U.S. advertisers and marketers spent $88 billion on online advertising in 2017. That represents a whopping $15.5 billion increase from the year before!
So, why this boom in digital marketing?
For one, because almost nine in every 10 Americans now use the Internet. Imagine how many potential customers businesses can lose if they weren’t present online.
That should be an eye-opener for you, who also owns one of the 29.6 million small U.S. businesses. This tight competition makes online advertising for small business no longer an “option.”
In other words, it’s now a must to get your brand exposed to your target market.
But with so many digital advertising platforms and media, how can you pick the right ones?
Don’t worry. That’s what we’re here to show you. Keep reading so you can equip yourself with the must-dos for a great online ad campaign!
Distinguishing Advertising from Marketing
A lot of people tend to interchange the terms “advertising” and “marketing”. That shouldn’t be the case.
Marketing is the entire pie. Advertising is a slice of that pie.
In simpler terms, advertising is only one of the many other marketing methods out there. Others include public relations, market research, and sales strategy. Media planning, customer relations, and support are also types of marketing.
Note though that advertising is the most obvious and direct way to market. In other words, the most “in-your-face” kind of marketing.
Furthermore, you can expect to pay for almost all types of advertising media. That applies to both traditional (think print and conventional media) and digital advertising.
The good news is, digital advertising doesn’t have to be that expensive. In fact, it can cost you less than other types of traditional advertising strategies!
We’ll talk about all these in more detail below. We only wanted to ensure you get your advertising vs. marketing definitions straight. That way, you can set realistic expectations and boost your online ads’ ROI.
Effective Online Advertising for Small Business Starts with Paid Search
As a business advertising online (or about to), paid search should be one of your top priorities. You’d want to capitalize on the fact that Google alone processes a daily 3.5 billion search queries.
But first, let’s differentiate organic from paid search.
A Briefer on Organic Search
You may know organic search by the term search engine optimization or SEO. SEO refers to the process of getting traffic from search engines the free and natural way.
Again, you don’t have to pay search engines anything for this. But, you need to provide quality content so you can rank high on their search results.
A 101 on Paid Search
Paid search is pretty self-explanatory. It’s one of the many forms of search engine marketing. But if you’re 100% new to the world of online advertising, here’s the simplest definition:
Paid search is the process of paying search engines to advertise and show your content. Let’s say you want Google to advertise you on its search engine results pages. Opt for the search engine’s paid ads, and you’ll get your content advertised on its SERPs.
Keep in mind that paid search is still based on keywords. To be more precise, the relevance of the keywords you use.
Don’t worry though. Being “paid” doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance of winning against businesses with bigger budgets.
Google still prioritizes relevance and quality above all things. So, to show up higher on paid search results, content has to be engaging. Keep that in mind as you curate your paid search content.
One more very important reminder:
Both SEO (local SEO in particular) and paid search are crucial advertising methods. However, SEO takes time. As such, you’d want to pair it with paid search for better results.
Let Videos Paint 60,000 Words (or More!) about Your Brand
73% of American adults are on YouTube, making it the leading social media platform in the country. Its biggest users, based on age, are 18- to 24-year-olds. 94% of adults within this age bracket watch videos via the popular video-sharing site.
So, take advantage of this by creating awesome marketing videos!
But before doing that, it’s best to know why video marketing is effective. For the most part, it’s because of how the human brain works.
But it’s even speedier when it comes to moving images with a story. Plus, it’s better in retaining information it acquired through images or videos. Visual aids used in classrooms have shown to increase learning and memory as much as 400%.
From a business perspective, that means improved brand awareness and recall. All that should be enough reason for you to start advertising through videos.
Get Even More Social
A little more than eight in every 10 people in the U.S. are on social media. What’s more, many of them check their accounts every day, with some even several times daily!
We’ll give you the specifics in a bit, but the above is a snapshot of how vital social media marketing is to your brand.
Go with paid social, and you have plenty of ways to optimize your advertising campaigns. You can choose the specific groups of people who your ads will show up to. You can even choose specific ads and objectives to make things even more targeted!
Best of all, social media ads cost a fraction of what you’ll shell out with traditional print and media ads. So, check out this list of the most popular social media platforms and what they have to offer.
The Facebook market in the U.S. consists of 68% of the adult population. 71% of surveyed Facebook users said they visited the site one a day. More than half checked their FB accounts several times a day.
That makes Facebook users a crowd you wouldn’t want to miss advertising to.
Best of all, the social media site makes online advertising for business a cinch. You have many types of ads to choose from, such as collection ads, dynamic ads, and lead generation ads. You can even use Messenger to advertise on!
If you haven’t yet, sign up for a Facebook business page now. It’s the first step to getting your Facebook ads out.
That number of users makes IG one of the best advertising companies online. Furthermore, advertising via this platform is quite easy, since Facebook owns it. Simply put, ad campaigns through Instagram follow similar Facebook objectives.
Whether your brand caters to U.S.-based customers or anywhere in the world, Twitter is a good place to advertise.
Native Advertising with a Formula Proven for Virality
High-ranking online publishers can make your brand viral through content production. You can “advertise” through these publishers using their proven formula for viral success.
Plus, these platforms allow for sponsored content. That means they give you access to their huge social media following!
Also, paying for native ads make content creation easier on your part. That’s because you can use the publishers’ editorial expertise to curate amazing content. You can tell the story of your brand in a much more captivating way to engage more people.
This kind of advertising has a more “soft-sell” feel to it, which is what makes it effective. Since it’s not an aggressive advertising strategy, consumers won’t feel annoyed or uncomfortable.
Remember that native ads appear on websites of trusted publishers. So, when consumers see these ads, they’re likely to consider your brand trustworthy.
Another thing to keep in mind:
Blogs have resulted in many brands securing sales of products and services. Over 60% of buyers who read a blog made a purchase based on it.
That’s why you want your ads to appear on these trustworthy blog and publisher sites. That way, you’ve got more chances of generating leads and converting them into actual sales.
The Right Mix of Paid Online Ads
There’s no one best form of advertising. It’s pretty much like how print advertising is as crucial as digital advertising. It all boils down to how you come up with the correct mix of advertising strategies.
Online advertising for small business doesn’t have to be a pain, nor does it have to be an expensive way to boost your brand online. But to make it work, you’d want to have the guidance of pros.
That’s where we can help. Our blog has more of these insider advertising strategies that you should know ASAP. Feel free to ring us up, too, so you can get started on an online advertising campaign that converts!