An Introduction to Digital Advertising

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Advertising has come a long way over the years. Once upon a time, you might hire someone to stand outside your business and yell at passersby. Eventually came billboard advertising, business cards, television commercials, and so on, up to the modern era. Now we have banner ads, Facebook advertising, and the Google advertising giant. If you’ve never taken advantage of digital advertising channels before, it can be intimidating to get started. Don’t worry, it’s not that scary! We’ve written a quick introduction to get you situated. Digital advertising should be a part of any marketing plan.

How Many Different Digital Advertising Channels Are There?

There are many different digital advertising channels. The following is a selection of the best, most effective categories, with a brief introduction to each. Use this guide to get yourself situated and as a jumping-off point for deeper research, like a table of contents for the world of digital advertising.

1. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Often, banner ads you see on various websites are also using a PPC model. The cost to you per click will vary depending on a few factors, such as the quality of the ad, keyword search volume, and competition in your field.

2. Display Advertising

A popular and highly visible type of digital ad. You can go to just about any website and see some examples of this category. The banner ad at the top of your favorite news website, the square ad on the side of the page as you scroll down, and so on. These are just the visual ads you see throughout the internet.  Often, you might pay on a Cost-Per-Impression (CPI) model, as opposed to the PPC model. Then, you can just put your ads into the Google Display Network and choose from various factors about targeting, audiences, and pricing.

3. Email Marketing

First, let’s state the obvious: to do email marketing, you must first collect email addresses to send your marketing collateral to. There are a variety of ways to do this. For example, maybe you have a website for your business and a lead generation form for customers to fill out to get on an email newsletter. Perhaps you have a sign-up form for customers to fill out at your physical place of business to hear about discounts.  The important thing is that however you’re collecting those emails, you state in writing that by providing you with their email, people who fill out the form are consenting for you to send them emails. So once you have those emails, you can send whatever sort of marketing materials you like. Just don’t send too frequently, and make sure what you’re sending is relevant. But, of course, the last thing you want is for people to unsubscribe!

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a more passive digital advertising method than a direct channel, but it’s incredibly important. It’s all about getting your website to rank higher on search engine results pages. For example, when people search for your business on Google, you want your business websiteYelp page, or other relevant materials to appear at the top.  SEO is the art-slash-science of making that happen. It can be pretty complex, but there are various guides and tools out there to help you navigate the process.

5. Social Media Marketing (SMM)

This is admittedly a vast category. There are many different social media platforms: FacebookLinked In, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on. SMM involves two things. The first is simply creating an account for your business on one of these platforms and posting, gaining followers, and spreading information about your business.  The second thing is purchasing ads on these platforms. Again, Facebook is the best place to start for this. It’s easy to start running advertisements for relatively little cost, with relatively precise targeting.

6. Basic Public Relations

This category is part of both traditional and digital advertising, but it’s worth mentioning here. You should reach out to publications and businesses to whom your business might be relevant. Opening a new restaurant? Email all the journalists in your area who write about food. Opening a new hair salon? Get in touch with local beauty influencers. Reach out directly to people who have audiences that might want to hear about your business.  It’s 2021 — you cannot ignore digital advertising. First, use the above list as an introduction to digital advertising. Then, figure out how it might fit in with your other marketing efforts, such as shopping cart advertising. The best marketing strategies utilize many different channels!

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