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Tuesday, 10 June 2014 12:12

Online Marketing Part II: How the Paid Stuff Works

Knowing your audience is the key to successful online marketing. We explored a little in part one, some of the things you can do to help grow your online business that costs you nothing but the commitment of your time. To make the most of your online marketing strategy, there are a few basic principles to follow:

 

Actively Participate – One of the questions you might be asking is whether online marketing should be a part of your strategy. One way to answer that question is go back to your target market analysis (which you will find in part one). If you learn that your customers (or potential customers) are online, then some form of online engagement is necessary.

You might decide to try free online strategies to test the waters at first (the details are in part one) or you may decide to dive straight in with a paid campaign.

Whatever your choice, the decision to actively participate will increase exposure to your potential customers.

Be Conscientious – Once you have made the decision to use an online marketing strategy then be conscientious in your delivery. For instance, it is estimated that 95% of all blogs have been abandoned, creating a virtual ghost metropolis of derelict sites. Nothing could be more dispiriting for people who are looking for something that you might be able to help them with.

So once you’ve made the commitment to adopt an online strategy, make sure you follow through.

Be Prolific – Online marketing is like standing in a crowded street market and calling for attention. It will take a while for people to notice you. But once they realise that you are a regular fixture you will build up a following which attracts more people.

Online marketing is not a one-time affair, it requires a commitment to regularly participate and fine tune your message. So regularly blog or comment on suitable web sites and keep benchmarking the success of your online advertising.

Be Strategic – It is tempting to throw in everything, including the kitchen sink in developing any marketing program, but the most effective campaigns are always strategic.

The people behind successful campaigns know exactly who they are targeting, why they are targeting them and how to reach the target. Keeping this in mind will help you maximise your return on investment.

Be Results Focused – Have your goal in mind. What results would you like to achieve? Are they reasonable? How do you know? The essential step of research undertaken at the above step will answer those three questions and give you a time frame to ‘test and measure’ your campaign.

Don’t forget to give your idea enough time to be a success, but also don’t be afraid to fine tune it based on feedback.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the paid online marketing models:

Local Online Directories (some might be free) – just about every community has an online local directory (some even more than one!). Many of these directories offer a free initial listing, so even if you’re planning to adopt a ‘cost-free’ strategy, adding your name to the directory is a quick and easy way of having an additional online presence.

Depending on how popular your local online directory is (don’t forget to ask the sales representative for these details), it may be worth trialling a paid listing.

Pay-per-click Advertising – A lot of online advertising, including Google Ad Words, works on this model.

How it works is simple – you set an overall marketing budget of (for instance) $100 for the month.

The online marketing manager for the site (or the network of web sites) will tell you the rate per click – for example, $1 per click. Once your $100 budget has been used – which could take one day or the whole month – your ad is not seen again until the new month.

Google Ad Words has an additional step and in many respects operates like an auction.

Once you have set your campaign budget, you select a series of keywords that your target market may use to find you (or one of your products).

Each of those keywords is assigned a monetary value by you (for example 1 word = 50 cents). This is the bit where the auction come in. If a competitor makes the same keyword $1, they’re going to be given priority by Google, forcing you to nominate a higher price per keyword to improve your paid ranking.

Some search words are so popular that they attract a premium price and that means a lot of competition.

Trivia Alert – the three most expensive Good AdWords are: Insurance ($54.91), Loans ($44.28) and Mortgage ($47.12).

The advantage of pay-per-click advertising is the least a guarantee of an initial response (the click through). After the click through, it is important that your message is focused and has a strong call to action in order to get results (see our Call To Action marketing article).

Page impression advertising – This is a lot like traditional advertising – your ad is guaranteed to appear a certain number of times and the price is based on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) page views.

Unlike off-line advertising, your advertising network should offer you dynamically updated statistics to show how your campaign is faring, including how many times your ad has been seen and how many people have clicked through from it.

Geoadvertising – This is an increasingly popular form of online marketing and it makes perfect sense. Despite your potential customer base being worldwide, many people want to talk to someone local – why shouldn’t that someone be you?

Google is increasingly tailoring its search program to recognise where a searcher is located and will highlight businesses which are geographically close.

It is a service directly available from Google, so it is worth checking the current terms and conditions to see if your business qualifies.

SMS/MMS mobile advertising – This is becoming popular as technology changes and smart phones become more common. While most people don’t mind an ad or two while they’re surfing the web, they’re less in favour of advertising appearing at random on their phones.

However, SMS/MMS mobile advertising is a good way of sending text messages to your current clients to remind them to reorder or to let them know about specials.