Terrific Time for Traffic Series – Internet Advertising Options
With the Internet becoming the channel of choice for businesses and consumers to research products and services they are in market for, having a website that is easily discoverable is more important today than ever. Internet advertising options provide great opportunities to lead qualified visitors to your website early in their purchase journey.
Like shopping malls and strip centers, websites rely on traffic to generate sales and leads. It might surprise you to know that more than half of all US residents and more than 75% of all US adults are online today. Source: Us Census Bureau, May 2011.
Business websites need traffic to add value and deliver ROI – Internet advertising can provide targeted traffic
In fact, 35% of US consumers spend more than three hours online every day (Source: The Media Audit, October 2010). I am sure the numbers today skew higher. It’s like the old proverb says, “if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” The analogy here is, if a website exists on the Internet but there are no mechanisms for people to discover the website, does it exist?
This post is part of a series that will discuss strategies to reach targeted markets with laser precision. Included in this series will be recommended Internet marketing and Internet advertising tactics. While writing the initial piece, the need to chunk the content into digestible posts quickly became clear. With that, the Terrific Time for Traffic series was born.
One of the biggest challenges that business owners face online or off is to be found. Discovery of a new website can be especially challenging. Business owners ask how can we cost-effectively market our website on the Internet? Another related question is how can we quickly ramp up website visitors? Not just any visitors, but targeted visitors otherwise known as qualified prospects? How can we connect with those businesses and consumers researching purchases online for the very products and services we offer?
The question is will these businesses and consumers in market for the products and services sold by your business find your website? If they don’t find your website, won’t they likely find your competitor’s website? This is a huge challenge for new businesses and for business whose name and brand are not currently well-known in the market.
Business owners have many Internet advertising options available to lead online researchers to their products and services on their business website, including:
Internet advertising and Internet marketing options to drive targeted, qualified visitors to your website
- Purchasing advertisements on search engines where ads are shown for search term bid on for placement in the paid search results.
- Purchasing display advertisements on websites; these can be contextually targeted based on context (what type of site they are on) or behavioral factors such as show ads to those who have already visited your website (remarketing)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website, mostly accomplished through obtaining non-paid links from other authoritative websites to your. These links are required to rank well for user searches that are relevant to the products and services offered by your business. More on this topic in an upcoming segment.
- Issuing press releases with links to your website; this can provide huge value if/when the press release get picked up by mainstream news outlets or niche news outlets in the case of a more targeted release.
- Writing and publishing articles and posting those articles to article directories with links to your website; this practice is referred to as Article Marketing. Other places to publish include newspapers, magazines and other publications looking for relevant content.
- Commenting on blogs whose content is contextually relevant to your website, focusing on blogs that allow you to link back to your website in the comments form. Avoid automated commenting software or leaving spam comments.
- Inter-linking multiple websites owned by the same company to create a network of websites, focusing on carefully worded links with preferred placement. This practice can also be viewed as risky as search engines may view as an attempt to manipulate search results, risking possible ranking penalties.
- Purchasing targeted advertising on social media networks such as facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook and LinkedIn offer self-serve options including the ability to target your ads to specific user demographics and geographies (more on this in subsequent posts).
- e-mail marketing with messages that contain links back to your website; email marketing is safest when using a double opt-in list to avoid email marketing pitfalls.
- Listing your website in search engines and local directories under your business category or categories.
- Creating social media profiles and then using those profiles/pages to promote your products and services while networking and engaging potential clients online.
- Referencing the website address (e.g. www.eBizROI.com) in all marketing materials and communications, both online and offline.
- Purchasing text links to your website from other websites whose content is relevant to your products and services; Caution: negative impacts on search engine rankings a risk with purchased links.
- Create a blog and post content of interest to your target market which, according to HubSpot, a leading supplier of marketing software, results in obtaining 97% more inbound links that websites without a blog – Source: Hubspot, State Of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report, 2010. Blogging also adds value to your clients while building trust.
- Too many more to list without needing to break this first post in the series into a series itsel, but you get the idea.
The key takeaway is that If you are a business owner, marketing manager or CMO with a marketing budget and better yet, an Internet advertising/marketing budget, there has never been more options for businesses, large and small, to target and reach well-defined niche(s) online efficiently and effectively.
In the next post in the Terrific Time for Traffic series, we will discuss data points that demonstrate the breadth of US Internet users and how they rely on search engines over 50% of the time to begin researching products and services that they are in the market for.
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