Small Business Internet Advertising: What Are Your Options?

Small business Internet advertising can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. You have many options, both paid and free, that can bring you sufficient targeted traffic to make sales.

One huge issue for new business owners is the cost of advertising. They often start out with a small budget that barely covers their web site costs. From this, they feel that buying advertising is the best way or perhaps they believe it’s the only way to get the word out.

They often overlook the fact that there are other means to get the same results that are highly cost effective. This is where Internet marketing and advertising cross paths.

First, let’s take a look at your paid options.

You can spend your money online with pay per click ads, banner ads, classified and solo ads. Some top PPC services include Google, MSN, Yahoo! Miva and, more recently, Bing. These enable you to place ads in the search results on the search engines, as well as on web sites within your target market.

The down side is that you have to know what you are doing in building your ads and landing pages or you could spend a lot of money with these options. Also, when people see ads, they know you want to sell them something, which can limit how many will actually click your ads.

You can buy offline advertising in phone books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, or on billboards and other places. You can print out flyers and business cards that you can then distribute to your target market. Mail offers advertising packages as well that can be directed at your specific audience.

These are long-standing traditional methods that still work today because you can reach people who are online and those who are not.

Which method you choose depends in large part on your budget and which option will work best for your business and your niche. Some will work better than others. The only way to find out which are most appropriate is to simply test them, one at a time if necessary. Or code all of your ads and marketing materials so that you know immediately which ones brought you traffic and sales.

Next, let’s look at free options.

Advertising on web sites in your niche can be achieved without PPC. You can do it with your articles. This process takes some work because you will need to find the sites in your niche and then approach each webmaster about putting your article on that site. Because articles are not viewed as ads by the public, they tend to get more attention and can lead to more clicks.

Another way to market with articles is to submit them to the top article directories and allow people to use those articles on their own sites. This does the same as we just discussed, except the article directories automate the system for you.

The trick is to produce articles that people ‘want’ to publish on their sites. If your articles do not offer unique information, they will be ignored. There are a few things you can do to make sure this happens.

1. Target each article to a keyword.

2. Put that keyword in the title and the content.

3. Make the article readable, with short sentences and lots of white space.

4. Provide quality information

5. Make sure the articles are original (not PLR or copied from other sites)

6. Write an effective title that draws attention and entices people to read

Social media is another popular form of free promotion for your business. This is a little difficult for some people to grasp, especially when we talk about sites like Twitter. Can you really succeed by posting there? The same question applies to blogs.

The secret is to hit all the hot spots. In other words, give people what they want. For this, you must know your target market. Find out what they’re looking for and how your offers can fill that need. Then, advertise it to them in a way that they can grasp quickly. Twitter and blogs are the ideal media for short, precise promotions.

If you can do that, you will grab their attention. Word will spread. People will begin to look for your next Tweet, blog post or comment. Show them that you have the answer and then send them to a suitable landing page. That page must be equally precise and targeted, detailing what your offer can do, how quickly it can do it, and how easy your visitors can get their hands on it.

Blogs are popular for this because the search engines, Google for instance, really like them. The content is usually refreshed on a regular basis. This means that your blog can appear at the top of the results every day, just when your customers are looking and where they will find it.

Commenting on related blogs provides similar exposure. If the blog is frequently visited and has a large number of comments and blog posts, you can be certain it will be popular in the search results. Those are the ones you want to target.

Lastly, you can advertise via your own web site. This can be a blog or a static web page that is monetized. You monetize your site with AdSense ads, banner ads, and affiliate ads. If your site is getting a large quantity of visitors, you can sell advertising to other marketers for a steady monthly income.

Having your own web site is almost a necessity today. Article directories do not always allow affiliate links in your resource box. If you are an affiliate marketer, you have to send your readers somewhere else first. That would be your web site. There, you can give them more valuable information, perhaps through a small downloadable guide, before directing them to the affiliate sales page.

These are just a few of the options available to you. Small business Internet advertising doesn’t have to cost you a bundle, yet still bring you the profits you desire.

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