October 17, 2019 By SmartBiz Team

There are dozens of options to choose from when you're considering where to advertise online. From large paid search platforms to local directories, you can reach almost any audience you want. Check out these top advertising options to consider for your business.

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1. Google Ads

Google Ads is a great choice for brands that don't have a large social media following or strong ranking organically. These paid ads are what you see when you conduct a Google search, and they are more popular than you think. In a survey of 500 people who clicked on an ad last month, 75% said ads make it easier to find what they're looking for. However, if you are going to start with Google Ads, then you need to know some basic terminology:

  • Click-through-rate (CTR): This is the percentage of people who saw your ad and clicked on it. You want this to be a high number because it means your ads are effective.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC): Google uses pay-per-click advertising, which means they charge you each time a customer engages with your ad. So if your bid is $1 per click, then your CPC will be $1.
  • Cost-per-mille (CPM): This form of marketing is impression-based. "Mille" refers to "thousand" and refers to the cost an advertiser pays to reach 1,000 people. If you pay $500 to reach 5,000 people, then your CPM is $100.
  • Conversion rate (CR): This is the percentage of people who buy your products after seeing your ads. You also want this number to be high.
  • Cost-per-acquisition (CPA): This metric refers to the amount you spend to acquire a new customer. If you spend $100 and win over five customers, then your CPA is $20.

One of the great things about Google Ads is that it offers immediate insights so you can track your progress and make improvements.

2. Bing Ads

Along with promoting your brand on Google, consider advertising on Bing. Bing Ads make up 33% of total desktop search market share, so you can still reach a large part of your audience through this platform. You can also upload your campaigns from Google Ads for an easy setup.

3. Social Media

Social media is an incredibly popular advertising platform to market your business. Whether you are posting organically and building your community or paying for social media video ads, you can reach thousands of people through digital marketing. Almost 80% of American adults 18-24 use at least one social media platform, with 69% of all Americans using Facebook, according to a research conducted by the Pew Research Center on April 2019. Consider a few of these platforms to grow your brand:

  • Facebook: This network is important for sharing updates, providing customer service, and connecting with customers. A few top Facebook brands to follow include Chick-fil-A and Hotels.com.
  • Instagram: This channel is a highly visual and popular platform for influencer marketing. Follow brands like Etsy and Expedia to see how they bring customers in with captivating visuals.
  • LinkedIn: Used primarily for B2B purposes, LinkedIn can also be a strong recruiting tool. Follow brands like Raymond James to see what they post and how they attract top talent.
  • Twitter: This social network is good for posting several updates per day or sharing live updates of events. It is also a customer service hub. Check out airline accounts like Delta or Southwest to see how they handle customer service issues.

Not every social network will be right for your brand. See which ones are a good fit and work to connect with audiences on these channels.

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4. Business Directories

A business directory is a list of local businesses with information about them. Customers can access contact information and read reviews before making a choice. Listings in these places are often free, though they do require the time commitment of uploading information and responding to questions and reviews.

While Yelp may be the first website that comes to mind for business listings, there are other sites out there that offer free advertising as long as you keep your brand information updated. Consider promoting your business online through Superpages, CitySearch, TrueLocal, and other directories that drive traffic back to your website.

5. Blogging

Blogging is a valuable tool for communicating with your customers and reaching people through Google search results. You can answer questions about your brand, discuss your products, and have a platform for announcements. You can also share your blog posts on social media to drive traffic to your website. You don't need an intense blogging strategy — two to four posts per month will usually suffice.

6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of making sure your local business shows up in search results. You can improve your SEO through blogging and website improvements, but also by updating your Google My Business (GMB) accounts.

Through GMB, your local customers will better be able to find you on Google Maps and read reviews about your business. This option is particularly valuable if you are already updating your web presence on business directories.

7. Press Releases

The internet has changed how we advertise in many ways, but other marketing options have stayed the same. Sending out a press release whenever you have news — like a store opening or new product — can help you get noticed by the media and reach people in your area.

8. Online Communities

There are dozens of online forums, groups, and niche websites that you can tap into. From local Facebook groups to neighborhood newspapers, it is easy to get noticed in these small communities than in a bigger advertising pool. Offer a free service or discount to people in these groups and track their effectiveness by counting how many people redeem your promotion.

Test Different Marketing Channels

There are many marketing strategies to consider when promoting your small business. Look at your target audience and advertising budget to get an idea for what you should try, and then expand to new strategies and options as you grow more confident. Then, when a marketing tactic works, stick with it and watch your business grow.

You don’t need to be a marketing expert today, but the more you test and learn, the better your efforts will become. Check out our Resource Center for small business owners to learn more about marketing and grow your knowledge about these strategies. We are here to help you grow.

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