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Online Ad Deals

The web is abuzz with great ways to advertise your business cheaply.  Since economic downturn many major websites have seen ad sales decline.  Now they are ready to give you a deal.  Here is an arsenal of low cost marketing tactics for lean times.

Search Engine Optimization.  One of the cheapest forms of online marketing is to improve your company website search rankings on portals such as Google.  Make sure you are in popular online directories such as yellowpages.com and dexknows.com, being all those places that Google reads makes you more relevant in searches.

Banner Ads.  Consider paying for plain text ads that appear on top of or to the right side of search results.  Google’s AdWords program is small business friendly.  It is self serve, there is no minimum budget, and you pay only when customers click your ad.  Since many web pages use Google for searches inside of their site and display ads as well, you will have another way to increase your visibility.

If you’re business is primarily local, consider using niche sites such as CitySearch or Yelp.  Packages at Yelp start around $300 a month.  Most of these portals allow businesses to create custom profiles for free, some will allow video even.  You can buy ads on them that pop your company to the top of relevant search results.  As a hidden bonus, because these sites are heavily trafficked and constantly changing, search engines rank their pages high.  You get increased visibility at no added cost.

Negotiate.  If you would like to appear on a major website that carries ads you should approach the advertising representative directly.  Chances are that they will have some unsold space and be willing to cut their prices for you.  Make an offer.  Check their sites to see if they have a lot of ads promoting the site’s own wares, if that is the case then the have a lot of open advertising space and should be willing to cut you a deal.

Ad Networks. The emergence of more sophisticated ad networks has been a boon to budget conscious small business owners.  These networks use advanced software to identify precise demographics of internet users.  They can sell you a precise slice of that particular online audience.  This precision means much lower rates for you.   Through these networks you can target advertise to people surfing the web in one city or an entire zip code.  The networks buy ad space in bulk so they can pass on some of the savings to you.  Ad networks can employ “retargeting.” Their software can track the visitors to your site who do not buy anything, analyze their internet use and place follow up ads on sites they frequent.  Because they are so precise and computerized these ads are fairly cheap.  They can run as low as $4 to $8 CPM, instead of $40 or more for general online ads.

Pay Per Click.  You may be able to work out a pay per sale deal.  In these cases if your ad is not productive you pay nothing.