One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a business owner is where to put your advertising dollars.
It’s often the most frustrating, too, because it can be difficult to track the return on your investment (ROI) and, with all the various forms of marketing out there and the number of places available out there, it can be difficult to choose the best one for your business.
Print? Television? Cable? Or something even more direct?
Chances are, you’ll need a combination of them, and the answer will be different for every type of business—as well as every individual business.
With viewership increasing moving toward the internet, some form of online advertising is a must, too. Here’s a breakdown of the top ways to spend your money online, as well as a note of some positive and negative aspects of each.
Google Adwords. There’s a reason why this is the top-rated service out there—let’s face it: Google is the most popular search engine, bar none. The vast majority of people go to google.com when they start an internet search. The phrase “Google it,” is so common it’s part of everyday language. (Have you ever heard anyone say: “Bing it.” Or, bless their hearts for trying, “Why don’t you Ask Jeeves?”)
You know how it works: a Google user types in a search term or string of terms into the search box, and the relevant search results show up. The user can then click on any of the results. Google AdWords typically show up above the regular search results, and Google AdWords campaigns will always show up on the first page of your results, giving them a sort of false weight among Google’s own Search Optimization Engine (SEO) logarithm.
They get results, because of their prominent placement. This is easy enough to quantify. Just ask yourself this question: How often do you scroll down through the second or third page of your search results?
[caption id="attachment_3496" align="alignright" width="150"] Both GoogleAdWords and Yelp advertisements show up above the search results.[/caption]
The challenge with AdWords is that it is keyword reliant, those keywords can be competitive and, therefore, AdWords can be very expensive. You can set up and maintain your campaigns with a small initial investment, but if you don’t manage it properly, you can easily spend a small fortune.
Yelp works in a similar way, but it less expensive. Yelp offers business ads that show up in their Yelp results. As with Google AdWords, they show up above the actual results when Yelp users are looking for a business.
Yelp offers two options: cost per impression or cost per click. Cost per impression is paying every time your ad shows up when people are looking for a business. Cost per click is exactly what it says. As an advertiser you will pay each time someone clicks the link to go to your Yelp profile.
Yelp can be cheaper than Google AdWords, but if you choose the cost per impression option, it’s difficult to know what you’re getting for your money. You ad shows up when people are looking for a similar type of business, but those surfers may or may not click on it—with the prevalence of advertising these days, they may not even notice it, at all.
Facebook is another option and it is not entirely reliant on search engines. Facebook Ads are relatively cheap—particularly when compared to Google—and they essentially rely on word-of-mouth to spread knowledge of your business. You have a great deal of control over who sees your message—you can target it by age, gender, location and even interests. It is also easy to do. No marketing background is required. And setting up a Facebook business page is free.
Essentially, what you do is what you’re already doing—assuming you have a facebook page. You create an engaging post that will link back to your site or offer a special discount or whatever you decide and then pay to “boost” that post. More people see it, and their friends see it if they happen to “like it.”
The main drawback to using Facebook advertisements is that they are all on Facebook. Believe it or not, there are people out there who do not use it or pay attention to it often enough to be reached solely through this medium. Also, Facebook, unlike Google and Yelp, is not a search engine.
Feel free to experiment with each and, if you need help, we’ve got it. What platform works best for you, and why? Let us know in the comments.