How and Where Should I Advertise Online?

Where and How Should I Advertise Online

Where and how should I advertise online? On the surface, this seems like a straightforward question, but the answer depends on a lot of factors:

  1. What type of business are you running?
  2. Do you want to attract online or local customers?
  3. How do you interact with your customers?

The list goes on. To simplify, we’ll take a closer look at the most important questions you might need to consider when advertising for your business, as well as a few of the most effective places you can advertise for your business. Here is where to start when figuring out the best place to advertise.

#1. Should You Advertise Locally or Online?

If you run a local business, it’s a good idea to have some kind of consistent advertising presence locally. For example, local attorneys often have TV/radio and billboard advertising. That may be a bit out of date for an Etsy shop, but that’s just because more modern advertising options cater to more modern forms of online business. There’s nothing wrong with signage if you’re a local landscaper or a local dentist.

Online advertising runs the gamut from Google to social media, to company listings on review sites like Yelp. If you think your customers will search for your services online — even if they’re local — then online advertising is also for you. Try stretching your budget by targeting a local niche or a particular demographic very narrowly, such as women in an age bracket that tend to buy more spa products if you’re a day spa.

Note: If you advertise online, it’s easy to change out ads or combine them with special offers around marketing campaigns. So, instead of creating an ad that advertises your business, create an ad that promotes a special offer for a limited time, then switch to another ad that promotes an event you’re hosting. You’ll get more interest for a time-sensitive offer that holds real value.

#2. Where Will Your Ideal Customer See Your Ad?

If you’re a biotech company, you don’t need to be on Instagram, but the opposite is also true. Say you run a makeup company and offer facials and spa day events to promote your business. You should be posting on Instagram, but you could also advertise and find a great clientele there, where a biotech startup… not so much. Do a little research on which social media platforms your target customer uses.

Younger people are more often on Discord, IG, Snapchat, etc. Older customers use Facebook, and everybody uses Twitter. Except not in the same way. Advertise on the platforms where your customers are most engaged and spend the most time. If it’s not social media, is it a website that’s super popular such as their favorite news site? Profile where your customers spend their time, then get in front of their eyeballs.

Also figure out where you want to drive your customers after they see your ad. It’s critical to have an engaging, delightful experience to optimize for conversions.

#3. How Do Your Customers Like To Communicate?

This doesn’t sound like an advertising problem, but knowing how your customers like to communicate is key to getting a response to your ads. If you’re targeting millennials, they don’t want to call you. Statistics say they’d rather die in hellfire than call if there’s another way. Please offer a text option, or an intuitive chat interface.

The same idea applies for older clients, who might not be comfortable with conference calls for consultation appointments or might prefer in-person classes or appointments for the social interaction. When you advertise, think about how your “call to action” asks potential clients to contact you. You might even learn something about who your ideal client is by who responds, and how they respond. If you find you get a particular demographic responding to an ad, pay attention to how they communicate and what media they prefer to use, and tailor both your ads and your offerings to that media.

Maybe you advertise on Instagram and then host an event. If you have great reviews on Yelp, make sure you are advertising through similar service listing websites to find more customers. And don’t forget to try a few different ad options before settling on what works for you.


Laura Cowan

Laura Cowan

Laura K. Cowan is a tech editor and journalist whose work has focused on promoting sustainability initiatives for automotive, green tech and conscious living media outlets. A deep study of narrative journalism, storytelling and sustainable technology allows Ms. Cowan to draw out the meaningful stories of best practices from diverse professionals in an exploration of the culture and trends in emerging industries. She is currently Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Midwest tech news blog, Cronicle Press. Ms. Cowan’s writing and speaking have appeared with Automobile Quarterly, Writer Unboxed, Inhabitat, CNBC, The Ann Arbor Observer and The National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

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