101: What to Consider When Advertising Online

Revenues continue to soar, and small business owners (SBOs), who may have been hesitant in the past, are wondering how to tap into the potentially lucrative and always measurable world of online advertising.

If you count yourself in that boat, check out our quick checklist for what to know before advertising online this year or next:

Establish Goals

What is it that you hope to accomplish by running an ad online? The more specific the goal, the better, as this will help identify where to advertise, what message to include, the calls-to-action (CTAs) that will get people converting and other elements that will make the campaign a success. Sample goals include: app downloads, email sign-ups, phone calls, increase website traffic, download a content asset, a brick-and-mortar visit, etc.

Pick the Channel(s)

Once a goal has been established, companies will want to prioritize where they want the ad to run. This can be decided on by looking at how much the acquisition will cost on each channel, where your target audience spends their time, what reporting metrics are available and the formatting needed to fit the channel.

Develop the Creatives

The good thing about starting to advertise online today than even just a few years ago is the many, many creative tools that brands have at their disposal to create high-quality advertisements on their own (whether it's Canva, Pagemodo or Adobe Spark or the networks themselves). With engaging and relevant copy, an eye-catching image and powerful CTAs, SBOs can upload these assets themselves on Facebook, for example, and be appropriate for the channel. Some quick advice about creatives: avoid cliché stock photography, make the copy as short as possible and the words should complement and not compete with the CTA.

Remember the Click Through

Wahoo. You got a person to click, so don't lose them by having them click through only to find that the landing page they are directed to isn't consistent with the ad images, copy, promotion, etc. Similarly, get everyone in your company on board with what advertisements you are running to ensure all employees know which promotions are available whether it's online or off.

Look to Reporting

One of the most ideal aspects of online advertising is the ability to measure the return on investment and see how people are responding to messaging and what could be changed or kept to improve progress.

While not comprehensive in nature, these quick hits will help you understand what needs to be decided before putting your message out there.