I think web advertising is by far the most fun of all advertising media. I love it because it provides you and your readers with almost instantaneous results. Your readers have access to whatever information they are looking for at the very moment they want it! It also provides you with valuable feedback about your offer, creative, and customer interests as indicated by how they respond. It’s almost advertising nirvana.
As part of the StorageCraft Partner Marketing Toolkit, we developed several customizable web ad templates you can use to get your online advertising efforts started, or to enhance what you’re already doing. Feel free, as the saying goes, to “keep or toss,” but whether or not you use these free templates, here are four basic rules that EagleTribune.com of the North Boston Media Group, suggests will help your web ads be more successful:
- A good web ad should not change its overall layout and appearance: Keeping the background the same throughout the ad allows for consistency and clarity. You do not want to confuse the viewer by having things flash in and out of the ad. The ad should appear to flow like a movie. A web ad is an animation NOT a slide show. There is a fine line between attracting attention and becoming annoying. We want people to find the ad interesting enough to click on, but not irritating so that they disregard it.
- Keep the copy short: Pick a few catch phrases and basic information that will entice the viewer. There should be only one main message. A web ad is not a print ad; the point is to grab the viewers’ attention and get them to want more information. DO NOT list every service you offer or every brand you carry (even full addresses and phone numbers are often unnecessary). If your viewer is interested, they will seek more information by clicking on your ad.
- Include a “call to action”: A web ad should always have a “call to action” – a reason or phrase that tells the viewer to do something. In the case of a web ad, the call to action should always be a reason to click on the ad. This should NOT be “Click Here” – people know that they can click on web ads. A relevant call to action such as “Free Estimate,” is much more effective.
- The fewer the images the better: One good intriguing image should be all you need in a web ad. Images take up a lot of space, meaning they increase the file size. The more images that are in an ad, the more they must be compressed. This means your images will be pixelated or unclear and slow animate. Also, the more images you include, the more cluttered and confusing your ad will be, which is just plain irritating. In good web advertising, less really is more.
In addition, StepByStepMarketing.com provides a couple of other helpful hints that will help ensure your online marketing success:
- Create a landing page: Instead of steering viewers to your company’s home page, set up a separate page that carries on the work of the ad. Provide an offer that is easy to respond to and provides immediate results. Don’t make your viewers click multiple times or fill out lengthy forms to get what they want. “If people see the ad, see that it addresses their needs, and the landing page continues where the ad left off, you’re far more likely to achieve your campaign’s objectives,” says Dave Collins, founder of London-based SharewarePromotions.
- Test, test, and test again: Vanessa Pagan, who runs PhantomCTO.com, a Gainesville, Fla.–based consultancy, stresses the importance of testing different ads and tracking their performance. The analytic program you choose should show the source of clicks, where they land on your site, and how they align with your lead generation program.
The last point is, in my opinion, where the rubber meets the road when it comes to web advertising. Make sure you track response frequently. If the response to your ad isn’t what you were hoping for, start again and try something else. Always test one ad against another to see which works best, and then go with the winner. That’s the beauty of web advertising…you can turn on a dime!