Four ways to boost inbound marketing with online advertising

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PPC, Facebook ads and banner advertising – what’s a business owner to choose to boost their inbound marketing efforts? An expert has some advice for SMBs on adding the right digital advertising to their marketing mix.

A successful inbound marketing strategy is made up of a number of important factors, and in our 10-step article series we’ve covered the use of keywords and SEO so far. Now, it’s time to consider how online advertising impacts inbound marketing.

First, lets look at giving your digital marketing plan a boost by investigating whether online advertising would work for your products or services. Different from traditional marketing, online marketing allows you to set a budget based on how many people click on your advertising. This is immeasurably useful, so if you have the budget and you know that people are searching for your business online, you should kick-start your digital marketing campaign with some advertising, and get more eyeballs directed towards your website.

The four main areas of online advertising we’ll be considering are:
1. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising;
2. Facebook ads;
3. LinkedIn advertising; and
4. Banner ads.

1. Pay Per Click advertising

When you do a Google search and you see websites appear at the top of your screen or on the right hand side surrounded by an orange border, these are adverts from businesses that have paid to be there. The most common payment model is paying only when somebody clicks on the ad – otherwise known as Pay Per Click advertising or PPC.

A point to note here is that business who register on www.google.com.au/places (which is free) also get prime position on the top of the page, so if you haven’t done this already it’s a great place to start.

Reputable PPC advertising companies will be able to run reports for you as to how much traffic they can deliver for your business, based on the budget you have and the amount of people who are searching online

2. Facebook advertising

Every time you log into your Facebook account and see an advertisement on the right hand side of your screen, take note that these ads are targeted directly to you based on what Facebook is able to determine your interests are. If your profile says you’re single, you may see dating website ads or if you’ve liked lots of surfing pages you may start to see surfboard ads.

This is a fantastic feature for businesses to make use of, as you can create a visual ad with some short text about your product or service and choose who inside Facebook will see the ad. Just like Google Ads, you only pay based on the number of clicks and you can set up the ad so it takes users to your website if they click on it, allowing them to connect with your business outside of Facebook.

3. LinkedIn advertising

Advertising on LinkedIn is a fairly new option for businesses and its payment works in the same way as PPC advertising. Just like Facebook, you can also target the audience you wish to see your ad. For example, if one of your products is a software program for accountants, you can choose only people who have the role “accountant” listed on their LinkedIn profile as the ones who’ll see your ad.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of LinkedIn advertising at this early stage, with many people suggesting that when using LinkedIn most people are in their “work mode” mindset and not clicking on adverts, but if you have some branding budget LinkedIn ads could be a great way of creating some awareness (which harder to measure) in front of a targeted business community.

4. Banner advertising

These are like small billboards that advertise products and services on websites – have a look above this article now and you’ll see one at the top of the page.

When a user clicks on a banner ad, they’re directed back to a page on your website. Usually banner advertising is a fixed price and it’s important to check whether the website you choose is willing to share their visitor numbers and the average click rate their banner advertisements have got historically.

Whatever advertising you choose, remember this…

No matter which online advertising method you choose, make sure the page on the website your ad brings potential customers back to has a clear call to action and contains all the details of the advertised offer on the one page – don’t make people have to search around your website for something you’ve advertised.

I’ve often heard small business owners saying they’re doing their online advertising themselves and a few years ago dabbling with PPC yourself would have delivered results for your business. But the online world is very competitive now and you could waste many hours trying to figure out the right combination before you start seeing results, which is time that could be better spent working on your business.

A better option is to decide on a budget and engage a reputable company to do the work for you, as they’ll be able to give you a rough idea of how many people they expect to visit your website as a result of your online advertising activities.