Step by step guide to online advertising
You have heard so much about online advertising and would like to be part of it. Online is a great medium for promoting your products and services. In short, it is
- and can give immediate results
But where do you start?
Here you will find simple step by step guide to online advertising.
Step 1: define your marketing objectives
Just like in every project you want to define your objectives and goals before you decide to take it on. As a marketer your objective might be to generate sales leads for your sales team or increase brand awareness. Both of these objectives can be achieved through online marketing.
Step 2: define your target audience
The internet is full of web pages that are viewed by millions of people every day. You obviously do not want to reach all of them – only those that are likely to have an interest in your product, service or brand.
Step 3: decide how to reach your target audience
As soon as you have defined your target audience you need to decide how you’re going to reach them online. Here are some ways to do it:
- email newsletters
- search engines
Websites should be able to quote number of unique users, visits and page impressions they receive per month. These statistics will help you to understand the size of the audience (unique users), how frequently the audience is using the site (visits) and how many pages the audience view while visiting the site (page impressions).
Some websites can also give you more information about their audience through their visitor demographics.
ICIS offers a number of solutions to help you reach your audience:
Step 4: Decide on the budget
There are number of pricing models for online advertising. Usually websites quote their advertising rates as a cost per thousand page impressions (CPM, M standing for mille which means one thousand). This means that for the quoted cost you will receive one thousand page impressions of visibility. E-newsletters usually charge per email sent.
Step 5: Decide on the advertising tactic
As soon as you have decided on the advertising vehicle you might want to revisit your marketing objectives. Whether your marketing objective is to increase brand awareness or generate sales leads you can achieve these objectives online.
Advertising on websites such as icis.com or e-newsletters are good ways to increase brand awareness. You can decide between different advertising positions such as:
A leader board is a large banner at the top of the web page. It is highly visible to the website visitor and gives you lots of space for your message.
A top banner is also positioned at the top of the web page but it is smaller than the leader board. It offers similar advantages for positioning but you are more limited by space for your message.
A skyscraper runs vertically at the side of the web page giving the advert visibility even when visitor scrolls down the page.
An MPU or mid page unit is a square box in the middle of the page content. It offers visibility when the visitor is engaged with the content on the site.
A button is a small square or rectangular box that is an inexpensive way to get your message across.
E-newsletters offer similar advertising positions to websites. As well as the ad slots you can also run advertorials on the ICIS e-newsletters. Advertorials are similar to articles. You can use a specific number of words to promote your products and services.
You can use web pages and e-newsletters for sales lead generation as well. Online search engines can also help you with this.
Most people are familiar with generic search engines such as Google or Yahoo but in a B2B environment you might want to be more specific and choose a vertical search engine such as ICIS search to reach your targeted audience.
Listings and advertising in vertical search engines offer you visibility when your target audience is looking for relevant products and services.
You can also use the web or e-newsletters to generate leads for your company.
One way to do this would be to capture enquirers contact details in exchange for giving them something of interest or value. For example, if your company has done some interesting research or has some relevant white papers these can be used for lead generation activity.
Step 6: Decide on the desired action
The great thing about online marketing is that it allows your audience to respond easily and quickly. If they want to find out more, they are just click away from additional information. But your advertisement needs to prompt them to act.
You just need to decide what the desired action should be. For example do you want them to:
- download a report or product brochure
- visit your web page
- contact you
- or, take a trial to the service you offer?
Defining the desired action helps you to decide where the visitor should be directed after they click on your advertisement. This destination is called the landing page.
Step 7: Design a great landing page
A landing page is a page where the visitor is directed after they click your advertisement. The landing page is crucial for the success of your campaign. If you promote a specific product or service you might want to avoid sending them to your generic home page where they have to look for information on the product or service you are promoting.
You want to make things easy for them and send them directly to information they are interested in. If you would like them to download a report or product brochure so that you can collect sales leads for your business you might want to send them to a data capture form that states the benefits of taking the time to complete the form.
Step 8: Design an online advertisement
The next step is designing you advertisement. Just like print ads online ads have design specifications that include the dimensions of the ad and size of the file.
Web advertisement sizes are stated in pixels. For example the top banner size on icis.com is 468 x 60 pixels, 468 being the width and 60 being the height. Web advertisements can be designed in different file formats such as gif and flash files. Not all web pages and e-newsletters can accept every file format so it is worth checking with your sales contact before your designer starts work on your ad.
There are a number of different types of web ads and they can be static or animated. As the names suggest, static ads don’t contain moving text or images whereas animated ads do. There are a vast number of other creative options that can be explored and tested.
Step 9: Run the campaign
Now you’re ready to go.
Through targeting, web advertising lets you reach a global audience or a more local audience according to your objectives. Websites such as icis.com offer you the opportunity of geographical targeting so for example, if you only want to target visitors from Europe you can do that. Targeting options can be discussed with our sales team.
Step 10: Track your campaign
Another great thing with online advertising is that you can track the success of your campaign. For example you’ll know how many times your ad was served (impressions) and how many times it was clicked – you’ll know the click through rate and the cost per click – measurements that can help you calculate your return on investment (ROI).
Step 11: Test, learn, refine
Once you have completed your online campaign and received campaign statistics the next step is to analyse how well you did, learn from the results and perhaps test something new next time. For example you might want to look at testing new advertising positions or other online media. Alternatively you might want to look into doing some A/B split testing of creative or messages to find out what delivers the best results.