Started your new business and don’t know where to advertise?

You have taken the plunge and started a new home based business and are excited about the months ahead, but where do you advertise and how much should you spend?

Advertising can be a total mine field, as we search the internet we are constantly bombarded with adverts promising 1000’s of free visitors to our websites and guaranteed sales. How many times do we see an ad which says pay $29.99 and never have to pay for advertising again. If only these things were true none of us would have to advertise again as we would all have enough customers all the time.

There are methods of free or cheap advertising, however you will benefit greatly by investing in some paid advertising.

Firstly let’s look at free advertising. I would not knock free advertising as at the end of the day it is free, but what you have to remember is that anything that is free is never going to generate massive amounts of traffic. I would stick to the principal that it is free for a reason. Now don’t get me wrong I still advertise on free sites but I would not spend a huge proportion of my time doing this. The free methods which I would spend time doing are free banner exchanges, flyers, posters and the good old method of talking to people.

Paid advertising is however a completely different story and is something which can be fun, if you tackle it in the correct way. This would include search engines, banner ads, classified ads, speciality ad sites etc… The list is exhaustive and the more creative you can be in your thinking the better.

When you decide to start paying for advertising I would first set a budget of what you can afford to spend on advertising and I would then split that over 3 months. Advertising does not guarantee instant sales and therefore you need a budget which will carry you through the first weeks while your ad campaign is gaining momentum. Do not be tempted to spend all your money in month 1 as you will have nothing to generate leads in month 2.

Secondly I would pick at least 3 different methods of advertising and split the money between them. You need to have a stable advertising plan and this will ensure that if one method is quiet then the others will maintain your stream of leads.

Finally I would start researching the 3 methods you have chosen to find the best ads for the money you have.

When you are deciding which ads to use make sure you check the popularity of the site, what other ads are placed on there, the cost of the ad and the length the ad will run for. Never pay more than you can afford for an advert and remember it may not yield any results so you need to be able to afford to lose that money. That is the good and the bad with advertising, it can give amazing results but can also disappoint, which is why you need to research each site before you place an ad.

When you are looking for places to advertise your business you need to think about the type of person you want to attract and the sort of places they would be looking. For example if you have a website selling baby clothes then a website advertising fishing equipment would not be the most targeted place to advertise.

Also when you are writing your ad remember your audience, think again about the people that visit that site and target the ad to stand out and appeal to those people.

Finally remember to monitor your results and don’t be afraid to drop an ad if it is not giving you the results you expect, don’t pay for things that don’t work.

Most importantly have fun with it and enjoy looking for new ways to advertise. Once you generate enough traffic to your website the visitors will turn into sales, in many cases it is really just a case of enough people seeing your product or service before people will take advantage of it.

Remember advertising is an art not a science!!! So don’t worry if you don’t master it first time round.

Kate McQuillan,

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