Web Advertising Management Tips

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Are text ads effective marketing tools, or too old-fashioned?

Buy a text ad in an e-mail newsletter.

Small text ads in e-mail newsletters can give you real bang for your buck. Look for e-zines that are targeted at audiences that overlap with your target market, and shop around for attractive rates. Because most e-zines are run by small publishers and nontraditional publishers, they are less-sophisticated about their rate structures and you can find low-priced ad space. This space is another great opportunity to provide a link to your site, concise information about what your company does, or even current promotions and offers. Use your web metrics to calculate your ROI on ads run in email newsletters and e-zines. If one ad doesn't seem to be generating high site traffic, shop around for a new source in your target market.

Is PPC advertising very expensive?

Know your goals and plan you PPC campaign accordingly.

Pay Per Click can be as costly or as inexpensive as you want it to be. It all depends on how well you know your target audience, and how much you are willing to spend. When you are thinking about designing your campaign, collect as much information as you can about your audience, keywords, and even your competitors through internet market research and web site traffic analysis. With these variables in place, you can decide how many campaigns to run, what to focus on, and how much to spend.

Can I use PPC to test my new site?

Leverage Pay Per Click engines to inexpensively test new products in the online marketplace.

If you are launching a new product or even a new site, you will want to figure out what the best keywords will be. Purchasing some inexpensive, relevant search terms will let you drive some targeted traffic to your site to gauge how well your product or site will do in the marketplace. Based on the results of this kind of inexpensive test, you can make quick changes to your website or product description. Once you have fine-tuned these things, you can spend a larger amount of money on more expensive keywords for a PPC campaign and larger search engine optimization effort.

Which strategy works better for short term traffic generation goals? Long term?

Leverage a combination of PPC campaigns and SEO to achieve long- and short-term goals.

Pay Per Click advertising can generate traffic almost immediately, therefore using PPC engines is a solid short-term strategy for businesses entering the e-commerce arena, or wanting to create traffic to a new site or product, or needing to buoy their performance. However, PPC engines are becoming increasingly competitive and expensive, so it probably does not make sense for it to be your only traffic generation strategy. Search engine optimization (SEO) takes longer and requires maintenance, and can take longer to yield the kind of traffic that will achieve your traffic goals, but it can be more cost effective and secure over the long-term. You can track the performance and cost-effectiveness of both kinds of campaign using your web site traffic analysis tools.

How do I evolve my PPC campaign?

Iterate, iterate, iterate: constantly tweak and monitor your PPC campaigns.

Like search engine optimization, PPC campaigns are not static. Your web tracking tools will help you understand which keywords are working, what new keywords are emerging, what search engines are yielding more or less visitors, and how many visitors turn into customers. Armed with this information, you should be pausing or changing old ads, working with different PPC search engines, expanding campaigns, or creating new campaigns. If you have a promotion, you should create an ad for it. If you need to allocate more resources to other marketing activities for a while, consider tapering your PPC efforts. Most importantly, keep up to date with your campaigns and do not be afraid to experiment!

How can I collaborate with other online businesses to support my viral marketing efforts?

Consider swapping ad space with other online publishers.

If you do have an online newsletter, consider trading ad space with other online publishers that target a similar audience. Keep swap terms uncomplicated – a rule of thumb is 1-to-1, so a newsletter with 5,000 subscribers would give one ad spot to a newsletter that has 10,000 subscribers, who would, in turn, provide the smaller operation with two ad spots. This is an efficient way to build your subscription base. It's also an effective way to barter with other online e-commerce sites. If you use your web metrics software to analyze both the traffic you are getting from your ad on their site, and you measure the traffic you are giving back, you may be able to leverage more out of your partnership and you can dissolve the relationships that are not yielding traffic and sales.

How flexible are PPC advertising campaigns?

Plan and set your own limits for PPC campaigns.

Most Pay-Per-Click advertising services have a nominal activation fee. After that, however, it is really up to you to define your PPC spending. You can create limits for how much you will spend per click and per day, and -- if you don't know what limits will give you the best “bang for your buck” -- consider working with the services to develop a plan that works for you. And remember, these campaigns are living endeavors, so you can decide to increase or decrease your budget based on experience.

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Lynne Christen