Developing an Online Advertising Strategy

online-advertising-target-processBefore you start online advertising, you need to create a strategy. Follow these three steps and make sure they are part of your planning, management, and growth plan:

– Assess. What is your current situation? Do you rely on natural search referrals for traffic? What’s worked? What hasn’t? What terms do people currently search with to find you? Is your site employing best practices? What do you want to accomplish? Are there certain target markets you want to reach? What online advertising opportunities will help you get in front of the people that you want to serve? Do you have landing pages that effectively sell your products and services?

– Plan/Optimize. Traffic needs to be driven to a website or landing page that serves, supports, and sells. If the website needs improvement, do it before driving traffic there. If your assessment showed current online advertising spending areas that are not working well, fix those.

– Test. Once a plan is set and the areas that need optimization are managed, then test new online advertising channels. Diversify your web exposure.

– Ask for help, if necessary.

Asking for Help

A good third-party online advertising and/or SEM fi rm can become an extension of your marketing team. There may come a time for marketing managers when they realize that they may not be able to do it all themselves. There are thousands of companies who can assist you with search engine marketing and online advertising. Know what you want before you pick up the phone, and be prepared to research and interview firms to make sure their skill sets are the best fit for your company.

Be prepared to ask a lot of questions before you get into any contractual agreement. When evaluating third-party providers, ask them if they provide the following:

– Goal identification

– Current audit

– Keyword analysis/research

– Competitive analysis

– Content analysis/optimization

– Website landing page design and architecture analysis/optimization

– Paid ROI optimization

– Dedicated account management

– Collaboration with your internal staff: communication, education, reporting tools

– Online advertising management: setup, copywriting, reporting, conversion, tracking/optimization

– Reporting/reviews: search engine position tracking, link popularity trending, ROI, ranking by keyword or online ad, search traffic reviews, strategy recommendations, project updates

– Success stories/references

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