Utilizing the Internet is one of the quickest and most rewarding ways to grow your small business. Web advertising offers inexpensive methods for you to expand awareness of your business and grow your customer base. With many methods available, you can select which methods work best for your small business.
Display ads are one of the oldest forms of Web advertising, but a form that's still around to this day. Display ads include static images, banner ads, video advertisements and ads that use Adobe Flash. These ads often appear in the borders of websites. The biggest problem with display ads is that most popular Web browsers have add-ons that successfully block such content, meaning not all potential customers see the ads on a given website.
Search-based advertising is effective because it connects you with consumers specifically looking for products or services like yours. Utilized through services such as Google's AdWords and Microsoft's AdCenter, the search engine displays your ad when someone searches for something similar to your product or service. Displayed close to the actual search results, you pay the ad service provider when someone clicks on your ad; you don't have to pay if the searcher doesn't click your ad. The July 2006 edition of The Economist magazine refers to Google as "the world's most valuable online advertising agency disguised as a Web-search engine."
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Even though you're advertising on the Internet, your product or service may be best suited to those in specific locations. If you sell your product online, local ads help drive people in your area to visit your store or try your service. Major search engines such as Bing, Google and Yahoo all have local listing sections where you can register your business. These types of ads are like the phone books of the Internet, where consumers can search for products or services in their area.
Facebook boasts over 900 million active monthly members in March 2012. For the same period, Twitter's official blog reports 140 million active users. With figures like that, social network marketing can help you reach millions of potential customers. While people on social networks may not specifically be there to shop, the ones that like your company's profile may become dedicated customers. Social marketing allows for more interaction and personalization as you build up your network of potential customers.