Display Ads: Giving local businesses the ability to run with the big dogs!
How great would it be to see your business name in bright, shining lights online? Have you ever seen a banner ad from national advertisers like Home Depot, Stanley Steemer and Terminix online? Would you like to see your business in the same spot?
Most consumers love to help support local businesses with their purchases. When they look online, however, the first thing they see is major retailers' ads. How do small businesses get online and start competing with the heavy hitters in this space? With 2012 marking the first year in which U.S. marketers are projected to spend more advertising on the internet than they do in print, the solution is now easier than ever.
Here are a few guidelines to help your business get front and center:
You first need to consider the context of your ad. With a display campaign, the goal is not necessarily to get the most clicks. Banner ads are like running a full page ad in your local directory, placing signs on customers' lawns, or advertising on a billboard - it's all about building brand awareness. People who see that sign on their neighbor's lawn may not need a new roof right now, but when they do and they’re searching for services, you've increased your chances of getting their business by putting your name out there. Banner ads are online billboards. Use them to build brand awareness now so that when people are in need of your services later, they remember your business.
“But I am just a small business. I can't possibly compete against national advertisers in my space!” Not anymore! Thanks to advances in marketing technology, local businesses now have the ability to compete with big brands. How? By geotargeting and audience buying for display ads. Geotargeting identifies website visitors by their IP addresses and then serves an ad for a business located in their specific zip code. With this narrowed field, advertisers are not paying for impressions to be shown to people where they are not relevant. Ads are served to people in YOUR local area.
Audience buying allows us to serve ads to people who have shown an interest in your services or fall into a specific demographic that a business wants to target. For example, let's say a pest control company wants to promote their services in Boston, MA. You now have the power to display your ad on the top trafficked websites to an audience segment who are homeowners online and located in the Boston area. You never have to waste impressions on consumers who are not relevant to your area or your service again.
Once you've narrowed down your audience and region, here's how to create a display ad worth noticing.
- Your message should be crystal clear and short
- State your location: Let people know you are located on Main St!
- Use bold, vibrant colors: You want to catch a person's eye.
- Use a strong call to action: “Call now to schedule your free estimate!”
- Steer clear of flashing images and pulsating lights: You don't want your ad to be annoying.
- Don't link to a poor quality site: If you have a great banner ad, make sure it links to a great website that offers the information they are looking for. People want instant gratification and a user-friendly experience. If they are forced to dig for that simple info, you risk losing potential customers to frustration with your site.
Online display ads aren't just for major retailers anymore. Run with the big dogs and get started with a display campaign for your business today!
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