POTTSTOWN PA – Internet search advertising is one of the fastest-growing outlets for businesses of all sizes, according to information from the Pottstown PA chapter of SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives). Thanks to the convergence of search engine technology and high-speed Internet connections, customers in search of information about a particular product or service can have literally hundreds of answers in seconds.
Businesses who want added visibility often invest in small, text-only ads that appear atop or alongside search engine results. Such ads are ideal for small businesses, as they offer tremendous flexibility to control costs and can be tailored to specific search keywords, such as those for a geographic area or a specific product or service.
Internet ads also allow small business owners to test various marketing approaches almost instantly. For example, florists can quickly change from prom to wedding season or an air conditioning service can exploit an early heat wave. What’s more, results from these types of ads can be tracked, and return on investment measured in tremendous detail never available with traditional print types of advertising.
Local businesses that use a website to sell or market products and services will find online marketing critical to their success. Targeted ads attached to keyword search results are the clear winner among Web-based marketing methods. Their simplicity, low cost and popularity among small businesses have pushed flashy banners aside as the main method for connecting buyers and merchants online.
Best of all, Internet advertising is relatively simple to implement. In the two most popular search ad outlets — Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing, advertisers bid on the keywords or phrases for their campaigns. The higher the bid, the higher an ad will be listed in the paid results. Advertisers pay only when someone clicks their ad and visits their site. A prospect who only reads a brief ad but doesn’t click it costs advertisers nothing.
Both Google and Yahoo have built-in tools to help advertisers track the effectiveness of their Internet ad campaigns. One important statistic is the “click-through rate” – how often the ad is clicked in proportion to how often it appears. Ads with high rates are obviously good; low-rated ads should probably be modified or deleted to maximize cost-effectiveness. In addition, Google also offers free “Google Analytics” that can help analyze website statistics.
To learn more about marketing small business on the Web, call the Pottstown chapter of SCORE at 610-327-2673. SCORE is a national nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners.