Online advertising Methods

Major Methods of Advertising and Promotion(Methods of External Communications)

Also see
Public and Media Relations
Advertising on Radio and T.V.
Online Advertising and Promotions

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First, A Word About Writing Ads

It's almost useless to review lists of alternatives for advertising if you haven't developed well-written ads. Writing ads is a skill. There are important aspects to think about, including the wording, graphics, arrangement of wording and graphics, coloring, how your audience will interpret the ads, their placement, etc. Poorly done ads can hurt you worse than not having ads at all. Therefore, very carefully consider getting help to write your first ads. (See .)

Before you write your ads, you should give careful thought to your unique selling position so you know what unique features and benefits to convey and to whom. Review information in Positioning.

Note that a common mistake among inexperienced ad writers is to write the ad to themselves, rather than to their current and potential customers. Your ads should clearly the benefits (of products and services) to customers, not the benefits to you - clearly state the ads in terms that the customer will value, for example, easy access, low cost, easy to use, reliability, etc. Your ads should answer the customer's question: "What's in it for me?" Your ad should also specify what they are to do next. What action should they take and how do they take it, for example, who do they call and how.

Brochures or flyers

- Many desk-top publishing and word-processing software packages can produce highly attractive tri-fold (an 8.5 inch by 11-inch sheet folded in thirds) brochures. Brochures can contain a great deal of information if designed well, and are becoming a common method of advertising. (See .)

Direct mail - Mail sent directly from you to your customers can be highly customized to suit their nature and needs. You may want to build a mailing list of your current and desired customers. Collect addresses from customers by noticing addresses on their checks, asking them to fill out information cards, etc. Keep the list online and up-to-date. Mailing lists can quickly become out-of-date. Notice mailings that get returned to you. This should be used carefully and it can incur substantial cost, you don't want to inundate your stakeholders with information so make the most of your message. (See Using Direct Mail and Mailing Lists.)

E-mail messages - These can be wonderful means to getting the word out about your business. Design your e-mail software to include a "signature line" at the end of each of your e-mail messages. Many e-mail software packages will automatically attach this signature line to your e-mail, if you prefer. (See Netiquette - Techniques and styles of writing e-mail messages and E-mail vs. voice mail.)

Magazines - Magazines ads can get quite expensive. Find out if there's a magazine that focuses on your particular industry. If there is one, then the magazine can be very useful because it already focuses on your market and potential customers. Consider placing an ad or writing a short article for the magazine. Contact a reporter to introduce yourself. Reporters are often on the look out for new stories and sources from which to collect quotes. (See Classifieds of Newspapers and Magazines.)

Newsletters - This can be powerful means to conveying the nature of your organization and its services. Consider using a consultant for the initial design and layout. Today's desktop publishing tools can generate very interesting newsletters quite inexpensively. (See Newsletters.)

Newspapers (major) - Almost everyone reads the local, major newspaper(s). You can get your business in the newspaper by placing ads, writing a letter to the editor or working with a reporter to get a story written about your business. Advertising can get quite expensive. Newspaper are often quite useful in giving advice about what and how to advertise. Know when to advertise - this depends on the buying habits of your customers. (See Classifieds of Newspapers and Magazines.)

Newspapers (neighborhood) - Ironically, these are often forgotten in lieu of major newspapers, yet the neighborhood newspapers are often closest to the interests of the organization's stakeholders. (See Classifieds of Newspapers and Magazines.)

Online discussion groups and chat groups - As with e-mail, you can gain frequent exposure to yourself and your business by participating in online discussion groups and chat groups. Note, however, that many groups have strong groundrules against blatant advertising. When you join a group, always check with the moderator to understand what is appropriate. (See the groups listed on the right-hand side, Netiquette - Techniques and styles of writing e-mail messages and E-mail vs. voice mail.)

Posters and bulletin boards - Posters can be very powerful when placed where your customers will actually notice them. But think of how often you've actually noticed posters and bulletin boards yourself. Your best bet is to place the posters on bulletin boards and other places which your customers frequent, and always refresh your posters with new and colorful posters that will appear new to passers by. Note that some businesses and municipalities have regulations about the number of size of posters that can be placed in their areas. (See Signs and Displays.)

Radio announcements - A major advantage of radio ads is they are usually cheaper than television ads, and many people still listen to the radio, for example, when in their cars. Ads are usually sold on a package basis that considers the number of ads, the length of ads and when they are put on the air. . A major consideration with radio ads is to get them announced at the times that your potential customers are listening to the radio. (See Advertising on Radio and T.V.)

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