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Take Me To Your Homepage: How to use online advertising to drive traffic to your website

by Matthew Basile on January 22, 2010

Imagine that Bugs Bunny represented every single person who used the internet. Imagine a free spirited consumer, often in control of what’s in front of them, and containing the ability to always come out on top of situations.  This would make for a very jaded internet user, constantly skeptical of the message being presented.

Then, all of a sudden, Elmer Fudd comes along and dangles a carrot from some string off a branch; in an instant Bugs’ attention is captured and he begins to follow that carrot. This analogy represents precisely how difficult it is for online advertising to directly influence internet behavior. The carrot on the string in this case symbolizes just how important knowing your audience really is, and that in the end the consumer always wants something in return.

In order to leverage online advertising’s full potential when trying to increase traffic to your website, two things should be top of mind as far as devising your strategy.

The first and probably the most important element of your strategy should be the online media buy and placement. What’s your budget? And where do you spend that money in order to get the best results? Understanding media is a crucial step in this venture because this step determines who will see your ad. Think: is there a strategic connection between your brand and the host website’s brand? And would the host’s audience benefit from your product or service?

Say for example, you own a driver’s education school and you decide to use internet advertising as the medium to promote your website and its service. As far as your media buying strategy is concerned it would make the most sense to affiliate yourself with brands like your local ministry of transportation, something in direct relation to what you offer. If your budget prohibits you from going in that direction perhaps try buying space on auto trader’s website, a site known for inquiries of first time car purchasers.  Where you place your ad determines which audience will be reading your message, your job from there is to make it shine like a big orange carrot.

The second point examines the creative perspective of your message. What is your ad saying or doing in order to get the audience’s attention? Your online advertising must provoke a web user to click through and it must present an urge to know more about what you’re offering.

Interactive banner ads have become synonymous with 360 marketing campaigns. More and more the creative element of branding is finding its way online, and is often seen through interactive banner ads. Creative Directors across North America have been re-evaluating budgets with this medium in mind because online interactivity directly correlates with audience response. Websites like this actually exist as an archive for creative and interactive online banner ads where thousands of web users go to seek out advertising; It’s like the Super Bowl of banner ad websites.

However, just as ad placement could prove costly, so can its traffic. Budgets often halt certain ideas from ever coming to life, but that shouldn’t deter you from the creative element of this medium. In the end, creativity is always king. Elmer Fudd had the idea to use the carrot to get bugs’ attention instead of his double barrel shotgun, after that it was a matter of making it happen.

Compared to mass media, (print, t.v, radio), online advertising is still in its infancy despite the recent progress made over the past five or so years. Because it’s so new, online advertising’s success will always be decided by legitimacy. Social Media has helped build online advertising to a place of legitimate information; legitimacy in that people use it…a lot of people.

Facebook and Linkedin are two social networking sites that maximize the potential for both, who see’s your website/online banner and what will interest them in seeing it. Social networking sites like these are essentially data banks of market research. Internet users are categorized and grouped by interests, geography, likes and dislikes. Advertising in this capacity has the potential to hit the exact audience you set out for in your strategy as well falls well within the realm of what’s acceptable budget wise.

Google’s AdWords program is similarly effective as well. It is a pay per click program that allows you to display your relevant ad throughout Google’s endless online lexicon and search engine marketing techniques. The program is budget friendly, can be extremely effective when the language is approached creatively, and is part of a community where the phrase “Google it” is a completely acceptable answer to any question in the world. In a nut shell – it’s a great way for a lot of the right people to see your online advertising.

Ultimately Elmer Fudd is still your website. The carrot on a string is your online advertising. And good ol’ Bugs Bunny is still the audience. Ultimately your goal should be to increase the effectiveness of how you use your carrot from both a creative and strategic standpoint to help drive more traffic to your website on a regular basis. Get that rabbit to love your carrot, just don’t try too hard to be like Elmer Fudd or you will lose that battle in the end (pesky wabbit); create a relationship with them so that eventually they just know to trust your carrot, give them a reason to need your online services and they will come.

Related posts:

  1. Using Social Media to Build Traffic for Your Website
  2. Grow Your Business through Online Advertising
  3. The Benefits of Advertising with the Yahoo! | Bing Network
  4. Social Media for Small Business Part I
  5. Social Media For Small Business – Part II: Tools and Resources For Your Small Business

{ 5 comments }

MPL February 15, 2010 at 3:25 PM

I really love the way you opened this up, the analogy is both clear and creative. I have often tried to come up with good ways to advertise my site without any sort of investment because I quite simply can’t afford to pay for advertising in my start up phase. Pointing out sites like Facebook and Linkedin really was something that I hadn’t thought of, so thanks for that!

Knightly February 23, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Online advertising is really scary to me but that is probably because I am so small time I really like your example though it illustrates a clear picture that even a 4 year old could understand

PotsNPans October 26, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Yeah, it’s amazing how even small-time online business owners need to understand advertising. More people should have access to step-by-step ad explanations like this.

Randy5 August 23, 2011 at 9:02 AM

I wouldn’t be surprised if even at this early date online advertising is responsible for more sales than any other kind.

OhDonna August 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM

In a way, being “small time” can make advertising less scary, as you have more freedom to experiment. Big-time operations are spending big money on their advertising campaigns, and thus are under pressure to deliver big results.

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