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So you created your site, you've got it up and running and everything works perfectly. You're ready to watch that return on investment start rolling in.
A day passes.
The reality is, your site needs something extra.
Here's the deal:
Sites are lost without promotion.
This post is going to let you get started promoting your site. It's an easy intro to a big and scary world.
It's the post I wish I'd had when I first started out.
Paid Site Promotion – The Quick and Dirty Guide
Paying to promote a website rubs a lot of people the wrong way.
Everybody does it.
How about Amazon?
Google advertises on Google – a bit meta here.
The Wall Street Journal?
Oh, and look at these handsome devils.
This is because there's profit to be made from paid online advertising – sometimes up to 5X the costs of promotion - source.
Here are some of the terms you'll need to get started:
Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
CPM (Cost per mille, or cost per thousand impressions) is a fairly dated advertising model, but it can bring in a great return on investment. You're paying for eyeballs pointed at the screen – for every thousand visitors a site gets, you pay a certain price to have your ad displayed.
So what can CPM ads do for you?
One reason is that they can be much cheaper than other types of ads. Instead of paying 1-5$ per click, you could pay $1 for 1000 ad impressions.
The problem with this is that the CTR, or click-through rate (the number of times people actually click on your ad) is usually low.
People just don't often click on online ads. When is the last time you did?
However, research from Nielsen suggests that clicks aren't everything. You can boost your brand recognition by having ads on well-trafficked resources, meaning that CPM functions much more like a traditional advertisement.
If you're advertising a brick and mortar business, then you might want to look into CPM advertising, especially if you have a local market that hangs out on specific sites.
It's slightly more difficult to measure the effectiveness of this type of “exposure” advertising.
You can measure the number of clicks they get (and you should) but the end result can be more than just the clicks.
If you want something that's easier to measure, or if your business is mostly conducted online, then you'll want to go further down the rabbit hole.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
This advertising model is still the most common, used on the biggest advertising platforms online.
You pay for actual interactions with the ad – if 1,000 people see your ad but only 10 people click on it, then you only pay for those 10 clicks.
PPC is popular because it's very effective. Whether you're buying banners or Google search ads, you can measure your ROI very precisely and make sure your ad is profitable.
Furthermore, your ad also gets shown, which gives you some of the benefit that CPM does – exposure.
PPC has its drawbacks, though:
Making a profitable PPC campaign is difficult and requires research. Even experienced marketers can have trouble making money with PPC, and the level of optimisation that some of us go to is daunting.
Additionally, the costs can reach $50 per click in competitive niches.
If you've got a well-optimized site, a local business, or aren't working in an ultra-competitive market, then PPC might be your ticket to great returns.
Cost Per Action (CPA)
This is when you pay the advertiser every time someone makes a particular action on your site – usually, this is a sale, but it can include providing an email address, signing up for a free trial, or any other action you can think of.
This type of advertising is not very popular for large, easy to join advertising networks (like Google's AdWords program). This automatically makes it less common.
Also, most site owners don't really like serving CPA ads.
Think about it:
You display a banner ad on your site, people come to your site and see it. Then they click on it, click around the site it's advertising a bit, then leave.
As an advertiser, I'd feel cheated by that scenario. The person was obviously attracted by the banner, but because of the site they landed on they didn't end up buying anything. That's not my fault, that's the fault of the site owner.
If you can manage to get into a good CPA advertising network, then it's usually a good bet. CPA is the lowest-risk because you can use it to pay for leads – no important action, no payment.
Paid Promotion – What the Heck Do I Do Now?
Now that you've got a handle on the basic types of paid promotion, you probably realise the world of paid online promotion is a big, scary one.
While you can definitely get good results from doing it yourself (and I recommend you try once you do a bit more research), it's also a very easy place to lose money.
Here's how to do it right:
Tip #1: Do your research
Creating a campaign with a good click-through rate is useless if you don't know what the people who click on your ad actually want.
It is too easy to assume that everyone wants the same things that you do. Think like your customers – create a consumer profile and make sure you always pay attention to feedback that you receive.
Tip #2: Be purposeful
Sometimes a single campaign is successful, sometimes it isn't. But failing to plan is planning to fail.
If you don't have a global marketing strategy that involves paid promotion, then you're just gambling.
Tip #3: Understand the buying process
People don't often click on an ad then immediately make a purchase. They go through a process of doing research, understanding what benefits your business brings them, making a decision, then making a purchase.
Study the psychology of this process – it can only help you grow. It will be different for different customers at different businesses, but it should be something that you understand well.
Tip #4: Always be testing
Experiments are the lifeblood of this process. Small alterations in your campaigns can lead to big differences in the results. Don't be afraid to set a low budget on an experimental campaign – it could be your ticket to a new market.
Wrapping up, I want to stress that this is one thing that you don't get better at by reading rules and guides. You need to actually do it.
Don't get stuck wondering what's the best advertising platform for you. Remember that it all depends on how you connect and communicate with people.
If you don't want to spend a lot of time and money on experiments, there are professionals who can do it for you.
You can get a Google Ad Campaign right here at Crazy Domains. Get it here.
Next week we'll be going into some free ways that you can use to promote your site. You'll find out a great 1-2 punch to skyrocket your traffic and sales.