operates on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model, similar to other online advertising platforms. This means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. However, what sets Facebook Ads apart is the ability to include images or videos in your ads. This multimedia approach not only makes your ads more engaging but also ensures that even if users don't click on your ad, they still see your message, providing valuable exposure.
Unlike platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads, which primarily target user behavior, Facebook Ads allows businesses to target users based on demographic information and interests. This means you can tailor your ads to reach the exact audience you want. Whether you're targeting millennials interested in sustainable fashion or parents of toddlers who enjoy outdoor activities, Facebook's unmatched targeting capabilities can help you reach your ideal audience.
In addition to its powerful targeting capabilities, Facebook is continually innovating its advertising platform. One of its recent developments is the video ad platform, which aims to rival YouTube. Video ads on Facebook can be a highly effective way to engage with your audience, as they allow you to convey more information and evoke stronger emotions compared to text or image ads.
Facebook Advertising offers a powerful and versatile platform for small businesses. With its sophisticated targeting capabilities, multimedia ad options, and ongoing innovations, Facebook can help businesses reach their target audience, engage with them effectively, and achieve their marketing goals.
Twitter, known for its real-time updates and trending topics, has long been a platform for advertising. However, the cost of promoted tweets and trends was often prohibitive for small businesses. Recognizing this, Twitter launched a small business advertising program, making it more affordable for small businesses to advertise on the platform.
Twitter Advertising operates on a bidding system, similar to other online advertising platforms. Businesses set a budget and only pay when users interact with their ads, making it a cost-effective solution for small businesses.
While Twitter Advertising may not yet be known for delivering a high return on investment, it's important to note that the platform is continually evolving. Twitter is actively exploring ways to make advertising more effective for businesses, leading to the introduction of innovative features.
One such feature is Twitter Cards, which allow businesses to attach rich media to tweets. Twitter Cards can include images, videos, and links, making your tweets more engaging and interactive. This can help increase visibility and engagement, potentially leading to higher conversion rates.
Twitter is also experimenting with e-commerce features, allowing users to purchase products directly from tweets. This feature, if fully implemented, could transform Twitter into a powerful platform for direct sales, making it an even more attractive option for businesses.
While Twitter Advertising may still be finding its footing, it offers promising features for businesses. With its affordable advertising program for small businesses and ongoing innovations, Twitter presents a dynamic platform for businesses to reach and engage with their audience.
LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network, offers a unique advertising platform that's particularly beneficial for businesses in the B2B sector or those offering professional services. LinkedIn Ads allows businesses to reach a highly professional audience, making it an ideal platform for targeting other businesses and professionals.
LinkedIn Ads operates on a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) model, similar to other online advertising platforms. However, the CPC on LinkedIn tends to be higher than most other platforms. While this may initially seem like a disadvantage, it's important to consider the quality of the audience you're reaching. LinkedIn users are typically professionals or business decision-makers, meaning that while the cost may be higher, the potential return on investment can be significant.
One of the key strengths of LinkedIn Ads is its targeting capabilities. LinkedIn has a wealth of data on its users, including their industry, job title, company size, and more. This allows businesses to create highly targeted ads that reach the exact audience they want to connect with. For instance, if you're a software company offering a solution for HR professionals, you can target your ads specifically to HR managers and directors in certain industries or company sizes.
Furthermore, LinkedIn's advertising platform is user-friendly, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes. Whether you're new to online advertising or an experienced marketer, you can create and manage your ad campaigns on LinkedIn with ease.
If you're in the B2B sector or offer professional services, LinkedIn Ads can be a powerful tool in your online advertising strategy. By leveraging LinkedIn's detailed targeting options and professional audience, you can reach high-value clients and drive significant results for your business.
Pinterest stands out in the social media landscape as a platform dedicated to discovery and inspiration. Users turn to Pinterest to explore new ideas, find inspiration for various aspects of their lives, and curate their interests. This unique user behavior makes Pinterest an ideal platform for businesses to reach an audience that's actively seeking new ideas and inspiration.
With Pinterest Ads, businesses can create Promoted Pins to reach this engaged audience. Promoted Pins are regular Pins that businesses pay to promote, ensuring they reach more people and get more visibility. These Pins appear in the most relevant places, such as in search results or related Pins.
Pinterest Ads cater to various marketing goals, making it a versatile platform for businesses:
- Awareness: If your goal is to increase brand awareness, you can use Promoted Pins to reach a wider audience and introduce your brand to potential customers.
- Engagement: If you want to boost engagement, Pinterest Ads can help drive interactions. Users can save your Promoted Pins to their boards, comment on them, or click to visit your website.
- Traffic: If driving traffic to your website is your goal, Promoted Pins can be an effective tool. Users who find your Pins interesting can click on them to visit your website, increasing your site's traffic.
Pinterest is particularly effective for businesses targeting women and those that can create visually appealing graphics. Given that a significant portion of Pinterest's user base is female and the platform's focus on visual content, businesses that meet these criteria often find Pinterest to be a top-performing ad platform.
Moreover, Pinterest provides robust social analytics, allowing businesses to measure the success of their ad campaigns. These insights can help you understand how your Promoted Pins are performing and how users are engaging with your content, enabling you to refine your strategy and maximize your return on investment.
Pinterest Advertising offers a unique opportunity to reach an audience that's actively seeking inspiration and new ideas. By creating visually appealing Promoted Pins that align with your marketing goals, you can effectively engage with this audience and drive meaningful results for your business.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, presents a unique opportunity for businesses to engage with their audience through visually captivating content. As a platform that thrives on images and videos, Instagram Advertising is particularly beneficial for businesses with visually appealing products or services.
With Instagram Advertising, you can create image ads that showcase your products in a visually engaging manner, or video ads that tell a more comprehensive story about your brand. These ads appear in users' feeds and stories, seamlessly integrating with organic content and providing a non-disruptive user experience.
One of the significant advantages of Instagram Advertising is the ability to manage your ad campaigns directly from the Facebook Ad Manager. This means you can create, run, and track your Instagram ads in the same place you manage your Facebook ads, providing a streamlined experience.
In the Facebook Ad Manager, you can select Instagram as a placement for your ads. This means your ads will be shown to Instagram users who fit your target audience criteria. This feature is particularly beneficial as it allows you to reach the vast Instagram user base, even if you don't have an Instagram account for your business. However, it's recommended to have an Instagram account to fully leverage the platform's features and to engage with your audience organically.
Instagram Advertising offers a unique opportunity to leverage visual content and engage with a highly engaged audience. Whether you're showcasing a product, telling your brand's story, or reaching out to a new audience, Instagram's advertising platform can be a powerful tool in your online advertising strategy.
Online advertising works
Relative to traditional advertising like newspaper ads and direct mail, paid online advertising is very efficient. The thing I like best about advertising online is that you can see exactly where your money is going and if it's generating an ROI that makes sense for you. I also like that fact that it's usually a pay for performance scenario, where you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad and visits your website. Image if you only paid for your newspaper ad if someone called or walked through your front door? The newspapers would go bankrupt!
Final note, paid advertising should coincide with your organic marketing efforts (Search Engine Optimization), you should really be doing both as the two of them working together can bring awesome results for you business. Have questions about paid advertising online and how to get started? Contact me here to learn more about how we can help
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