bri--compass w $ cleaner 2This list is meant to act as a compass to help business owners move in the right direction with their online marketing. The facts and principles included are ones that are very foundational, and should be understood by anyone who wants to be successful with promoting and advertising their business online.

 

On Websites

  • Your website is the number one place for people to learn more about your products, services, and business.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of making your website as effective as possible. Good is never good enough! Even a small increase in its effectiveness could significantly affect your bottom line.
  • Get help from your family, friends, and customers to make a list of possible improvements you could make to your website.
  • Make sure that you have these three elements showing in a prominent way on your homepage–without visitors having to scroll: relevance, value, and a call to action.
  • On relevance— the first job of your website is to make visitors feel like they are in the right place. It should have the look and feel of a credible and established business.
  • On value— don’t make your visitors have to look around to find the value you offer. Display it prominently where they can see it immediately.
  • On call-to-action— think about what you want your website visitors to do, and then tell them to do it.
  • Use images of human faces, especially conveying emotion. The power of images should not be underestimated.  We are naturally drawn to images of people’s faces. You will probably want to show happy faces of people who have enjoyed or benefited from your products or services. They tell a story that says, “our customers are happy”.
  • It is imperative that your website be user-friendly on a mobile phone device. The best way to accomplish this is by having what’s known as a “responsive” website that adjusts the layout depending on the device used by the website visitor.

Search vs. Display Advertising

  • Most online advertising opportunities can be classified as either “search advertising,” or “display advertising.”
  • Search advertising is when you want your ad to appear on a search engine results page after someone searches for your type of product or service.
  • Display advertising is to simply have ads show around content on the web. In this scenario, no one is searching for anything. They are simply reading an article or looking at some other type of content. Your ad is an attempt to capture their attention and interest.
  • Facebook advertising is display advertising (for the most part) because no one is searching, they are simply looking at posts from their friends and family.
  • Google offers tremendous opportunities for both search and display advertising.
  • Google has something called the “Google Display Network,” which is a network of millions of websites, tens of thousands of mobile apps, and even computer gaming systems.  Through the Google AdWords platform, advertisers can run display advertising campaigns.

On Search Advertising

  • The most popular search engines are Google, Bing, and Yahoo– in that order.  However, when you do a search on Yahoo, you will mostly see results that come from Bing.
  • If you do a search for something local, you will generally get three types of results: advertisements, local business listings, and organic listings.
  • Organic listings are simply pages the search engine thinks you might be interested in.  It displays and ranks the pages in an order based on relevance and credibility factors.
  • Local business listings are not webpages, but actual businesses the search engine thinks you might be interested in. It displays and ranks the businesses in an order based on relevance and credibility factors.
  • Advertisements are set up through campaigns in Google AdWords (for Google searches), or BingAds (for Bing and Yahoo searches).  These platforms are extremely complicated, but very clever systems that offer tremendous opportunities for visibility.

On Facebook Advertising

  • The key benefit to Facebook advertising is that it allows you to get a message in someone’s News Feed, which is a valuable real estate for getting their attention. (The News Feed is where people look to see posts from their friends and family members.)
  • There are several predefined objectives to choose from when placing Facebook ads, such as: getting more likes on your Page, getting engagement with your posts, and getting clicks to your website.
  • There is a massive array of targeting options available, such as demographic, interest, income level, parental status, marital status, education level, and much more.
  • Facebook has become a video powerhouse, and now competes with YouTube for the number of videos watched every day.
  • Facebook advertising is extremely cost effective.  Hundreds of people (or more) can see your ad for every dollar spent.

On YouTube

  • YouTube is used in different ways by different people. Advertisers can take several different approaches to getting exposure on YouTube.
  • YouTube is the second most searched website in the world, after Google.com.
  • YouTube offers many opportunities for display advertising, but also offers a type of advertising that is called “in stream,” which means your video ad can play before other videos on YouTube.
  • YouTube advertising is also very cost effective because of the tremendous amount of ad inventory available, and relatively low competition levels.

On Analytics/Tracking

  • For marketing to go from good to great, it is absolutely necessary to have tracking systems in place to measure the results of different efforts. Google Analytics is a free and extremely powerful tool for helping advertisers understand what is working, and what isn’t working on their website and through advertising efforts.
  • Phone call tracking can be another very valuable tool for knowing the results from different marketing approaches.

Miscellaneous

  • Keep these words in mind when considering your entire online presence: visibility and credibility.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of new reviews and testimonials for your business. This is very important now, and will become even more important in the future.
  • Don’t expect to get immediate results from any type of advertising.  It’s the cumulative effect of your efforts over time that will lead to growth.
  • This passage (written in the 1800s) teaches a very good lesson that we should all remember about advertising: “The reader of a newspaper does not see the first mention of an ordinary advertisement; the second insertion he sees, but does not read; the third insertion he reads; the fourth insertion, he looks at the price; the fifth insertion, he speaks of it to his wife; the sixth insertion, he is ready to purchase, and the seventh insertion, he purchases.”