Running a small business can be challenging, especially when it comes to advertising costs. While traditional forms of advertising such as print media and phone directory ads may be costly, small business owners can now benefit from the rise of the internet and its impact on the advertising industry.
The Power of Search Engines
The internet is dominated by search engine providers such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. These search engines are the go-to for consumers looking for products and services, making them a valuable target for small business owners. In fact, the internet has been seeing year-over-year increases of 30% and higher, outpacing the 4% increase in sales for brick-and-mortar retailers during the Christmas season.
Utilizing Search Engine Advertising Networks
Google and Yahoo! both have their own advertising networks, AdWords and the Yahoo! Publisher Network, respectively. Small business owners can take advantage of these networks by selecting a plan that works best for them. Advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad and visits their site, and they can determine the price per click and the amount they are willing to pay per day, week, or month.
Banner and Text Ads on Select Websites
Banner or text ads on select websites can also be a valuable tool for small businesses. If there is a website that you suspect your customers frequent, reach out to the webmaster to inquire about advertising fees. You may be able to negotiate a reduced fee or even have the fee waived in exchange for submitting helpful articles or moderating a forum.
Your Own Website
Having your own website is another way to get the word out about your small business. Although it may be helpful to have someone guide you through the setup process, the cost should not be prohibitive. Monthly hosting and domain name fees should be around $100-$125 per year, and paying a little extra for a web professional to optimize your site for search engines can result in a quicker return on investment.
Writing Articles for Free Advertising
Writing articles can also generate a lot of attention for your small business. You do not have to be a professional writer, but clearly conveying your thoughts and presenting a plan of action for your readers can result in free advertising. By submitting your articles to article submission sites and including helpful links in the author resource box, you can increase the visibility of your website and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Small business owners no longer have to be limited by high advertising costs. The internet offers several cost-effective ways to reach potential customers and inform them about your business. By utilizing search engine advertising networks, banner and text ads on select websites, your own website, and writing articles, you can create a comprehensive marketing plan that works best for your small business.
- What are the biggest players in online advertising? The biggest players in online advertising are search engine providers such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.
- How do I advertise on search engines like Google and Yahoo!? Google has its AdWords program, while Yahoo! has the Yahoo! Publisher Network. Both are advertising networks where you can advertise your small business by selecting a plan that works best for you.
- Can I advertise on websites other than search engines? Yes, you can also advertise on websites by reaching out to the webmaster to inquire about advertising fees. You may be able to negotiate a reduced fee or have the fee waived in exchange for submitting helpful articles or moderating a forum.