Monday, August 2, 2010

Online Advertising For Less: When SEO, SEM and Social Media Marketing Just Aren't Enough

Using no cost online marketing tactics, like search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and social media marketing are all good strategies, but they’ll only get you so far. And they won’t create you the voluminous traffic needed to really see substantial results, fast.

Any successful online marketer will tell you, the key to a balanced marketing mix is having a variety of tactics that fit your budget and business objectives ... from no cost SEO and SEM ... to paid advertising with banner ads, blogs, text ads, display ads, newsletter sponsorships, email marketing and more.

Plain and simple: When you really want to increase your Web exposure … and sales … you need to cast a broader net using targeted online advertising.

But the question is, how do you leverage this powerful platform without spending a fortune?

The answer is learning the ‘insider secrets’ to buying online ads for less.

Below are some “must know’s” before doing your next online media buy or dealing with account executives:

The Art of the Online Ad Deal
In the process of putting together your online media buy (or “insertion order” as the official agreement is referred to), you will be required to analyze many proposals from different website, blogs or ad networks. You’ll need to ascertain if the rate you are being quoted is cost effective and comparable to industry rates. This is where the “Media Tracking Matrix” spreadsheet comes in handy. I recommend sorting this sheet by ad rate, lowest to highest. So you can see instantly which contenders are out of budget or not.

Keep in mind that when online account ad executives start quoting you advertising rates, many drivers can influence that rate such as the following. And you should be aware of these factors in order to make sure you get the best possible ad rate:

  1. Seasonality. Most Web traffic typically drops during summer months as well as major holidays. Use this knowledge to your advantage and try to get lower rates during these times. You can also pause your ad if it happens to be running during a holiday and have it turned back on after the holiday.
  2. Exclusivity. Find out if your ad is get 100% of the rotations or is sharing that ad space with other advertisers. For instance, one banner ad on a website may rotate and have 5 different messages each time you refresh. This is known as being “fixed ad placement” or “shared ad placement”. If you’re told you have shared placement, find out how many actual impressions YOU will receive.
  3. Site Targeting. Will your ad be ROS (run of site), by channel, by page? Typically, you can drill down your banner ad or advertising message down to a specific page. But the lower your drill the more you will pay for that targeting. The higher you go, the less you pay. ROS is the highest level, so it’s usually the cheapest. Next is usually ROC (run of channel), that is, running your ad within targeted sections of a site. Then there are also specific pages or demographic targeting. Your goals and budget will determine which placement is best for your needs.
  4. Remnant Space. Check with the account executive to see if they have any remnant space (space that they’re having difficulty selling for any reason) or last minute specials. With more popular and high traffic websites, you can get some great deals on remnant space. Make sure to find out the Terms and Conditions.
  5. Termination Right. Make sure your insertion order has a “termination right” or “out clause” (typically 24 – 48 hours). This way, if you see after a week your ad isn’t performing, and you tested other ads, you can end the campaign without penalty and only pay for impressions served.

For more proven, powerful, and money saving ideas for online advertising as well as to boost your ad’s performance, visit In Muscle Media: The Complete Guide to Buying Online Ads for Less, you’ll learn the tips and tricks to negotiating effective and cost-efficient online media buys. You’ll also learn…

  • How to create a high-performing (low cost!) media plan
  • Proven techniques for developing powerful online ads
  • Best online ad networks (based on unbiased, hands on experience!)
  • Suggested media allocations for your online marketing mix
  • Marketing analysis and reporting tips
  • Media ‘cheat sheet’ with the critical questions you need to ask on your next media buy
  • Business negotiations 101 (and other tips) when dealing with online account executives
  • The top questions to ask when coordinating JV, affiliate or publishing ad swaps
  • The best free web tools for online advertising
  • And much more!

The key to a successful online media campaign is knowing what to buy, where to buy it, how to gauge performance, and ultimately how to get the best rate that suits your budget.

The big misconception by many marketers and small business owners alike is that media buying, whether it’s online or offline, is expensive.

That is not always the case -- especially if you’re educated about the entire media buying process. So get informed and don’t be afraid to test online advertising. With the right ad in the right place … you’re poised for optimum results!

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