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Operating your business online means that it is easier for you to reach new customers. It also makes you accessible to your already existing ones. Indeed, when you advertise your online business, there are a wide range of potential advertising avenues and greater potential for marketing research. However, the sheer variety and volume of advertising methods available to you online can be overwhelming and confusing. This article will provide some insight into advertising for your online business by providing some starting points for your advertising plan.

Develop a Plan

Just as you would do for an offline advertising campaign, you need to develop a plan for your business’ online advertising. This means identifying your target audience and conducting research to understand their buying process. This research could include:

  • user surveys;
  • web analytics;
  • focus groups; or
  • competitor analysis.

Once you do this, you can identify the best way to advertise to your customer base and which avenue would be the most constructive and cost-efficient. Different online advertising methods will appeal to different demographics, so ensure that you know which one will work for you. Weigh up how much you spend on advertising with the sales leads it creates.

For example, if you target a predominantly younger audience, you may find advertising through Instagram successful. However, if your audience is older, email marketing may be more efficient.

Manage Your Social Media Presence

Most businesses nowadays will have some advertising presence on social media. However, you do not need to create a page or account on every social media platform out there. Identify which ones your target customers are likely to use the most, and focus your attention on those. 

For example, some customers may be more likely to purchase your products if someone they admire or trust endorses them, such as a podcaster or social media influencer.

Keep in mind that you are not only advertising to get likes on Facebook but to attract new customers that will buy your products. Create a plan for the content you will post and how that will bring customers to your business. 

For example, if you run a bakery, it would be good to post pictures of the pastries you create to an Instagram account. The posts you create may then include links to your website for online orders.

Maintain a Distinct Brand

When advertising for your online business, it is vital to maintain a distinct and recognisable visual presence across your advertising platforms. This could be a: 

  • distinctive logo; 
  • symbol;
  • name;
  • shape;
  • colour scheme; or
  • font.

With an easily recognisable symbol for your business present in all of your advertising, customers will be more likely to remember you. 

Tip: Ensure that you trademark any critical intellectual property to prevent someone else from trying to use your brand for their own gain.

Carry through this brand on your website as well. Customers will be less likely to engage if your website is poorly designed and not easily navigable, so be sure to invest in effective web design. Many e-commerce platforms provide professional-looking templates, or you can pay someone to design your website for you if you do not have the experience yourself.

Take Advantage of Online Advertising Tools

Many social media platforms offer advertising tools for businesses on their sites, optimised for targeting your desired demographic. They will likely have similar advertising services if you primarily operate on an online marketplace.

If these advertising methods are likely to reach your target audience, take advantage of what is available to you. If your customers are likely to use Facebook more, use their advertising program to show your advertisements to potential customers. Google also has a similar system that will advertise your products on the search engine and its affiliated sites, such as Youtube.

For example, Facebook offers a service called ‘Facebook Pixel.’ This is a tracking code that links your advertisements on Facebook to your website, letting you know what Facebook users do when they visit your website. It can show you insights depending on what your goals are.

If you use any customers’ personal information for these advertising services, make sure you have their permission to do so.

Establish Honest Advertising Practices

When developing your advertising plan, you must keep your legal obligations in mind as you do so. If you mislead your customers with your advertising or make any unsubstantiated claims, then you could face hefty legal penalties. Make sure your advertising is:

  • honest and accurate;
  • provable and backed up by evidence; and
  • not reliant on fine print disclaimers.

Key Takeaways

Whether you solely operate online or use your website to bring customers in-store, developing an effective and researched online advertising plan will go a long way. Find out what advertising is most effective for your target customer demographic, and adjust to that accordingly. If you would like more information or help with advertising for your online business, contact LegalVision’s NZ online business lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I advertise my online business?

How you advertise for your online business will depend on where your target audience spends most of their time. For example, if your target demographic is on Facebook a lot, you would use Facebook’s ad services.

Should I advertise on social media platforms?

If your customers use particular social media platforms, it is good to advertise on those sites. Social media sites often have ad services designed for businesses, so look into what works for you.

How can I advertise online for free?

Google offers a service called ‘Google My Business’, which is free. This lets you set up a business profile attached to their search engine and map functions, which potential customers will see when they use these services.

What does SEO stand for?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. This refers to optimising the likelihood of your business coming up in their Google searches and is relevant for advertising purposes.

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