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How Do I Develop an Online Advertising Plan?

Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen

Online advertising is one of the most popular methods of creating brand awareness, because it is believed to have the potential to reach a wider audience than other forms of advertising can. Creating a good online advertising plan is essential to ensuring your company makes the most of every marketing dollar and reaches the right audiences. A good plan involves research and planning, implementation, and ongoing evaluation of effectiveness.

The first step in developing a good online advertising plan is to determine your target audience or demographic, and to decide how to reach that audience. For example, if you are trying to promote your company’s baby stroller, you will want to place your ad on sites geared towards new or expectant parents rather than a site dedicated to the latest technological advances in cell phones. While your target audience may visit the cell phone site, they are most likely not there to learn about the best baby gear, so your ad may go unnoticed.

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Man holding computer

After doing your research and settling on a list of sites that you feel will best fit your needs, you are ready to implement the ad placement part of your online advertising plan. Contact the advertising department or owner of the site, narrow your choices down to those that fit in your budget best, and follow the directions given by the site for submitting your ad. It may be tempting to put all your advertising funds into placing an ad on a site with the highest traffic, but keep in mind that users of that site are already accustomed to the ads and tend to ignore them more easily, so a smaller site may actually generate more traffic to your company.

A good online advertising plan makes full use of social networking sites. Interacting with potential customers helps them feel more connected to your company. If your budget allows, you can hire a social media professional to manage this end of the campaign. Otherwise, be prepared to spend some time each day answering questions and engaging your audience with interesting bits of information about your company and product. You may want to consider running mini-campaigns on your social networking sites, such as offering a high-value coupon to the first 1,000 people that sign up. Just be sure to read the site’s policy to ensure your campaign follows their rules.

After you launch your online advertising plan, you must be prepared to constantly monitor its progress and make adjustments. If one method of advertising is not bringing in the expected results, switch to another. Just keep in mind that generating interest and visitors to your site can take time, so don’t drop a campaign without giving it a chance to succeed if it appears to be slowly building in momentum. Remember that the Internet is constantly changing, with new sites started every day, so keeping up with trends is important to running a successful ongoing ad campaign.

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