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Make It a Banner Year

By keeping your objectives focused and your expectations realistic, you can derive significant benefits from an online ad campaign.
October 1, 2001
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/44996

Online ads are kind of like Tae Bo videos: Some folks swear by them; others are convinced they're overhyped wastes of time and money (not to mention sweat).

The naysayers have a point-online ads won't click for every company. Is this because the Web is an unreliable venue for communicating an ad message? Hardly. The real reason some companies don't score with online ads?

To ensure that your ads look good and communicate persuasively, you should hire an experienced creative team. To get your ads on sites that pull the eyeballs you're trying to connect with, a seasoned online media buyer needs to be brought on board. The goal of your online ad campaign, however, is yours to define. And for a campaign to bring tangible benefits to your company, you should have one of three specific objectives established at the onset: promotion of your company, branding of your company, or selling of your company's products or services. Let's examine the essential elements of each.

Promotion

Branding

Selling

To convert offer-seekers into loyal customers, you'll need to follow up all sales with a thorough CRM (customer relationship management) program. The extensiveness of your CRM efforts-which can include e-mail newsletters, special discounts and a frequent-buyer program-can vary with your budget.

While a promotion- and sales-oriented online ad campaign can be effective for SMEs, the comprehensiveness of a branding campaign is designed for organizations with the budget and persistence to support it. Whichever option you decide to go with, make sure you keep your messaging and execution consistent throughout the life of the campaign. The closer you adhere to the objectives, strategy and expectations of your original choice, the greater the potential for your online ad campaign to generate genuine benefits-with minimum sweat.


Barry Zeger is the president of Vertical Cloud Inc., a provider of copywriting and content strategy services for ad agencies, venture capitalists and start-ups.