How to run a really successful online advertising campaign

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain


If you’re considering advertising your business on a host website (such as the Yorkshire Powerhouse website) then you need to take every effort to maximise the results you achieve. This article focuses on display advertising rather than pay-per-click advertising which we provide guidance on elsewhere.

The first, obvious, comment to make is that online advertising is simply another (fairly ‘normal’) marketing channel and it would be unusual for advertising in one form or another to not be part of your marketing strategy.  But that’s the point here – many businesses don’t actually have an actual marketing strategy or the clarity of who they’re trying to sell to, what the message should be, etc, etc.

Advertising should be a continuation of your wider marketing activity – it should all knit together to form a consistent voice for your business and it should be contributing towards your sales funnel – if this isn’t the case then you’re already risking success.

So if you are going to advertise online then clearly selecting the right host website is one of the first considerations – you need to make sure that they attract the kind of demographic profile of visitor that you want to sell to.

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You should understand what the website does to promote itself and what kind of numbers they achieve in terms of unique visitors, number of page views, the average amount of time on a page, etc – all these metrics provide you with evidence that they are, indeed, engaging with your target audience and that they know what they’re doing.  Not openly sharing this would suggest there’s something to hide!

The various decisions connected to online advertising

Once you’ve selected the right website you then need to think about your actual advert – clearly factors such as the size, position, number of messages, duration, etc all are fundamental elements of the cost of the advert.

The advert itself has a number of variables too:

Branding: you should, almost certainly, include your logo in your ad and this then normally forces the colour choices.  Normally, your goal is to link people through to your own website so the colours, branding, fonts and images used should reflect the next destination as much as possible.

Call to action: adverts without calls to action simply achieve less.  You should make it easy for your prospect to understand what you’re offering, what benefit they would gain from it and what they should do next.

Contact details: remember that the normal purpose of advertising is to promote the opportunity to ‘do something’ (buy, visit, sign up, etc).  But sometimes, prospects simply aren’t interested ‘right now’ but are interested enough that they take note of your contact details … so do remember to list at least a website address and phone number – it’s always nice to also add on a personal contact name for a prospect to ask for.

Destination: Modern websites often provide the opportunity to create bespoke landing pages that allow a much more ‘controlled’ environment.  A ‘perfect’ landing page would continue the message in your online advert, it would continue the branding of the referring site (as well as now emphasising your own branding) and it should focus on encouraging the client to share their details with you.

The homepage of your website, your Linkedin profile or linking to your email address definitely do not achieve the perfect conditions to help convert a prospect and you’ve potentially just lost the ability to convert visitors to enquirers.

To see more great examples of landing pages, take a look at https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/landing-page-examples-list

Online Advertising – Monitoring and Metrics

Like all marketing activities, you should closely monitor the effectiveness of your advertising.  We’ve prepared a full article on marketing metrics here.  However, the important thing to remember is that advertising is something that’s difficult to measure … sometimes, the outcome is to simply boost brand awareness and visibility rather than directly measure outcomes that connect to an absolute sale.

One thing is for sure, with all forms of advertising, it’s all about the long view … time and familiarity is part of the process and sometimes it’s not simply about the clicks.

Advertising works – it always has.  If you can find a credible site, with credible traffic and fair pricing then make a medium to long term commitment to online advertising and watch for the results.

Blunt thinking about online advertising from Yorkshire Powerhouse
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