Advertising your site.

Advertising your web site can seem quite daunting to the
inexperienced. Not because it is necessarily difficult, but
because a mistake can have significant and detrimental
consequences. If you have a limited advertising budget
(everyone has a limited advertising budget), spending it all on an
ad campaign that fails to produce results can easily and often
does put many companies out of business.

Advertising your onsite business is still critically important to
many budding Internet entrepreneurs and marketers. I have
avoided it to date because I don't consider myself an expert and
because the Internet is full of newsletters, articles and Spam
email on how to advertise your site. Even so I have done my fair
share of advertising from trade shows, magazines, ad agencies,
banner ads and cold call telemarketing.

My first suggestion is to try to get someone that enjoys sales and
marketing involved with your operation. Many entrepreneurs are
specialists in a particular field. They are great designers,
software developers, wine merchants etc., but not necessarily
good promoters. If you don't enjoy it not only will you likely be
bad at it, but you will also waste a lot of the time you could
otherwise devote to the things that you are good at.

Whether finding sales and marketing help is possible or not, it is
still important to have a good grasp of what is going on.
Advertising can often be the single biggest expense you have.
You need to know where the money is going.
So where should you advertise and how much should you
spend? The answer; spend just enough in as many places as

It is a flippant answer but probably correct. I of course don't
know anything about your business and I don't know how much
you have. More significantly, getting this just right is the reason
some people are multi-billionaires and most of us are not.

Even so, I can offer a few practical insights.

First, try to identify your customers. Who are they, where are
they and what are they interested in. This of course is a huge
topic that entire industries are devoted to answering. Assuming
you know (which you need to do), then you want to target this
group as closely as possible. Every ad that is seen by someone
outside of this target audience is a waste of your money.

Here are some Traditional Options:

Trade Shows: Usually a very targeted but relatively small
audience. Not everyone at Comdex is likely to walk past you
10x10 booth. Trade shows can be very expensive costing
anywhere from a minimum of a few thousand dollars to well into
the hundred's of thousands of dollars. Because of the relatively
small but highly target audience, a trade show is usually a better
place to make strategic alliances than sales. Some Flee Market
type shows are the exception. In any case, they will demand a
significant amount of your time.

Trade Magazines: Also usually caters to a highly targeted
national audience. Prices again vary from a few hundred dollars
to $40-$100,000+ depending on the circulation, size of the ad, ad
location etc. Expect to spend a few thousand dollars to get
something worthwhile. Using magazine advertising is easily
overlooked but can be very affective for the right products.

Newspaper Ads: A non-targeted local audience. Prices again
vary depending on the size and location of the ad but you can
again expect to spend a few thousand dollars for something with
a presence. Because of the local, non-targeted audience,
newspaper ads are better used by local "bricks and mortar"
operations than by cyber space only businesses.

Radio: Is similar in its coverage to local newspapers. Prices
again vary depending on the audience size and the time of day.
Radio has become popular with many ".COM" advertisers
recently but I suspect it will pass. You had better have a good
URL that is very easy to remember.

TV: Is very expensive, not only for the time spot but for the cost
of the video. For a few hundred dollars I suppose you could
always use your home Camcorder to shoot your mother and
daughter for a 3am spot on a small station. TV is better left to
multinational corporations looking for product or corporate

Ad Agency: Will create and coordinate your advertising
campaign, buy advertising slots and do all kinds of other
wonderful things for you. Until recently you could get their
interest for a little under a $100,000. With all the money being
spent by Internet IPO financed companies it is a lot harder to
hire their services these days. Once the IPO money is gone it
will probably return to normal; which is still far too expensive
for most of us.

Internet Banner Ads. Should be the obvious choice for most
Internet companies. Their glamour was severely reduced when
they failed to live up to their expectations. They are now so
pervasive on Web Sites that they are easily ignored. The trouble
appears to be that there are far too many web sites hoping to sell
them and not enough that want to use them. This however can
present a significant opportunity. When the supply is high and
the demand is low, prices come down. Advertised prices seem to
be all over the place but my guess is that there is a lot of room
for negotiation.  Expect to pay about  $1000 to start but negotiate
the number of clicks or impressions.

Opt-In Newsletters: Such as those seen in this newsletter have
gained in popularity as banner ads have diminished. Newsletters
can either be very targeted or general. None target newsletter ads
are selling for $4-$8 per 1000 subscribers. Targeted   newsletters
are selling from $5-$15 dollars per 1000.  Most newsletters
charge a flat fee but some will accept clicks similar to banner
ads. Prices start at under $100.

Non Opt-In Newsletters: Better known as Spam just don't seem
to want to go away. They consequently must appear to be
effective for someone. Because of their nature however, it does
not need many Spam Advertisers to flood our email boxes. I
suspect that they are most popular with failing businesses
desperate to try anything.

Next week I will look at some less traditional advertising

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright
1999-2000 Virtual Mechanics

"IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking for detailed information on creating, maintaining and promoting their web sites.
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