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What type of online advertising is best for your small business?

The nature of your product or service, and the objectives you set, play a great role in determining which form of online advertising is best for your business.

Where customers have a specific need, this need is infrequent and the cost is significant, they often go looking for providers of that product or service. It is said that they have intent – the are actively reseaching available options to them. Think about someone looking for a new security system for their home. Firstly, they will do this very infrequently. Secondly, they probably can’t name more than one or two providers off the top of their heads. And thirdly, they will engage in some sort of online search to see what is out there – specifications, suppliers and pricing.

So it makes no sense for you to continuously market to this type of customer when they are only ‘in the market’ every 10 years or so. It is far more cost effective to advertise only when they are looking. But how do you know when this is?

Search advertising

This is where search engine marketing comes in, with the most commonly known being Google search. You can pay to be at the top of search listings when a person starts searching for terms related to the product or service you sell. These search terms are called keywords. For example, you can bid on the keywords “best home security system in Gauteng”, and anyone who types these words into their search browser will see your advert.
The trick is picking the right words at the lowest cost (because you pay each time someone clicks on your advert). Some of the more common terms in competitive industries can be very expensive, like to bid on the keyword ‘insurance’ could cost you up to R400 per click. You only need 10 people to be having a look before buying, and it can cost you R4000 to get one customer. But they are not all that bad – you can get well a conceived keyword strategy to be just as effective at the R5 to R10 per click mark.

Web banner display advertising

But there are businesses where it pays to advertise frequently and consistently. These are businesses where name familiarity is important, the products and services are bought frequently and are prone to impulse purchase decisions. This is known as interruption advertising, and as the name suggests we are inserting our adverts into their normal course of internet browsing to tell them about our product and service. The two most common online types are Facebook advertising and web banner advertising. A good example of where this is appropriate is for your fast food outlet, where you want to show people your delicious new Mexican burger at 4 in the afternoon, and it pops up in their Facebook timeline and as a banner advert while they are looking at the sport results on News24.

Facebook advertising

These are two extreme examples, and often the right strategy is a combination of the two. Imagine you are a daycare centre offering holiday services. You will get two types of customers – those who know that this is what they need and will go online to look for day care services in their area, and those that are are not sure what to do and your advert pops up and solves all their problems for them. Therefore over that time period, you will probably benefit from targeting moms with young children in your area using search advertising as well as Facebook and/or banner display advertising.

Turf media have many years of experience in devising strategies for small businesses, and can provide you a free advertising proposal on our website www.turfmedia.co.za.

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