First, find out what you must know about advertising on the World Wide Web.
It's difficult these days to turn on the television
or pick up a newspaper without
hearing some discussion about the Internet. But while the "experts" are busy
forecasting and debating about the Internet as a marketing tool, millions of
independent thinkers have seized the unique opportunity and exposure the Internet
offers, to sell everything from self-published literary works to networking opportunities
and more! But there comes a time when you have to cut through the fat and gristle to
get to the meat beneath. Let's look at some of the myths about Internet advertising.
Myth # 1 You need a computer
to advertise on the Internet.
You don't need a computer to advertise on the
Internet. The only time a computer
becomes necessary is if you want to design and load your ad yourself; if you want to
go online and see your home page; or if you want to make use of electronic mail to
receive and respond to prospects. Internet advertising services are popping up
everywhere and can relieve you of the requirement of owning a computer yourself.
Advertising services can create an ad or a home page for you that can be as basic or
as elaborate as your budget allows. However, you will need to do some homework to
make sure you get the best value for your money when selecting which service to use
to get the best results.
Myth # 2 It costs a huge
of money to advertise on the Internet.
Perhaps at one time it did cost a lot to advertise
on the Internet and no doubt there
are many services still charging exorbitant rates. But it no longer costs an arm and a
leg to place an ad or get a home page on the World Wide Web. Be a wise consumer,
shop around, compare prices and services and be sure to ask about hidden or
ongoing monthly fees. A reasonable price is about $20 - $50 per month.
Myth # 3 Internet
advertising doesn't work.
Now is the time to get on the Internet. Particularly
if you intend to market a product or
service. Internet advertising does work if you have done your homework, selected the
best location, and are using a marketing strategy. One of the keys is to set up your ad
in a Mall or theme site where a large traffic flow has already been established,
increasing the "hits" or visitors to your site. Compare it to this analogy. Which do you
think is going to be more profitable, setting up a store in an urban retail mall, or
establishing a store on a dead end road in the outback? The Internet is a mighty big
place and you can easily get lost and waste your money if you aren't wise about
where and how you advertise. Of those people who say Internet advertising doesn't
work, we would bet that the majority have compromised effectiveness by paying 5
bucks for a lame hodgepodge they call a "home page" without any thought
whatsoever to location and promotion. In short, their page is indeed on the "Net" but
no one knows it's there! In this situation it would be a miracle if it did work!
Myth # 4 All Internet
Advertising Services Are Equal
With all the information floating around today,
just about any one with a computer and
knowledge of programming code can create a home page and put it on the Internet.
Of course the old adage "you get what you pay for" applies. Determine exactly what
you are you going to get with the service you select. Get the advertising service's web
address and go and check out their site for yourself. Once at their site, see how the
advertisers are listed, is the site organized and logical. Determine what you can do
with your site once it is up, specifically; can you make changes to your page once it is
up, what about graphics, color, hyperlinks, customer service, promotion of your site,
registration with search engines, and on and on. If you pay $5 for a home page you'll
get (with some luck), maybe a $5 return. It is worth your time to invest your money
wisely with a service that is going to provide you something in return.
Myth # 5 If I place my
get a home page on the
Internet's World Wide Web,
50 million people will see it.
This is perhaps the biggest myth of all. Here
is the reality. Yes there are an estimated
30-50 million Internet users but not all of them will see your ad. Just like running an ad
in a national newspaper with a 100,000 circulation doesn't guarantee that your ad will
be seen by all 100,000 readers. What it really means is that you have a potential
audience of 30 - 50 million. The actual reach of your home page to all of those users
is a percentage of that number and depends largely on where your site is located and
how it is promoted.
Myth # 6 If I place my
with an advertising service
they will promote my home page
for me and will generate traffic to my page.
Very few Internet advertising services are doing
any kind of promotion of their own
site and therefore their customers' home pages. The unwise or gullible consumer is
easily convinced that just being on the net guarantees them an audience of 30
million. The uninformed fail to ask about web site promotion, after all aren't 30 million
Internet users worldwide enough to generate a response? Wrong. If the advertising
service you have selected isn't promoting their site both on and off the Internet, you
will have the equivalent exposure of a lonely sign post in a vacant weedy lot.
Myth # 7 After I place
ad on the Internet my job is done.
Placing an ad on the Internet is only the beginning.
For you folks who think it's as
easy as placing a home page and then sitting back to collect the revenue, think again!
An ad on the Internet should complement other forms of advertising that you do.
Your URL (web site address) is as important as your phone number. Use it
everywhere that you would use your phone number and postal address whether it be
giving someone your business card, sending a sales letter or running a TV spot. Have
you seen a Toyota commercial lately or an MCI commercial? Pay attention next time
one comes on the tube and you will most likely see their web address as part of their
glitzy mega dollar television commercial. Now don't get defeated and jump to the
conclusion that Internet advertising is not worth it for the little guy. Advertising on the
Internet is an excellent way for every business, big or small, to advertise products and
services. But the jig doesn't end there. You must select the right service for you by
addressing the points outlined here.
Myth # 8 Search engines
guarantee that my web site
can be found on the Internet
Search engines are one way that prospects can
find your ad or web site. There are at
least 500 existing search engines, and only a dozen or so are really good. The
chances of a prospect finding the right search engine where you are registered is
slim. There are of course the major search engines like Yahoo and Lycos which offer
you a better chance of being found. If the advertising service you are considering
offers home page registration, then by all means get it done or if you can, do the
registration yourself. Registration with the major search engines is a great idea,
however, you can also increase the chances of your home page being found among
the millions of home pages on the web through your own resources. Specifically;
1) Choose an advertising service that promotes
the location where your site is
2) Do your own extensive promotion by including your web address on all of your
existing marketing materials including direct mail pieces, package stuffers, letter
head, display ads etc.
3) Post announcements to news groups related to the topic of your web site. A word
of caution: be aware of what is and is not acceptable by way of postings in a specific
news groups before you wade in announcing your site. Avoid blatant postings "My
home page is amazing come see!
Myth # 9 The Internet
a load of hype and will die
off soon to go the way of the 8
track tape and the pet rock.
The Internet is here to stay and will continue
to grow and expand. Over half of the
fortune 500 hundred companies are already advertising on the Internet. According to
USA Today "Every business will have a web site." Online retail sales are expected to
skyrocket, "from 1995 revenues of $300 million, online retail sales are expected to
increase to more than 6 billion by 2,000 (Forrester Research). This is simply a
phenomena that is not going away as businesses embrace this technology with a
passion never before seen. Unique to the Internet is the fact that the small player or
business person is on equal footing with the corporate giants. The mega companies
with the huge advertising budgets do not have the same marketing clout on the
Internet as they do in the print media. The playing floor is level and the door is open
and ready for aspiring entrepreneurs.