Internet advertising is now a daily part of our lives. Everywhere we go on “internet street” we are welcomed by a array of brands and businesses enticing us to try out their products and services.
This super highway is continuously evolving and more businesses are seeing the benefits of joining in. But it presents its own challenges which include attracting and retaining the right customers.
Customers on “internet street” can move from one retailer to another in seconds. Competitors are only a click away and many more businesses are joining internet street especially after the Covid pandemic lockdowns.
But those businesses and brands that are fully committed to this relatively new form of advertising are reaping big benefits.
Here are my 20 internet adverting tactics that you may find helpful to promote your business.
1. Set your internet advertising goals
Goal setting is an important part of an internet advertising strategy. It’s one of the first things you should do when looking to advertising online. A goal could be to attract 10,000 new organic visitors to your website each month. Then you will set out the strategy and tactics that will help you to reach that goal. So every action you take should be towards reaching that goal and you should set the right budget to make that happen. You will also likely have multiple goals for your internet advertising strategy however you should ensure that you have the budget to meet them and not spread your efforts too thinly.
On platforms like Google Ads you can set goals for your campaigns. These goals include sales, leads, website traffic and so on and under each you will have the relevant campaign types, bid strategies, and other features.
2. Get listed on Google
Appearing on search engines like Google is now key to running an effective internet advertising strategy. This means being visible in the places where your customers are looking for your services or product, whether local, nationally or globally. Google has many properties that you can use to showcase your business and these include Google Maps, Search, Video, Shopping, Images and so on.
One of the main properties that every business should be on is Google My Business which helps lists your business on Maps and Search and you can show your business details like opening times, address, phone numbers, website, reviews, product, services and much more. This is especially important for local businesses that want to reach a targeted audience in a locality and highlight the address and contact details on Google Maps.
3. Get customer reviews
There are free and paid options for collecting reviews online. The free options are mostly provided by sites like Google and include Google Consumer reviews, Google My Business and Google consumer surveys. So, you’re not charged anything to join these platforms and start collecting reviews from your customers. The paid options include sites like reviews.io, Trustpilot and Feefo and a host of others that you can find by conducting a search. And many of these have partnered with Google and submit Merchant reviews for sites that advertise on Google.
So, you will see that advertisers that have reviews will have review star ratings with their text ads and this is an effective way to get searchers clicking and purchasing. However, the star ratings only appear when an advertiser has a minimum number of reviews within a 12 month period, which is usually about 100 and that they can maintain a rating of about 3.5. In Google Ads these are known as seller ratings ads extensions and they are an automated extension type.
4.Respond to reviews
Responding to reviews is as important as collecting reviews from your customers, whether positive or negative. It’s especially important if they are negative, so you can address whatever grievance they have. This also demonstrates to other potential customers that you are serious about customer relationship management and you want to do the best for them, whether bad or good. It’s not just bad reviews that harm businesses. It’s the fact that many businesses choose to ignore them and not respond. Many customers will want to see your response and understand how you deal with conflict and what they are likely to get when the deal with you.
Also bad reviews are not a wholly bad thing because people are more likely to trust a business that receives the occasional bad review compared to a business that has zero. Many people don’t trust online reviews and if they suspect that your reviews are not genuine especially if they are many and there are no negatives, then they may not do business with you.
5. Do some keyword research
Keyword research helps with many aspects of your internet advertising. You will need it to optimise your website for the search engines to rank highly for the keywords you choose. You’ll also need it to setup and run Google Ads campaigns and Microsoft Ad campaigns. Keywords are at the core of any search engine advertising strategy and without it you won’t target the right people in the search engines. There are many keyword research tools out there and a good one to use is in SERanking and it helps you find the best keywords for all the major search engines and you can see the average monthly volumes.
However, it’s a paid tool and you will have to sign up for one of their packages to use it, but there is a trial version so you can test run it. Google and Microsoft provide their own free tools and you can see in-depth keyword data for each of these search engines. This shows you past volume data but you use the Keyword Planner tool in Google Ads to do some keyword forecasting.
6. Create a Google Ads account
Google Ads, formerly known as AdWords is the leading Pay Per Click (PPC) Internet adverting platform. It has over 4 million advertisers globally and drives billions of searches to advertisers promoting their products or services. To see an impact in your internet advertising strategy, you’ll need to setup a Google Ads account. You cannot afford to ignore this platform and many of your competitors will be on there and winning sales and leads from searchers.
One major advantage with PPC advertising is that you are targeting people that are actively searching for your products or services. So these are highly qualified prospects and you have to be there when they are searching. This is known as inbound marketing and is far more effective than outbound strategies like having a sales team. Sign up for a Google Ads account and use the Keyword Planner tool.
7. Create a Facebook Ads account
Many advertisers of all types are seeing the benefits of advertising on social media sites like Facebook. With Facebook Ads you can pick the audiences and demographics you need to reach and this is becoming more effective for B2B industries as it is for B2C. And one of the advantages is that you don’t need a website to advertise on Facebook unlike platforms like Google Ads where it is required. However, like other disruptive internet advertising platforms, you are often targeting people that are not actively looking for your products or services. But it’s a great platform for branding and raising awareness and getting people talking about your offers.
8. Create image ads
Image ads have the power to create great branding experiences for your customers and awareness for your business. They are more advanced than text ads and allow you to include other elements like colour and design which lead to high brand recall.
Different platforms have rules about the images they accept. On Google Ads for example, these ads appear on third party platforms that are part of the Google AdSense program. So the formats and sizes you create should be in line with these requirements.
9. Use automated internet advertising tools
Automation is here and advertisers that are not making use of it are missing out on a great opportunity. Platforms like Google Ads have built-in automated tools that are powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to drive campaign performance. These tools are tailored to the goals of the campaigns and make decisions at auction time and for placement when it matters most to your campaigns. So you can leverage the power of machine learning and allow the system to make timely decisions and do the heavy lifting. Without automation, you are left to make all decisions manually and you will often lose out on key opportunities.
These decisions relate to such things as what bids to set for specific keywords and which text combinations to show when people are searching. Without the power of automation, you will often set the wrong bids and this could mean your ads won’t appear when they should or will be in a lower position when they could be in a more prominent position. It also means you could show headlines and descriptions that are not specifically to the searches that are looking for your products or services. The machine learning system will know what has worked in the past and will adjust bids accordingly and tailor the ad headlines and descriptions. To get started with automation in Google Ads, sign up for an account and setup a Smart campaign to promote your services or products.
10. Optimise your website
Optimising your website may not sound like an internet advertising tactic because you aren’t actually advertising. However, if you consider that with your paid advertising traffic you may be sending people to a page that has content and structural issues, then you should do something. Because sending people to such pages will just lead to high bounce rates and also low conversions and will spell disaster for your advertising campaigns. We often think of website optimisation as relating to search engine optimisation (SEO) only, but that is a mistake.
It’s important for paid media too like PPC traffic and social media paid traffic and other offline traffic too and helps to boost visitor confidence in your business. This relates to making sure that you have well structured content with good keyword-rich headings and sub-headings and well optimised images with alt text for text readers. It also includes optimising for mobile users and making sure that the lead content is above the fold and that they don’t have to pinch and squeeze to read text. And also includes adding a good call to action and a lead form for businesses that want to capture quality leads. All of this helps to improve landing page experience and your keyword quality scores and bounce rates.
Backlinks, also known as inbound links or one way links are links pointing from one website to a page on your website. Search engines like Google and Bing consider backlinks ‘votes’ for a specific page so the more you have them, the more likely you are to rank higher. However it is more important to have high quality backlinks more than quantity. In fact, building too many low quality links in a short space of time could get your website demoted on Google. The best strategy to follow is to get relevant links from websites or pages that relate to your industry.
There are many ways to get backlinks to your website. These include guest posting which happens to be my favourite and has long lasting benefits. This is more natural and will help your website rank higher in the search engines. Make sure the anchor text you use for the link is related to a keyword that you want to rank for. You could also request a link from a website that could benefit their visitors with the information you provide, however this is unlikely to be as successful. Not many website owners will allow that and they would often want something in return.
12. Fix your website speed
Fast website loading times are essential to running effective internet advertising campaigns. Research by Google reveals that even a small improvement to website speed can have a positive effect on business results for brands. This is really important for all visitors do especially for those arriving from Smartphone devices. These people are on the go and have little time to waste waiting for your pages to load. Check that all the pages on your website are quick and load under 2 seconds and use the Google tool at developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/Insights/ to run a speed test.
13. Run a YouTube video campaign
YouTube is one of the largest websites on the web with billions of hours of video watched each month. As a Google property, you can create an advertising campaign to promote your videos and channels. And you can do that in your Google Ads account when it is linked to your YouTube account.
14. Create a product feed
For e-commerce websites, a Google Shopping campaign presents one of the best ways to launch an internet advertising strategy. The benefits include advertising to people who are searching for your products and showing them a price and image and description before they even click your listings. So that helps you target the right people and also prevents those who are not interested from clicking your product listings.
To get started you need to create a Google Merchant Centre account and submit a product feed. There are many ways to create and submit a feed, both manual and automated methods. You can create a CSV feed manually and then upload it to the platform. The problem with this method is that it is time consuming and inefficient because you have to make all changes manually to keep it fresh – and upload it every 30 days. If you use a platform like Shopify you can use one of the feed plugins to create and upload the feed. This is fast and efficient and will save you a ton of time and means your products will be up to date. Sign up for Google Merchant Centre and create and upload a product feed.
15. Setup Google Analytics
Anyone serious about their internet advertising strategy will look to track their website traffic to understand how their ads are performing and how engaged visitors are. This is possible with an analytics platform like Google Analytics, a free tracking suite from Google. There are a number of steps to follow to setup Google Analytics and the setup process walks you through them. You will also need to add some tracking code to your website and you can forward the code to your webmaster or web developer. Sign up for a Google Analytics now.
16. Setup Google Search Console
Google Search Console is one of the most important tools you can implement for your internet advertising strategy. This tool helps you to optimise your website to achieve good visitor engagement and high rankings in the search engines. This is important for both paid traffic and organic traffic and helps to increase sales and leads and improves conversion rates. It also helps to increase visitor engagement and reduces bounce rates, when people just visit and leave without viewing other pages or interacting with your content. In the navigation menu in Search Console you will see options for Performance, Coverage, Sitemaps, Mobile Usability and others.
In Sitemaps for example, you can add a new sitemap of your website to make sure that all the pages are indexed successfully. This increases page discoverability and you will rank better in the search engines.
In Performance you can see which queries your pages are getting impressions and clicks from. And you can see the average Click Through Rate (CTR) and what the average positions your pages have on Google. You can customise this report to whatever you like and see data for different time periods like the last 7 days, last 28 days and so on.
Signup for a Google Search Console and start tracking the performance of your website.
17. Update your blog regularly
Blogging is one of the most effective ways to bring targeted traffic to your website. By creating blog posts related to your products or services, you can rank highly in the search engines for specific searches and drive hundreds and thousands of new visitors. And the best part is this is free traffic and you don’t have to pay for it, unlike other internet advertising strategies like PPC advertising. To get started with blogging, first do some keyword research to find out which keywords you want to rank for. You can use the free Keyword Planner tool in Google Ads and search for the keywords that you will include in your topics.
Check the level of competition for these keywords by doing a search on Google. You may find that some have hundreds of millions of competing pages and have some major websites ranking on Google for them. So you may want to avoid these at the beginning and instead focus on some long tail keywords that you can achieve quicker success with. And as your traffic increases and your blogs authority increases too, you can tackle more difficult keywords and do some good lengthy and targeted posts. Detailed blog posts with over 1000 words usually work best and you could get some quality backlinks from people sharing your content.