Are you a business owner? Maybe you are just trying to sell a product or service. Perhaps you are using a website to showcase your product or service. In any case, you are aware that nothing happens without advertising. The question for most people on a small budget (and I mean a REALLY small budget) is what kind of advertising should you do to sell product or drive traffic to your website.
I will assume that most people reading this article have a website and some kind of product they wish to sell. This causes both opportunities and problems. Showcasing your products on a website is a great way to allow people to see your offering via pictures and text descriptions without the cost associated with traditional paper-based literature which, is cost prohibitive for most. That’s the good news.
The problem is, of course, getting people to visit your website. And that can be a major problem seeing how there are a billion competitive websites on the Internet wanting yours and everybody else’s attention and consumer dollars. That’s really tough on small websites who don’t have the advertising budget of priceline.com, hotels.com and the other big players (who all advertise on TV as well as print and Internet advertising). And Internet advertising via banner ads, click through advertising like Google ad-sense and other Internet advertising is expensive and, in most cases largely ineffective because people may click to check your site out and window shop, that does not mean they will purchase from you.
Studies show that even well known sites have a dismal click-through to purchase ratio. What this means is people will click an ad, visit a site, window shop, load up a shopping cart all the way to the point they have to haul out a credit card, then they bail…and don’t complete the purchase. Who can afford this kind of activity? And it’s even worse for new, start-up sites without name recognition.
TV advertising is not an option for most of website entrepreneurs…radio advertising, while more affordable is likewise outside the financial reach of the small website owner. So what do you do?
What’s the best way to reach people? The answer may surprise you and it is classified advertising in (newspapers). Why? For starters you have a qualified audience of people who are reading the classifieds because (they choose to) and not because they are victims of mass advertising. Secondly, classified advertising can be run in very targeted areas starting in your local market area. You will save a TON on ad costs if you simply have a good attention getting headline and a website address. No phone numbers, no blather, just a headline and a website address—these types of ads can be run for about $10.00 (for a few days) in small local papers and up to about $50.00 per day in large metropolitan newspapers.
In the scheme of things this is the most affordable way to reach a lot of people in a controlled manner. Thirdly, you can test your ads in small newspapers until you find the “hitter ad” that drives people to your website. It’s simple to do: run an ad, check your traffic at the end of the advertising period—how many visitors checked out your site? What pages did they visit? For $10.00 you can get a LOT of data and insight form your ad dollars. By the way, if your advertising doesn’t result in direct sales you should, at least, learn something for the money spent.
Keep in mind that advertising rates are similar throughout the country—meaning that small local newspaper rates are about the same across the U. S. So for about $50.00 to $100.00 you could test all four compass points in the U. S. (Run an ad out west, down south, East Coast, and your hometown. Why? Differences in culture. A product may be sell well up north that doesn’t sell down south (snow boots for a radical example). The point is, your advertising should be approached as a cost affordable TEST. And you objective is to test, test, test! And if you advertise and don’t gain intelligence with it, you are wasting your time and money.
We have a kit called Advertising Works! in the Smart Business Kits section of our website you may want to take a peek at—it is STUFFED with everything you need to know to roll out a successful advertising campaign on a very limited budget. It will show you how to write order-puling advertising and puts the whole U. S. newspaper market at your fingertips. It’s hot—check it out!
Copyright © 2006 James W. Hart, IV All Rights reserved
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