Google Ad Scoring Flowchart

Today’s guest post is written by Dominick Frasso

Every company knows they need to devote some of their advertising resources to the web.

The question isn’t whether or not you need to be using it, it’s “how?”

The fact is, you can spend a lot of money on techniques that produce little to nothing in the way of results. Moreover, what works for one business won’t necessarily work for another.

If you’re going to make effective use of your advertising dollars, you need to properly define what it is you’ve set out to do.

Following are five priorities to consider when developing an online advertising campaign.

1. Identify your goals. Internet advertising usually falls into one of three categories:

  • Actual sales. You might want to drive traffic to a website where they can make a purchase.
  • Leads. You might be simply gathering leads for your sales team at this point.
  • Brand awareness. Some advertising serves simply to put your business’ name in front of those potential movers and shakers in your industry.

The purpose of a given campaign will, to a large degree, determine the methods you use to make it happen.

For example, if you’re interested in making direct sales or gathering leads, you might consider a Google AdWords campaign. These campaigns drive traffic directly to your landing page, where you can then work to bring about a specific response.

If you’re more interested in brand awareness, a social media marketing campaign might be more appropriate. You can connect with customers, provide new product information, and promote your brand without expecting a specific and narrow response.

2. Where is the hub of your Internet presence? Some businesses today are treating Facebook as their primary Internet presence, for example. Companies whose websites are fairly static and don’t need to be updated on any kind of regular basis will instead engage customers and potential customers via social media.

On the other hand, your existing website might be the primary hub for information about and interaction with your company on the Internet. If so, your marketing efforts will be more about gathering customers and potential customers and the funneling them into your website.

3. How your customers would prefer to interact with you. This one can be a little more difficult to identify, but in the end it can mean a huge payoff for your campaigns. If, for example, your company primarily serves other businesses, a Facebook advertising campaign might not be terribly effective. You might consider developing a strong LinkedIn profile and advertising strategy there, instead.

Understanding your target demographic and identifying their Internet use patterns ensures you can more effectively get your message in front of those users, and increases the likelihood they’ll respond.

4. Integrate with your other marketing efforts. Internet advertising doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is driven by, and complements, your overall marketing strategy. For example, if your goal is to get customers to visit your website, your print media campaigns might prominently feature your URL, and encourage readers to visit. Or, if your goal is to get people to a retail location, your  online presence will be geared toward the physical location.

Your online advertising should happen in concert with your other advertising efforts, not against them.

5. Your resources. If you have the ability to bring an SEO expert on staff, your priorities are going to be a lot different than if you have one PR person managing the program. The same holds true for your budget; if you have little in the way of money to spend, you need to find inexpensive media and methods to use.

Internet advertising can be a tremendous boon to your business, if done correctly. The days of the Yellow Pages are long gone, and tomorrow’s business leaders are those that can master their online presence. When you set out to define your priorities, start with these five areas and work outward from there.

Dominick Frasso is SEO/SEM specialist at Vistage International, a membership organization that helps CEOs build successful companies through business coaching groups, executive coaching and executive development opportunities.

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