What is online advertising?

Online advertising, online marketing, or internet marketing means promoting your business on the internet either through paid content promotion or optimising your website for organic search. Nowadays most people looking for your services or products would google it or check it up on Facebook, Yahoo, Youtube or Bing. Whether you are a B2B (business to business), or a B2C ( business to consumer) firm, for you to grow, you need online marketing.

Why does your business need online advertising?

Online advertising is gradually taking over the world of advertising because it’s cheaper and more effective both in the short-run and longterm than traditional marketing.

Traditional marketing channels include radio jingles, television promos, posters, cold sales calls, newspaper ads, and billboards. These forms of marketing cost you a lot of effort and resources and the results you get are not commensurate with the amount of work you put in. Also, you can only reach a limited audience with your TV ads, radio jingles, and cold calls. Online advertising, on the other hand, costs very little, with more immediate results. Online promotion also gives you a broader reach, and you can target customers who are not in your exact business locality.

What are the types of online advertising?

There are two kinds of effective online advertising methods – Paid advertising and Organic ranking through search engine optimisation .

Paid internet advertising includes PPC, SEM and ad placement(display advertising)

1.PPC (pay per click)advertsements. This could take the form of videos, audios, and content. The channels for paid media advertising include Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo, and Instagram. There are lesser known PPC channels that still have good clout when it comes to internet presence and it doesn’t do any harm to take out an advert on some of these platforms. The advantages of using PPC online marketing strategies include:

  • Pay per click is a quick way to get people to see and interact with your business, especially if you are a new start-up or have a small advertising budget.
  • You can define your budget on the PPC medium, whether Facebook, Google or LinkedIn.
  • You only pay when people click on your post. What this means is that one thousand people could view your post, but you only get charged for those who click on the link to your website.
  • PPC allows you to define your target customers so that your ads only show to people who are likely in need of your services.
  • With PPC you can target a large number of people. Your reach depends on the budget you set for your campaign.
  • In addition, the customers that click on your ads are likely to be interested in buying your product or require your services.

2. SEM: Search engine marketing is a form of PPC  with one significant difference. In SEM, your goal is to rank your website on the first page of Google for certain keywords. To achieve this goal, you pay for PPC ads on Google for these keywords. To break it down further; let’s suppose your business is selling women’s fashion items. You presumably have a Facebook page, a google my business page or a website. What you do with SEM is to set up an advert on Google AdWords and pay for common words that people type in when searching for services like yours. In this case, your keywords could be ‘the best women fashion wear, Ladies fashion, Ladies office wear’ etc. When people search for these products, your advert will come up on the first page of Google like the screenshot below.

Screen shot of Google adwords

A disadvantage of Paid online advertising is that it doesn’t bring as much credibility to your business as an organic ranking on a search engine. In fact, research shows that only 10% of clicks to any website come from paid adverts, which is why ranking organically for a keyword is a more effective marketing strategy in the long term.

3. Display advertising: You can also choose to take up and ad on an advertising platform with high traffic.Some of these ads are free, but the sites with high traffic would require that you pay a one-time fee which varies depending on a number of factors.

  • Ad space required
  • Length of period for which you want the ad displayed
  • the number of people you want to target with the ads.

Organic search:

Organic search means that your business website comes up naturally on the internet when customers type in your services into search engines. This kind of advertising strategy relies heavily on search engine optimization and content promotion. You create content that gets your website to the first page, giving you more visibility for your brand. When customers land on your page, the content on it keeps them engaged and leads to more conversions for your business. Organic search relies primarily on SEO and content marketing to engage customers.

How to do online marketing on a tight budget

If you are launching a new business, the major question you need to answer is ‘ how do you reach your target audience or using the Inbound terminology, how do your audience find you?’ For new start-ups, forking out money for a campaign may be difficult, especially if you are on a limited budget. Not everyone has the funds to build a sophisticated website and depending on the services you offer, you may not even need one. I have outlined in detail the various methods which you can use to advertise your business online on a small to medium budget.

Get a Google my business account

This advertising platform is free,  easy to create and doesn’t take time at all. Want to know the best part? You can create a website for free on Google my business and post adverts as often as you like.You can post videos too , 30 seconds videos max and showcase your unique services to your clients.

When you create a Google business account, your company location gets added to Google maps. When people search for services like yours around your locality, your business name is likely to pop up and your location will be shown on the map.This makes it easy for potential clients to find you. You can send promo ads, showcase your events , and promote marketing messages to potential clients from your Google my business account.

The first step to Google advertsising is to create a Google account if you don’t have one already. To create a Google account, log in to this page. Follow the instructions to sign up for a free account.

Once you have signed up for a free Google account, the next step is to log into the Google my business page. Click on the start now button and follow the steps to enlist your business and start advertising your business for free.

Important Things to Note about advertising your business for free using Google my business:

  • Choose the category that best suits your business niche and make sure to add subcategories.
  • Be generous with details about your business location. If your business is on the third floor of a building, indicate this. This will help your customers know where to find you when they get to the address.
  • The attribute element is optional and you can fill out that part if there are some additional benefits your customers will get from you; free Wi-Fi, wheelchair enabled stairs, toll free parking space and so on.
  • Once you’ve filled out all the relevant details, click verify and choose any of the verification processes that is the most convenient for you. The verification process may take as long as two weeks if you choose the postcard option. If, on the other hand, you choose verify by video call, it can be done as quickly as possible. It all depends on if you are fortunate enough to have a Google customer service agent online when you initiate the process. To verify with an agent, you need to have a document that shows a relationship between you and the business. This could be your call card, business registration documents or your business letterhead paper.
  • While you wait for a verification from google , you can complete your profile by going to the “info” feature on the left side of the page.Add pictures that showcase both the exterior and interior of your business building. Make sure you choose quality attractive pictures that would appeal to your customers.
  • It is also important to note that your Google my business page can be edited by anyone and so you should always check it regularly to know if the information you provided is still accurate.
  • You can also create a website and advertise your business for free by clicking on the website option and following the instructions.

Advertise your business on your Facebook page.

If you don’t have a Facebook page , you need to get one now! Creating a Facebook page on your social media account doesn’t take one minute. All you need to do is click on the “add-page’ feature on the left of your Facebook account .

To advertise on Facebook, you can either promote or boost your ads.Another way to advertise your business is to join a Facebook group. Before you sign up with any group, though, ensure you read their ‘about us’ page to know if their rules allow you to advertise or not.Also, some of these groups may charge a fee to help you promote your business on the top of the group page.

To reach a larger audience, you need an advertisement campaign. The good thing about advertising with Facebook is that your ads are based on your budget .You have two options; boost a post or promote a post. Either of these is pay per click method and you only get billed when customers click on your ads.The boost a Post option is easier to use ; all you need to do is create a post on Facebook page or upload content from your website to your Page.Click on boost your post and set up your budget.The challenge with this option is that you cannot define your target audience and you may end up wasting your limited resources, reaching the wrong people.

To set up an ad on Facebook, simply go to your face book page and click on the option create ads . This should open up to the Facebook ad manager page where you can create your ads, choose your target audience and choose your budget.

Important things to note about setting up a Facebook ad

  • Ensure you define what you want to achieve from the campaign.Do you want more subscriptions, want to create awareness, get a call directly to your phone e.t.c.
  • Define your target audience
  • Create different versions of the same ad and test- run them to note which has the most user engagement
  • Let your call to action be specific
  • Ensure you set up analytics on your Facebook page to measure the success of your campaigns.

Advertise your business by signing up for a LinkedIn business page.

If you are an entrepreneur and you don’t have a LinkedIn account, then you’re missing out on loads of opportunities. LinkedIn is probably the biggest networking system for entrepreneurs globally. You can sign up for a LinkedIn account here. If you already have an account, the next step is to join some groups with similar interests to yours. Get active on the platform and share your ideas, while learning from gurus.

The final step towards promoting your business for free is to create a LinkedIn page. Watch the video below which explains in detail how to create a Linkedin Page.

Note: You need to have a business mail in order to create a LinkedIn page. You cannot use a gmail or yahoo mail address for your LinkedIn page.

Your business mail should read something like yourname@yourbusinessname.com, or info@yourbusinessname.com To generate a free business mail,that is if you don’t have one linked to your website( not your google my business site), click on Zoho.com. Follow the step by step instructions to get a business mail for $1 per month.

With LinkedIn business page you can post videos and articles for free, but if you really want to reach a larger audience you would need to take up an ad.This is also a PPC ad and depending on your budget, you can customize it to reach as many people as possible.

Promote your business online by signing up for an Instagram business account

You can set up an Instagram business page where you showcase your services.If you have a website, you can also connect your instagram feed to your site and anytime you have new items to display on your instagram page, it shows on your website as well.Your instagram page is a good place to showcase your stunning visuals and videos and in order to make the most of advertising on Instagram,you need to take the following steps

  • download the instagram app and sign up for free
  • to use your instagram account for business, you need to connect it to your facebook page.( see the steps above on how to get a facebook page)
  • You also have the option to open a new facebook account on the instagram platform if you dn’t have one.
  • This article, how to correctly set up an Instagram business page , gives you a detailed guide.

Advertising on Instagram is similar to advertsing on Facebook Page.You create an ad, define your target audience and ad goals,set your budget and click submit.

Get your business listed in online directories

There are several online business directories which are specific to your locality where you can enlist your business. Apart from Facebook and Google my business, these local online directories help to boost your local SEO because they are more specific for your region. Hubspot has a list of 57 business directories that help with local SEO, but beyond that you can drill down to find some more geo-targeted directories.In Nigeria there are several of these local directories.

  • Vconnect
  • Finelib
  • DealDey Nigeria
  • LGT

It is important to get your business listed in as many directories as possible, to improve your visibility to customers looking for your products or services within your locality.

List your business to improve SEO
local business listings is a good way to boost your SEO

Promote your business on advertising platforms

There are several Local advertising channels that could offer you quick returns in promoting your business.You could display your adverts, banners, and promo offers on these channels.The cost of taking up ad space online varies and ideally, to make the most of your budget, you should advertise on a platform that your target audience frequent often.

Another way promote your business online is by paying for Google ads. To set up Google ads, you need to have Google account.Google ads are PPC advertisements that allow you to define your budget. To set up Google ads campaign, you need to log into Adwords.

Setting up a Google Ad campaign could be quite challenging and may require the expertise of a digital marketing firm to help you run your ads and monitor results successfully. If, however, you feel up to the challenge , you can read up on this step by step guide to setting up a Successful Google ads campaign.

There are several platforms where you can advertise your business for free in Nigeria -Jiji.ng and OlX are two of the commonest. To post an ad on Jiji go their site and register. It’s free to register and to publish your ads too.For Olx.com, there is a limit to the number of free ads you can post a month so you need to make the most of these freebies.

Advertise your business on You-tube

These days, people are more interested in watching videos and listening to audios than taking time to scroll through content. The number of people who watch a video on You-tube To advertise on You-tube, you would need to create a You-tube business channel.This is slightly different from your normal You-tube channel because ideally, it should be registered with your business. Once you’ve created your You-tube channel, scroll .For more comprehensive tips on how to set up You Tube ads for your business click here.

Start a targeted content marketing campaign

Content marketing is an essential part of any online advertisement strategy. Whether you have a website, Google my business site or a Facebook page, posting engaging and relevant content is the best way to get new customers to check out your services.It also helps to boost brand loyalty for existing customers when you create content that adds value.To set up an effective content marketing strategy,you need the services of a content creation agency, specifically an SEO copywriting agency.

At the articles depot, we adapt our style and language to match your business needs as well as the preferences of your target audience.Content creation services that we provide include landing page copy, blog posts, email marketing, sales copy,product descriptions and so on. This article on how we build your content marketing campaign, provides an indepth knowledge of how a solid content creation and promotion strategy can boost your ROI.

blog writing as SEO strategy
want to promote your business even more? Start a blog.

Advertise your business through customer reviews:

Get your customers to write reviews on your Google my business platform and to rate your services.This would show up on your business profile on Google and is a great way to showcase your quality to potential clients . Businesses with reviews are To get customers to post reviews for you on your Google profile, search for your business name online. You will need to know your exact Google website address and you can get that from your Google my business account. type in your business name into the search box on Google and click on the review button to the right of the page that opens. Another page will open up on the same window and all you need to do is to copy the URL in your web browser as highlighted in the picture below.

Notice that its quite long and clumsy-looking. You will need to shorten this to make it more attractive to click on for your customers. To do this, use this URL shortener. Simply paste the URL you copied from your web browser into the box and click on ‘shorten’. Copy the shortened code from the box and send via mail or text messages to customers that have benefited from your services.

Develop an inbound marketing strategy

An inbound marketing strategy is a form of Internet marketing where rather than you reaching out to customers ( outbound/traditional marketing), your customers reach out to you. There are so many reasons why your online advertising strategies should be all about Inbound marketing. The Inbound marketing strategy is a term coined by Hubspot in 2006 to describe a customer-centric and highly innovative business principle. Waitch the video below to learn how your business can benefit form a solid inbound strategy.

Inbound marketing is about creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on people and your business. How do you do that? You attract prospects and customers to your website and blog through relevant and helpful content. Once they arrive, you engage with them using conversational tools like email and chat and by promising continued value. And finally, you delight them by continuing to act as an empathetic advisor and expert

Hubspot

For actionable content creation services for your inbound and outbound marketing campaigns get in touch with us at the articles depot. We create the best stories to sell your brand.