Advertising Your Business

By: Lin Jenkins

Whether your business is online, offline, or a combination of the two, you will need to find? cost-effective advertising resources to give your business the greatest chance at success.

New business owners often make the mistake of making advertising an afterthought. They concentrate on doing all the things that make their businesses attractive, without focusing on how to get as many targeted prospects introduced to their website, goods or services as possible. You may have even fallen into this trap yourself. Perhaps you've spent too much energy, money and time on "dolling up" your company - hiring hotshot web designers, spending weeks on the best slogan, going over budget on an interior design plan. Although these things are important, they will not get your company seen.

The best way to approach advertising your business is to prepare a basic plan that details an affordable monthly budget, takes advantage of offline and online resources, and measures the results of campaigns.?

How much should you spend on advertising monthly?

The general rule of thumb is that you should put about 5 percent of the cost of your expected gross sales toward advertising.

If this is the first time you are advertising your business, however, you will need to go with what you consider to be a very conservative estimate and work up from there.

What offline advertising should you consider?

Classified ads in newspapers and trade magazines.
Business cards and word of mouth.
Yellow Pages.
Local Cable TV.

What online advertising should you consider?:

Online directories
Ezines
Ad networks - Adster, Bidvertiser, etc.
PPC ads

The best way to bring in targeted traffic is to use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising from sources such as Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo's Overture and other search engines. Unfortunately, as more and more business owners use these resources, biding for top keywords is becoming more and more expensive. Luckily, there are tricks to the trade that can virtually eliminate your PPC ad budget.?Visit?the Articles section of my site (listed?in the Author resource box below) for more information on this topic.

How should you measure advertising results?

For measuring online campaigns, try using Google Analytics. This is a free resource that will allow you to see a very detailed profile of your online visitors, and allows you to set up measurables for each conversion (ie., sale or signup) that occurs on your web site.

For measuring offline campaigns, make sure you find out from each new customer how they came to find out about your company.

This can be done through a combination of methods including, general verbal inquiry, customer surveys and courtesy calls.

Document all customer responses and reference the results back to your ad campaigns.

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