Part of my responsibilities as publisher of CharlestonDoggyTown.com is help advertisers create ads for that website. This is a whole new world, and as I wend my way through the jungle of advertising on-line, I have learned a few things.
To create an effective internet ad you must forget everything you know about print advertising. Internet marketing offers a whole new media and so many of the old rules are obsolete. An outstanding print ad simply does not translate the same way online. A print ad is meant to savor, to make a customer think, consider, and then take time to follow up with the advertiser. An internet ad on the other hand is meant to instantly attract and provide immediate gratification. It is about here and now, and get what you want this very second!
Thus, you must create a new advertising thought process. You cannot take your print ad thinking and try to force it into the new advertising paradigm called the internet. It does not work. You will waste time and resources. Like it or not, an obsolete business or ad falls by the wayside. Ask the buggy manufacturers…or Blockbuster Videos.
Since we must create a whole new ad concept, where do we start? Begin with YOU! Seriously consider what piques your interest online, enough that you will venture a click. Chances are what appeals to you will appeal to your business prospects. After all, you are your own best customer. No one knows better than you the strengths of your product and what the customer wants the most.
When creating a new ad, the primary consideration should be honesty and integrity. Remember that if you displease someone online, they can write an instant review of that offense. An angry clicker can cause you major problems. While there are nutsies out there who slam for fun, try to decrease your vulnerability by providing an honest and true ad. True, you cannot please all, but you can consciously try to mitigate potential negativity with a good ad.
To that end, keep your ad positive and accurate. It does you no good to trash or compare yourself to the competition. Think of all the ways that can backfire: introducing your customers to the enemy, subjecting yourself to retaliation, becoming defensive and keeping you off-tract from your main goal and worse. Presenting your good product in a positive and well-crafted ad is always your best business move.
For the actual ad, keep it concise and readable. There is no substitute for clever text. A unique turn of words matched by an interesting and appropriate graphic will gain you instant respect and tempt visitors to click on your ad. It is that simple. And that hard. If you cannot write, hire someone who can.
Then, make your ad visible on a naturally busy on-line page by artfully considering the page where you will have it placed. Maximize your artwork to work on that page. Think of complementing the page subject matter. Do not ever put a flashing or pop-up ad. You will lose more persons that you can ever hope to gain.
Lastly, scare tactics is a negative way to present your product. Stress “do’s” over “don’t’s” for example. Negative attention may get you attention, but does it sell your product? If ultimately, if it has increased your sales then you may consider it a success. But look at the awful lawyer ads on TV that make your skin crawl. Maybe they get clients and that’s all that matters to them, but they are perceived as schlock lawyers by most of the population, peers and community-at-large. So your professional image should be considered.
It is my experience that the new and exciting world of internet market offers amazing opportunities to reach new customers. Realizing this potential is a challenge, but you are up to it. After all, you have a business and product in 2012 that is special and unique. And so is your marketing strategy.