Promoting sites is a tricky business, but nonetheless, definitely worth it. Here is an article I wrote recently, Online Advertising 101. Not sure, but it may help you a little in deciding. You didn't say whether you were new to this or if you were looking for "only" free ways to promote so I thought you may be interested in a different type of answer
Having been in the online advertising field for a couple of years now, I’d like to share with you these tips and all too common mistakes I see when my clients place online advertising. Below are the 10 most common misconceptions, mistakes, and errors I take every effort to correct for my clients. I am here to make you more aware, educated, and confident in your ability to place online advertising.
MYTH #1 “Build it and they will come”
This old saying will get you what you are starting with and that answer is….nothing, nata, zip, zilch, and zero. While yes, a website is a great selling tool, having a website will NOT guarantee sales. So what’s your best way to do this? The answer is simple…think of who you’d like to visit or your website (formally, your target market) and ultimately purchase from you and then start researching the sites where these people will be. Want an example? Of course! Let’s say that you are in the business of selling candles. What type of websites would you target to place your ads? The answer is websites that people who are known candles users are! Be creative and break the norm….are you targeting women? Yes. Aren’t they usually a family’s number one purchaser, gift buyer, and home decorator? Probably. So, there you go…your search is already narrowed down to sites that offer gift giving tips, home decorating content and info, and perhaps other non-compe***ive gift sites. The “Build it and they will come” era is over…those who dare to be unique, creative, and bold in their online advertising will definitely reap better results than those who don’t.
MYTH #2 “I don’t have the money to advertise effectively”
Let me just make this one short…you don’t have the money to NOT advertise effectively. If you want to stay in business and build a customer base (and repeat customers at that) you WILL have to advertise. The key word here is “effectively” and that brings us to number three.
MYTH #3 “I’ll advertise when I have the money and after I’ve gotten established”
Here’s a little hint…..by that time all your compe***ors will have advertised already and will be well on their way to making their business work for them and their reasons for doing so. My advice? Even if you only have $10 a month…use it wisely and be consistent and repe***ive. Which, by the way brings us up to myth number four.
MYTH #4 “A little dab will do ya”
In the advertising world, this will not work. Think of it this way, if I spoke to you for oh, let’s say 30 seconds on the phone would I really know all about you and your business? Absolutely not. If I spoke to you several times on the phone and each time our conversation increased by that 30 seconds would I get to know you a little better? Probably. This holds true to your online advertising (and any advertising for that matter) as well. Placing one type of ad and then expecting to be bogged down with customers is a complete misconception. Be consistent and be repe***ive. Again, even if you only spend $10 a week on advertising, do it regularly. This will increase your exposure to your audience and therefore build your name, your businesses’ name and the correlation between the two.
MYTH #5 “Online advertising doesn’t work”
Oh, contraire, my friend….it definitely does! Companies spend billions of dollars each year reaching people online. They don’t do it to be nice, or think that you love pop-up and email ads. They do it because it works. Now don’t get me wrong…there are some ways in which you probably won’t get the best of results (such as spamming people), but there are also ways in which you will.
Online advertising results are often on the negative side of non-seasoned advertisers. I strongly feel that this is because of two faults. 1. The advertiser doesn’t know or realize what to expect from their ads and 2. The advertiser feels that if they’ve spent money and placed ads business will come. I work hard to educate my clients (and prospective clients) and am always upfront, honest, and real when communicating with them on what may work best for their business. Anyone with whom you are placing ads with should be the same to you. They should answer all of your questions, never give you a specific result of what you will gain for advertising with them (For example, a dollar figure in sales, a specific number of leads, traffic, etc.), and always, and I repeat always do their best in making you feel comfortable and understanding of the ads you are placing.
MYTH #6 “If I spend a large amount of money on getting a big pretty ad made, my results will be two-fold.”
While spending money on having your ad professionally created may definitely help you in attracting some attention, you had better be sure what your ad reads backs it up. For example, more than one of my clients has hired an ad agency to create a beautiful pictured ad for them only to have the text read something like this, “Hi, I’m Mary and I’m your Company ABC Consultant.” And then the ad lists the person’s website. I’m practically in tears for my client by this time. Now, if the same beautiful ad read something like this….”Mmmmm….Smell That?! It’s Coconut Bay candles on sale at Company ABC!” and then read something like, “Call me! I’ve got plenty to go round!” and THEN listed the consultant’s website, phone number, and email address. Which do you think would have gotten better results? I don’t think I need to answer that. Point being…unless you’re Nike, Toys R Us, or Wal-Mart, don’t use your business name as the heading of your ad.
MYTH #7 “I want to run an email campaign, but it reads here that my ad will go out to 47,000 people. I don’t think I can handle that volume even if I wanted to.”
What?! You can handle all the volume you can get right? Right! I don’t think I’d ever worry about having too many customers but plenty of people do. Advertising is a very slow process and the actual results of an ad that went out to this many people would astound you. Would it peak more people’s interest than 15,000? Yes. Does it mean that even 10% of those people will call? No. Once again, this leads me to myth number eight.
MYTH #8 “Online advertising is too expensive”
Nope. Not if you do your homework. Do yourself a favor and research the norm for online advertising. Also research everything you can about your potential advertising venue(s) BEFORE you purchase advertising.
MYTH #9 “This online advertising stuff is too complicated for me”
Nothing would come out of online advertising if absolutely everyone learned the ropes and was successful now would it? Online advertising isn’t any different from learning how to place any other advertising and once you get it down, you’ll be a much happier business owner. As I stated above, if you are contemplating advertising with Company X and they won’t answer all your questions before doing so…let that be an indication to you and move on. In order to get your business, they need to make you feel comfortable and educate you on their company, their advertising inventory, and what they can offer to you and your business.
And…last but not least MYTH #10 “I got ripped off or no response from a site that boasted they receive over 1,000,000 hits a month!”
Yep, you probably did, but not because they lied about the number of hits they receive. It’s because ONE and I repeat ONE webpage can have several, no multiple, no even a hundred hits on it. Yes, it’s true….many online publishers will boast their stats in a big way. How do you determine what these things mean? Do your homework. I’ll leave you with the inside scoop….you want to know how a website’s traffic by asking about their “pageviews” (which is the number of webpages that are viewed by their visitors in a month) or what their “unique visitors” (which is the number of people that actually come to the site as one person could easily view four pages on the site each visit, etc.) are. These are more beneficial to you and will give you a better idea on what your advertising dollars will produce for you.
So, there they are…the top ten myth’s I’ve run into when talking with my clients and working in this wonderful online advertising industry. I hope they were of help to you as you contemplate what will work for you and promoting your sites