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 necessary.

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 money 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. Try to get 40 cents per click.

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 $6-$10 per 1000
subscribers. Targeted newsletters are selling from $10-$30
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 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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