Millions of people use the Internet everyday, so it would seem like the ideal location to simply place ads and generate great results. But that is not necessarily the case. Many novice and veteran online advertisers make the same mistakes, which undercut the effectiveness of their Web ads. Here are 10 of the most common mistakes with some tips on how to avoid them.
- Wasting money. No business owner wants to throw their money away on ineffective ads, but many still do. Business owners routinely spend money to advertise on Web sites that generate lots of unique hits but do not draw paying customers to their businesses. Track the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns, and discontinue advertising on any site that does not deliver quality leads that convert into sales.
- Paying for pop-ups. Pop-up ads generally are not effective. In fact, they may turn away rather than attract your prospects. The growing popularity and effectiveness of pop-up blocking utilities make buying pop-ups a losing proposition.
- Spamming. If you are sending unwanted emails, you may be sending SPAM, which can ultimately hurt your business. Email marketing is possibly the most effective tool in your arsenal, but it must be used properly. You should generally market only to people who have opted in to your mailings.
- Overspending on copywriters. Web copywriting is not rocket science. A smart, creative young copywriter with fresh ideas can often do a comparable or better job than a veteran writer. There is no shortage of young writers looking to build a portfolio of their work If you are working with a copywriter and not getting the results you want, try another writer.
- Favoring style over substance. Most advertising puts style ahead of substance, but Internet advertising is an extreme case. Flash animation and other high-tech “glitter” is no substitute for saying something significant about your product or service.
- No call to action. For an ad to be effective, you must tell people what to do. Putting your name in front of your target audience on a regular basis is half the battle, the next step is letting them know what you want them to do. A call to action can be as simple "Click here to learn more," but every ad should have one.
- Stale advertising. The same boring ad does not enhance your brand, and it may even damage your brand equity. While an established brand, slogan or logo could be your trademark for many years, you still need to remain current and continue to include creative variations on a theme.
- Not utilizing all your online (and offline) opportunities. While you never want to "junk up" your site or your newsletter with too many ads, you need to strategically place advertisements and promotion in the right places for the best results. Too often, page headers and footers and other key locations are underutilized. Advertising your own products, both on- and offline, is critical.
- Not being viewer-friendly. Just as your Web site should be user friendly, it should also be easy on the eyes. Readers should be able to get the intended message clearly without being distracted by flashing ads, imposing blocks of text, or other design faux-pas. Read Eight Top Web Site Design Mistakes for more information on how to design and build great-looking Web pages.
- Poor placement. If you do not know where your ad will be placed, do not spend a dime on it. When you purchase advertising on a Web site or in a newsletter, find out exactly where and when your ads will appear. Make sure your ad appears as it should, appears where you wanted it to, and when you expected it to run. Follow-up and tracking are critical to any advertising campaign.
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