The most important thing for business owners to keep in mind about online advertising is that successfully advertising your business on the web requires the same preparation and strategic thinking needed to successfully advertise your business off line using traditional media tools such as newspaper, radio and television advertising.
Think of the web as just another delivery method to reach your tightly targeted audience identified as part of crafting your marketing strategy.
Way back in the year 2006 – I wrote Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results At the time, I had worked with literally hundreds of small business owners helping them to create web sites with a purpose: to promote and build their business. Recently, I got an email from a reader of that book. The email said,
“I took a copy of your book with me on vacation, It’s so good! I’d love more sections on online stuff though.”
You might wonder why a book written about marketing by a web marketing consultant would not be jammed packed with information about online advertising. The answer is simple – the difference between online marketing and offline marketing is literally one measured by inches not miles.
The creation of a successful online advertising campaign is the same as the creation of a successful offline advertising campaign. In order to find new customers online you must first have a clear picture of who those customers are. That’s what the focus of the book is – to help the reader get a crystal clear picture of who their target customer is.
Once you know who your target customer is – whether it’s online advertising or offline advertising – you can then craft a compelling sales message and place that message where your target customers are.
The reason I didn’t cover specific online advertising strategies in the book is simple – the internet landscape has changed dramatically since the book was published in 2006. In the book, I talk about the marketing strategy of the Marine Corp. At the time, the social networking site MySpace was a red hot spot for males ages 18-24 which happens to be the exact target audience the Marine Corp wants to reach. Back then, MySpace was red hot – and Facebook was not. When I was writing the book, you couldn’t register for a Facebook account unless you had an .edu email address because Facebook’s target market was college students.
Today – Foursquare is the newest challenger to the now well established social media leader Facebook.
In 2006 – MySpace was being accessed almost exclusively via desktop computers. Today- according to Facebook – of the 400 million active users – 100 million are accessing Facebook using a mobile device – a.k.a. smart phones.
The web is constantly changing but the principles behind creating a successful advertising campaign remain the same. Define your target audience’s GDP -goals, desires and problems – then present your “solutions” via the many different media choices. Whether it’s advertising on the web or on the radio – knowing your target audience is critical to your success.