Einstein said “You have to learn the rules of the game, and then you have to play better than anyone else” and this applies to internet advertising.
There’s no doubt it is a very cost-effective way of getting your site or product known on the internet, but it has to be done with careful forethought and planning.
People tend to tune out advertising offline. We barely notice it at all. It’s on shops, buses, trucks, placards, billboards and in any kind of magazine or publication we buy. On TV we go to the bathroom or do anything other than watch advertising.
The internet is getting to be the same. So how can you advertise and get noticed, without being obtrusive and annoying?
If your company has a nicely designed banner, you could go to a banner exchange and look to place your banner on someone else’s site, in exchange for displaying theirs. It’s a great idea, but have you seen those sites that have six or seven banners flashing away all over their home pages?
They look terrible, all vying for attention. In most cases a visitor will simply click away in horror. Will your ad be one of those if you do a link exchange with someone else? Maybe it didn’t cost you very much, but it’s not actually getting you any customers, so what’s the point? Also the search engines can “see” all that mess, and you may be penalized if there are too many ads on your site.
So what to do? Like Einstein said, you have to play the game better than anyone else. That’s a little difficult with internet advertising, but at least you can see what your opposition is doing!
Do a little intelligence gathering and visit your competitor’s websites, see how they are approaching the problem. Check their Alexa ranking as a very rough guide and see how many visitors they are getting and where they are coming from, and track back from that.
You can get into your opponent’s locker room and find out his game plan that way!
Whenever you can, try to advertise in unique but relevant places but don’t overdo it. Try to build your advertising so it appears helpful and enticing, not just BUY THIS in flashing lights.
Build your brand subtly and don’t write off simple link exchanges as too small to be useful. They actually work extremely well and are not as “in your face” as big flashing banners. Text links will also help build your rankings as backlinks, just make sure they are in a good position, are appropriate and in context. Make sure you keep track of them and keep a regular eye on them in case they disappear, break or get moved. You won’t benefit either from putting someone else’s text link on your front page in exchange for a link they put on a tier three page way down on the bottom.
Remember to put a link to your site in all the emails you send out, you would be surprised how many emails go out without any links to the originator’s site. Business cards are cheap, so always put your website address on your card, there are some people out there who don’t. It’s crazy to miss out on any opportunity to advertise your site for free!
Offline marketing should not be dismissed either. If you can advertise in a printed publication with a large circulation and put your web address in the ad, you may be surprised at the hits you’ll get.
Like Mr. Einstein said, you have to play the game better than anyone else.
Any great tips on advertising? The playing field is looking like the stands these days – so how can you get seen? We would love to hear your comments.