Advertising online - through pay-per-click (PPC) adverts, banners and other messages - can be an excellent way to promote your brand, boost traffic to your website and generate sales. It should be an important part of your internet marketing strategy
You can plan your internet advertising as you would traditional press advertising, by looking for websites that have the right audience. This could include online publications or price comparison sites that cater to your target market, for example.
You should also run a search with keywords and phrases your customers are likely to use. Provided that the websites that come up aren't competitors, they may well be good places to advertise. A quick check will tell you whether each site has the right image and offers the web advertising opportunities you are looking for.
Or you could buy advertising from a 'content network' that automatically displays your ads on websites that are likely to have the right audience. You have less control over where your online advertising appears, but it can be effective nevertheless.
There are other alternatives, too. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is ideal for putting your product in front of people who are ready to buy. You only pay for people who actually click on your ad to come to your site. This enables you to track visitor journeys while monitoring the effectiveness of your search engine keywords.
You can also pay for website advertising according to the number of times the ad is displayed. So the more people who visit the web page on which your advert is featured, the more you pay. Often referred to as CPM ('cost per mille' or 'cost per thousand displays'), this is good for brand exposure.
You can even pay for your online advertising on a cost per action (CPA) basis, where you only pay for the number of viewers who actually buy your product as the result of an ad. This kind of payment scheme requires a close relationship with the website where your ad is published, and is typically part of an affiliate marketing relationship.
You are likely to have different online advertising options. For example, you might be able to buy different ad sizes in different places or choose which pages of a website to advertise on.
Prices will vary according to the size, location and style of your advert (you might include animation, for example), but the most expensive may not be the most effective. A banner ad on the home page might get the most exposure, but an ad on the page most relevant to your product might deliver more people to your site.