What Should You Spend on Advertising?

One of the questions I’m frequently asked is: “How much should my company spend on marketing and advertising?” It’s a conundrum that vexes many corporate leaders, from emerging entrepreneurs to seasoned CEOs. Unfortunately, instead of seeking a rational answer to the question, many of them just ignore it and hope it will go away.

As a rule, emerging companies focus most of their time and talents on meeting the needs of customers, as well they should. If they don’t take care of the customers they already have, everything else will be academic. Strangely, however, many neglect the function of winning customers in the first place. Others naively assume that if they simply provide excellent products or services, their reputation will precede them. Call it the “build a better mousetrap” syndrome. But the world has too many other things to do with its time than beat a path to your door. That means you need to structure your profit-and-loss statement in such a way that you can profitably allocate a reasonable percentage of your revenue to marketing.

The Big Question: How Much?

While there is no definitive answer as to how much any business should spend on marketing, there are general guidelines any company can use to develop a formula that works for them.

Your first step should be to try to find out what the advertising-to-sales ratio typically is in your field. Public companies in your industry may give a figure for their marketing spending in their financial statements (found in their annual reports). With a simple calculation, you can figure out what percentage of their overall revenue that represents. If you can’t find any public companies that seem similar enough to yours, you might want to start at 5% and then adjust your projected spending up or down based on the size of your market, the cost of media, what you can learn about how much your competitors are spending, and the speed at which you’d like to grow.

You’ll also need to ask yourself if your business is built to leverage volume or to leverage margin. Even within industries, there are substantial differences in the marketing spend of volume-driven companies compared with margin-driven ones. Volume-driven companies tend to spend a tiny percentage of sales on marketing, in part because their large revenues enable small contributions to add up fast, and in part because of the margin pressures they face in having to compete with other high volume companies. By contrast, margin-driven companies tend to spend a larger percentage of sales on marketing: They have room in their margins to afford it, and they’re often working from a smaller revenue base.

The retail industry provides some good examples. While Wal-Mart (WMT) might spend a meager 0.4% of sales on advertising, the sheer size of the company turns that tiny percentage into a significant budget. Wal-Mart’s nominally higher-margin competitor, Target (TGT), spends closer to 2% of its sales on advertising, while Best Buy (BBY), as a specialty retailer, spends upwards of 3%. Finally, more upscale stores like Macy’s typically spend on the order of 5%.

The same kind of ratios can be seen in the car industry (automakers’ generally spend 2.5% to 3.5% of revenue on marketing), liquor (5.5% to 7.5%), packaged goods (4% to 10%), and every other industry.

If you’re in a services business, you might want to bump your starting point higher than 5%. For example, like most professional services firms, my company is more margin-oriented than volume-oriented, so fueling its growth requires that we spend a higher percentage of our revenues. Last year, our number was just over 8%, and I’ve seen companies spend upwards of 15% when warranted—especially young companies that need to invest to build their brand.

Marketing, Not Just Advertising

It’s important to make a qualification here. Giant consumer corporations such as automakers, packaged food manufacturers, and retail chains spend a huge percentage of their marketing dollars on paid media advertising, the most visible (and expensive) tool in the marketing toolbox. Depending on the size of your company and the business you’re in, advertising might not be the right (and certainly not the only) tool for you.

A professional services company like my own is a good case in point. While we serve a national clientele, we are much too small to effectively advertise on a national scale. As a result, we don’t purchase paid media advertising. But we do have an aggressive marketing program built around tactics like direct mail, online marketing and public relations. For a variety of reasons, paid advertising might not be right for your company either, but events, vehicle wraps, point-of-sale displays, or other tactics certainly could be.

The important thing is intentionally and deliberately to set aside some rational percentage of your sales to get out there. That way, the question you have to answer isn’t “How much should we spend?” but rather, “How do we spend most effectively?”

Learn From Your Business Mistakes

We all make mistakes in business. The important issue is that we learn from them and then apply the lessons in both our online and off-line business activities. One of my most costly mistakes happened about twelve years ago in the off-line business world. However, the lessons I learned are just as applicable online as they are offline.

Having established a small directory mail order business I decided to expand the business using direct mail techniques. I had read all the books and attended a course and it seemed like the best approach to achieve my goals. After approaching various mailing list providers, I decided I had found the perfect list to reach my target market.

Pricing was obtained from the list owner and he was happy to provide me with small quantities of names initially so that I could test his list. These tests were successful enough for me to decide to undertake two large mail campaigns one after the other. I was very confident that I would be receiving countless orders and would soon be leaving my full-time job.

Disaster struck with the first mailing and the second mailing was too far progressed to stop. The initial sign was a significant increase in the dead letter rate. Then the quantity of orders was less than half what I expected. The second mailing had similar results. I was significantly out of pocket and I had to stay in my full-time job to repay the debts I had created.

Shortly thereafter, I began to read reports that the list owner was being investigated for fraud and other criminal charges. All in all, a sorry state of affairs.

The key lessons I learned from this experience were:

a) Always check the integrity of who you are doing business with – especially if you have not had previous dealings with them.

b) Never assume that limited test results will be duplicated in larger scale tests.

c) Never over-commit to promotional activity – it is better to grow slower than to lose your hard earned money.

d) The stated size and quality of a mailing list should be regarded with caution.

e) Ensure you have sufficient profit margin in your product to be able to survive should your response be very poor – especially in direct marketing activities.

Today, the lessons I learned are applied to my online business activities in the following ways.

Solo mailings to lists of newsletter subscribers are done with caution. Some list owners will inflate their subscriber numbers to encourage advertisers to use their services. The first thing I do is subscribe to the newsletter to see the quality of the content and to see what others are advertising via solo ads.

Then I run a classified ad in the newsletter to test the responsiveness of the subscribers. This also gives me an indication of whether the stated size of the list is true or not. I have had better response from a list of 20,000 than what I received from a list of over 200,000. Many factors can influence such a result.

While you should receive a far better response from solo ads than classified ads, it still pays to test wherever you can. If a classified ad in the newsletter did not result in responses, I would not advertise using the solo ads. However, I might test a few different classified ads to see if the initial results were correct before moving on to other possibilities.

It is worthwhile to “do the numbers” before spending on advertising. While many marketing experts talk about the ‘lifetime value of a customer’ concept, those whose business activities centre on promoting the products of affiliate programs should regard this with caution. Instead, determine how many must be sold so that the commission you receive will cover the cost of your advertising.

The higher the percentage response to your offer you needed to cover your advertising cost, the greater the chance you will make a loss. Do not rely on industry statistics or averages to make your decisions. Keep careful records of your activities so you know what works, what is to be avoided and what to expect from future promotional activities.

Finally, exercise caution when considering safe-lists and any type of email address lists that can be purchased. My experience is that there are NO truly safe-lists available other than having your own opt-in list. Any form of bulk email to people who have not agreed to receive your message will damage your business reputation and your prospects of making a decent living on the Internet.

In Advertising, Consistency Pays Off

I recently purchased a new digital TV. Normally, Circuit City (CC) would have been on my list as one store in which to shop, but the struggles the company was facing (followed by its decision to declare bankruptcy) made me nervous.

I was sure I could somehow get my TV serviced under the manufacturer’s warranty if something were to go wrong, but I figured it would be more of a hassle if the retailer from whom I purchased the TV wasn’t there to back me up. So I went elsewhere.

This principle, which I call “the fear of warranty,” is one of the reasons why GM (GM) is doing everything it can to avoid the bankruptcy process. People tend to feel less comfortable doing business with companies they perceive are on the ropes.

But I submit that the principle holds true at the other end of the spectrum as well. Brands that are setting the world on fire make people feel more confident about (and perhaps even more intelligent for) doing business with them. And one very visible signal a brand can send about its momentum is how consistently it advertises.

Riding the Victory Train

You probably have at least a vague familiarity with the names Michael Beschloss and Doris Kearns Goodwin. They’re the Presidential historians who always seem to be called upon by the television networks to provide expert commentary during campaign seasons. They really seem to know their stuff.

Of course, you and I can’t say with certainty whether or not they are the most qualified historians to comment on Presidential elections. Oh, sure, they are intelligent, studied academics who provide interesting insights. But there are probably many other capable people who could do the same.

What makes us believe that Beschloss and Goodwin are the leading experts is the fact that they are visibly and consistently out there, presumably because they’ve been vetted by people who should know. The fact that we see them on TV all the time is, in and of itself, proof of their leading expertise. Simply put, their visibility leads to credibility.

The same thing is true with products and services we see advertised day after day. The more visible a brand is, the more opportunities it earns to build trust with its customers and prospects.

Consider some of today’s most successful products and services. Without each of us personally spending a great deal of time and effort researching, testing and comparing competitive alternatives, we don’t really know whether Nike (NKE) makes a better shoe, Michelin (MICP.PA) manufactures a better tire, or Verizon(VZ) has created a better network. Instead, we entrust at least some of our judgment to the momentum these brands appear to have in the marketplace.

In some respects it doesn’t even matter what their ads say; the simple fact that each of these brands is actively and consistently “in the game” speaks volumes—especially in challenging economic times—and generates genuine momentum for their brands.

The Wisdom of Crowds

In his book, The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki makes the case that “together all of us know more than any one of us does.” He says, “Markets are made up of diverse people with different levels of information and intelligence, and yet when you put all those people together and they start buying and selling, they come up with generally intelligent decisions.”

In the world of advertising, consistency is like a scorecard on the wisdom of crowds. People know that advertising is expensive, so the more a company advertises, the more successful it must be. And the more successful it is, the more it means that other people are choosing it. Which means that it may be a good idea for you and I to choose it as well.

Your brand can benefit from this power of positive momentum. Through your initial advertising efforts, people will learn that that you exist. With repeated exposure, they’ll learn that you’re stable. With even more repeated exposure, they’ll assume you’re successful—after all, based on your ability to sustain a long-term advertising program, you’d have to be.

The specific content of your ads is, of course, of vital importance as well—Beschloss and Goodwin wouldn’t last long if they were misleading, annoying, or ignorant. But what’s true of your career, of sports, and of life in general is also true of advertising: never underestimate the power of simply showing up.

How to Find New Customers

Would you like to increase your customer base? Then don’t waste time trying to sell to prospective clients who will never buy. Instead, try the following out-of-the-ordinary suggestions for generating qualified leads:
Put Your Clients to Work
Customer referrals might be the best source of qualified leads, because in hooking you up with a prospective client, your current client is endorsing your product or service. “But don’t simply ask for names; rather, encourage your customers to introduce your firm by phone or by e-mail to their friends, then follow up with the prospects yourself,” recommends Martin Wales, president of the Toronto-based company CustomerCatcher.com.

Banish Your Booth
Instead of manning your own trade-show booth, get out and walk the floor. (Consider not buying a booth at all.) “Chat with the salespeople at other booths to learn about their companies and collect contact information,” says Tim Breithaupt, president of Spectrum Training Solutions Inc. in Calgary, and author of 10 Steps to Sales Success. “Then call the decision-makers later.”
Find a New Network
Because so many business people attend functions only within their own industry, “you’re more likely to find competition than customers [at your industry’s events],” says Wales. Network at the functions of your target markets instead. (Event calendars are easily found on most associations’ websites.) You can heighten your visibility at any gathering by donating a door prize, delivering a presentation or introducing a speaker (just be sure to say what your company does).

Make Contests Count
Contests always attract a crowd — but not always a good crowd. Make sure your prizes are directly connected to your business offering (e.g., free products or a consulting session) in order to attract qualified prospective clients and to weed out all those people who’ll do anything for a free t-shirt. And never forget to capture as much information about contest participants as possible, so that you can follow up with the winners and place a sales call to every loser.

How do I advertise my small business?

Online advertising is one of the most powerful advertising mediums available today and yet it is also one of the easiest and least costly to use. When you want to reach a large, highly targeted audience in a short period of time there is no better choice. Online advertising is powerful and immediate with the ability to not only create brand awareness and improve positioning in customers’ minds but to entice direct action such as a web site visit, a newsletter subscription, or a sale

Directory listings are some of the best places to get listed. Having your site listed in directories helps to increase your traffic, as well as boosts your search engine rankings.

How do I advertise my small business?: 6 tips

Q: How can I ensure that my new ad campaign will hit my target audience and have some traction?

A: The problem many small businesses have is that, while there are plenty of advertising choices available, those choices tend to be expensive, and mistakes can be costly. So how do you avoid that and create an ad that succeeds?

Here is a six-step process:

Brainstorm: There are two types of advertisements, so the first thing to do is decide what type you need.

The first is an ad campaign that is more intended to build your brand than for making an immediate sale. This type of ad gets your name out there so that people will recall it, for instance, the ad in the paper that says “Divorce for fathers.” By being placed in the paper again and again, this ad is designed to infiltrate people’s subconscious so that some day down the road, a father who is getting divorced will remember whom to call.

Branding ad campaigns are long-term undertakings. It’s an ongoing process that pays increasing dividends as time goes by.

The second type of ad campaign is intended to create an immediate reaction — a sale — now. The ad may be used to let people know about a special next week or that a shipment of Chinese lanterns just came in. Typically, this campaign is of shorter length and may use several media outlets.

So the first step is to decide what type of ad you want to run.

Budget: The Small Business Administration suggests that you earmark 2% of your gross sales towards advertising. Others believe the amount should be 5%. Either way, the important thing is to make a commitment and earmark the appropriate percentage of gross sales towards that figure.

And remember the rule: Repetition is the key to success. When choosing an ad and a medium, you will need to budget enough money to get your message heard or seen by enough people enough times. Your ad rep will help you figure out how many ads that is.

Choose the right medium: Different media outlets have different strengths and weaknesses. Your campaign may utilize only one or it may take several to accomplish your goals. Keep these factors in mind:

Choose media that reaches your demographic. You must know what your customers watch, read, listen to, and know where they are located. Once you know that, you can request the media kits for the various media and compare the information contained therein to your target demographic. When you find a match, you are headed in the right direction.
Choose media used by your target audience. If you sell sporting goods, then your customers likely read the sports page. If you sell to teens, an alternative rock radio station makes sense. Again, you need to know what your customers read and watch to make an informed decision.
Choose media that you can afford. You need to figure out, with the assistance of the ad rep of the media sources you like best, what sort of frequency you will need to penetrate your target market, and then what it will cost you to advertise. Compare costs with several sources, and narrow the field to the sources that best deliver your demographic at the best cost.
Create the ad: Once you know what sort of ad you want to run and what your media options are, you can start to create an ad or ads that both reinforce your brand and/or increase sales. Your ad rep can help with this, as can the right software program.

Test the ad: The best way to avoid making a costly advertising mistake is to test an ad before committing a lot of money to it. Make sure it pulls first, then you can run with it. This could mean running a smaller version of the ad in print and then enlarging it, or it might mean running your radio spot overnight before placing it during peak commuter time.

Roll it out: Once you are convinced (by your test) that you have an ad that works, and once you know which media sources will offer you the biggest bang for your buck, then you can safely place the ad. In fact, once you have found an ad that works, use it in as many places, and as often, as you can.

Customers Your Company Doesn’t Want

Do a quick exercise: Take a minute and jot down three types of customers your company doesn’t want. Oh, and this is important: You can’t choose people like shoplifters or “sale-hoppers”—the kind of customers that no business wants.

If you’re like most business leaders, identifying customers you don’t want isn’t easy, especially in times like these. But it can be helpful to consider which of your customers are least important, if for no other reason than to help you focus on the most important ones.

We’re all familiar with the old saying, “you can’t be all things to all people.” Yet in business, too often that’s what we end up trying to be. General Motors is a prime example (and look where it got them). There was a time when each GM nameplate was narrowly targeted toward a certain demographic, leaving other company brands to serve their own slice of customers. But over the past several decades, as each GM brand expanded its lineup to serve as many different customers as possible—sports cars for the sporty, minivans for young families, trucks for working people—they ended up stepping on each other’s toes. (See this interactive timeline tracking GM’s last 30 years.)

Consider one of those famous brands now slated for the scrap heap: Pontiac. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, Pontiac was defined by drool-inducing muscle cars such as the GTO, Firebird, and TransAm. The Pontiac brand meant power, styling and cool. Its appeal wasn’t for everyone, but it was powerful for some. Since that time, however, Pontiac has introduced a host of new models like the Trans Sport (a minivan), Sunfire (a compact car), Aztek (an SUV crossover), and Vibe (a hatchback). It’s unclear who, exactly, Pontiac has not been trying to serve, which is another way of saying it’s been aiming to please too many masters. And soon Pontiac will be gone, as will several other once-proud brands in the GM stable.

Don’t Forget the Target

It could be that Wal-Mart (WMT) will learn from the GM example. The company has been attracting a lot more upscale customers of late, for obvious reasons. In the first quarter of 2009, 17% of Wal-Mart’s retail visits were from new customers, and they spent 40% more in the store than the average shopper. Will the company accept their business? You bet—branding is about whose business you’ll seek, not whose you’ll take. But if Wal-Mart begins catering more to those customers’ needs at the expense of its core target of “people who live paycheck to paycheck,” it will be making a mistake.

Years ago one of the home pregnancy test brands created an award-winning advertising campaign that was particularly successful at reaching its childbearing-age female prospects. Due to the nature of the ads, the company received a handful of complaints from older women who thought they were in bad taste. Its response? Press on. It wasn’t that the company didn’t care about the complaints; it simply recognized that older women were not the target audience for a pregnancy test, and it should therefore not be overly concerned about what they thought about the ads.

That underscores an important principle: The further removed your brand is from your core target, the less relevant you should expect it to be—and to some people, perceptions about your brand may even tip into the negative column. Burger King (BKC) and Bud Light are much less concerned about how women feel about their brands than what their core male target thinks, and the worst thing that could happen to many youth-oriented brands would be for parents to perceive them as cool. (I’ll be curious to see what happens to the teenage tattoo trend once the current crop of young people grow up and have kids of their own. When mom sports a flashy tattoo, junior might look for a different kind of self-expression.)

Who Are Your Best Customers?

You still may find it difficult to think in terms of customers you don’t want. But here’s a suggestion for how to get there: Start by describing your best customers in terms of a handful of key demographic or attitudinal dimensions. Perhaps you do best among teenagers who live in latch-key households, have their own discretionary income, are media savvy, and are searching for an identity. Or perhaps your best customers are retirees who are living on a fixed income, have lots of time on their hands, like to linger, and endlessly compare notes with one another about the products and services they buy. There are many ways to describe people based on demographics—purchase behavior, lifestyle, attitudes, perceptions, key desires, etc.—and if you reflect on who your best customers are, you can probably create a fairly robust profile.

Next, take that profile and turn it inside out, revealing a customer type with the exact opposite characteristics. Chances are they’re not the kind of customer you want to pursue. Oh, sure, you’ll take their money if they offer it, but you shouldn’t spend valuable resources pursuing them—not when there’s a much more fruitful universe of prospects available to you. You might even use this line of thinking to create a continuum of customer types which you can then rank from “most wanted” to “least wanted,” enabling you to orient your operations and marketing toward pleasing those in the most wanted column.

A while back I spotted a Harley-Davidson (HOG) t-shirt that read, “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.” While I’m not the Harley type, as a marketer I respect what the company is trying to do. Harley-Davidson focuses relentlessly on the customers and prospects it does want, and is O.K. with the rest of us figuring out our own forms of transportation, recreation, personal identity, or whatever it is that makes Harley fans so loyal. See? I guess I don’t understand.

Business Directory Advertising is Power

Canadian businesses advertise in a variety of ways: in print, online, on billboards or buses, on television, and on the radio.

Here are some of the reasons why businesses advertise in the first place:

To Reach New Customers
The number ONE reason most businesses advertise is to get new customers. Discoverme.ca has visitors who are looking to spend their money right now. Why? It’s because we’re Canada business directory and US business directory our visitors use our advertising directory to find businesses like yours.

To Create Loyal Customers
Customers today have very little loyalty. This is probably because they are being bombarded by all sorts of advertising of better deals, better sales and better service. Discoverme.ca doesn’t hassle our visitors to come to Canadian online business directory; Our visitors come to our online directory looking for Canadian businesses who can service their needs, RIGHT NOW. Don’t let your customers forget who you are; and make sure you’re visible in our online business directories, If you are not visible within our online directory you will not be considered for that business. Find out how many people are looking for your service or product today.

To Be There When Customers are Ready to Buy
Immediate gratification is what it’s all about in today’s society. When we need something we want it right away. This is not necessarily because we’re inpatient; often it is because there is a real need or a lack of time to research the best products or research multiple companies. If you’re not in front of people when they are ready to spend their money for your service or product, and your competitor is you’ve lost that business to them. Discoverme.ca is a business advertising directory and is used by over thousands people. Make sure you are in our advertising so your customers can find you.

Create Brand Recognition (Familiarity)
People like to buy familiar brands. If you are currently running an ad campaign that is not online, then you are missing out on one of the fastest growing and most effective mediums of advertising. Take a look at how people surf the web in Canada. People surf while they are at work, while they are at home, and even while they are on the go. Canada is a growing country, and more and more Canadians are looking online for products, services, and information. By advertising online, you can help your business create brand recognition.

Generate Leads
Are you on the short lists of your potential customers? If not, you may be losing valuable business. Canadian restaurants, Canadian travel, Canadian furniture, Canadian lawyers, Canadian job sites, Canadian dentists, and more are all searchable online. Check for yourself. If you’re not in a Canadian online business directory like Discoverme.ca, you may not be considered by those people using our directory.

Generate Sales
No leads equals no sales. Make sure you are on your potential customers’ short lists. Advertise where your customers are looking. Advertise on Discoverme.ca. We’ll even show you how many people you are missing out on month after month.

Keep the Momentum Going
Some of the most successful brands consistently allocate the same percentage of revenues toward advertising. Why you ask? It’s for all the above reasons.

Positive Image
A company that is usually consistently visible is perceived as healthy and successful. Make sure that you are running cost-effective advertising campaigns. Calculate your cost per impression and your cost per customer. It’s hard to do it with radio, print, and television, but easy to do with the internet.

If you’re looking to get new customers or generate brand awareness, make sure to include Discoverme.ca in your marketing mix. Hundreds of Canadian businesses are already advertising with us and consistently renew year after year. That really says something about who we are and what we can deliver.

Advertising Your Internet Business Using Proven Strategies

Advertising your internet home base business opportunity locally is not that difficult to do. As a matter of fact, if you are serious about getting clients to buy into your internet home base business opportunity, you will need to pay some close attention to the local markets. One such avenue is the local newspaper.

While many an internet business may promote their services in the big national papers, it is the savvy advertiser who will spread the word about her or his opportunity in the truly local news outlets.An internet home base business opportunity may be something that a reader of the local paper is looking for. In turn, it might be something that a friend or acquaintance is in search of. Another good way for maximizing the exposure of your internet home base business opportunity is to rely on radio spots.

To many this kind of advertising is akin to big-timing it, and depending what your advertising budget is, it may very well be.On the other hand, local radio stations are the key to reaching large segments of the population who may not be purchasing newspapers or magazines and who might never find out about your internet home base business opportunity any other way. You may need to start out small with the local stations, but if you can work your way up to having an actual host-read spot, you will most certainly reap great monetary rewards from your investment.

If you are still unsure about advertising either in print or on the airwaves, there is a third mode of local advertising that will work: your presence at a local fair, Small business directory America, Canadian small business directory, volunteer event, or holiday promotion. You can give your name a lot of play by sponsoring a booth, donating goods or services, or giving away freebies at the events. Whatever exposure you will be able to gain for your business opportunity will be worth the time and money spent on promoting it.

Advertising your home base internet business is not as hard as it sounds. As a matter of fact, more and more savvy methods of advertising are cropping up that help entrepreneurs to not only get the word out about their home base internet business, but to provide useful services to the community while doing so. Sure, in the early days of internet marketing it was customary to design banner ads that were full of neon colors and moving characters.

Webmasters soon discovered that customers did not appreciate this kind of advertising and soon eliminated much of it from their pages.This left those with a home base internet business scrambling for new solutions. While banner ads are still around, they have undergone a great change. They are now tastefully designed with an eye to wittiness rather than shock value.

Additionally, generous affiliate programs ensure that many webmasters are once again working hard to spread the word of any home base internet business that is willing to share a bit of the profit.Yet there are also other modes of advertising your home base internet business within your own community. For example, if you own a doggie biscuit business that relies on internet orders, why not pass out fliers in your community with the web address? Additionally, you will be able to attend pet shows and spread the word there.

Canada Business Directory and Non Profit Directory, Discoverme.Ca

About Classified Advertising Online

Canadian and American Small Business Listing

Classified advertising is a form of advertising which is particularly common online, in newspapers, in other periodicals (e.g., free ads papers or “penny savers”). Classified advertising differs from standard business advertising directory or business models in that it allows private individuals (not simply companies or corporate entities) to solicit sales for products and services.

Overview

Classified advertising listing is usually text-only and can consist of as little information as the type of item being sold and a phone number to call for more information. It can also have much more detail, such as the name to contact, the address to contact or visit, a detailed description of the product or products (“pants and sweaters, size 10” as opposed to “clothing”; “red 1997 Pontiac Grand” as opposed to “automobile”). There are generally no pictures or other graphics within the advertisement, although sometimes a logo may be used.

Classified directory is called such because it is generally grouped within the publication under headings classifying the product or service being offered (headings such as Accounting, Automobiles, Clothing, For Sale, For Rent, etc.). It is grouped entirely in a distinct section of the periodical, making it distinct from display advertising, which often contains graphics or other art work and which is more typically distributed throughout a publication adjacent to editorial content.
A hybrid of the two forms — classified display advertising — may often be found, in which categorized advertisements with larger amounts of graphical detail can be found among the text listings of a classified advertising section in a publication. Business opportunities often use classifieds to sell their services, usually employing 1-800 numbers. Classified ads are also among the tools used by many companies in recruitment for available job opportunities.

Printed classified ads are typically just a few column lines in length, and they are often filled with abbreviations to save space and money.

Developments

In recent years the term “classified advertising” or “classified ads” has expanded from merely the sense of print advertisements in periodicals to include similar types of advertising on computer services, radio, and even television (particularly cable television, but occasionally broadcast television as well, with the latter occurring typically very early in the morning hours).
Like most forms of printed media, the classified ad has found its way to the Internet.

Internet classified ads do not typically use per-line pricing models, so they tend to be longer. Unlike their offline brethren, they are also more readily searchable, tend to be local, and may foster a greater sense of urgency as a result of their daily structure and wider scope for audiences. Because of their self-policing nature and low-cost structures, some companies offer free classifieds internationally, such as American and Canadian Small Business Directory Craigslist, and Kijiji. Some companies focus mainly on their local hometown region, while others blanket urban areas by using zip codes. Craigslist.org was one of the first online classified sites, and has grown to become the largest classified source, bringing in over 14 million unique visitors a month according to comScore Media Metrix. A number of online services called Aggregators crawl and aggregate classifieds from sources such as blogs and RSS feeds, as opposed to relying on manually submitted listings.Additionally, other companies provide online advertising services and tools to assist members in designing online ads. Using professional ad templates and then automatically distributing the finished ads to various online ad directories as part of their service. In this sense these companies act as both an application service provider and a content delivery platform.
Statistics

As the online classified advertising sector develops, there is an increasing emphasis toward specialization. Vertical markets for classifieds are developing quickly along with the general marketplace for classifieds websites. Like search engines, classified websites are often vertical in nature with sites providing advertising platforms for niche markets of buyers of sellers

Internet Advertising Strategies for Success

With the technological and conceptual breakthrough that internet has offered, internet advertising has become a full time employment option not only for companies, but for persons like you and me alike. Because most companies choose to go online with their businesses, the immense market that online advertising offers is like a new gold rush.

There are two primary ways to advertise on the Internet:

1. Register your Web site with major search engines so Internet visitors can find you;
2. Place an ad banner for your site on another Web site that has a lot of traffic (viewers).

Ad banners allow viewers to link to your site when they click on the banner. Internet Advertising Advantages Relatively cost-effective. The costs can also be independent of the size of the audience. For example, a Web presence will cost the same regardless of how many viewers your site has. (You will, however, need to make sure your Internet Service Provider can handle the volume of viewers you anticipate having.)

Advertisers can target specific types of viewers by positioning an ad banner on related Web sites. For example, if you’re targeting people seeking information on a specific topic, you can purchase ad space on Web pages that are related to this category in the major search engines (Yahoo, Infoseek, Lycos, WONET – The Women’s Online Network, etc.).

So, an organic herb farmer selling through mail order might advertise through the organic foods or gourmet cooking category. The indexing structure of these sites allows you to target your audience by geographic location and related interest area. Messages can be timely because editing the content is often easy and instantaneous.

Ads on the Internet can be interactive. You can request viewer feedback, take orders or answer questions instantly. Ad banners can run with as much frequency as you choose. The Internet is constantly available!

Internet advertisers can potentially reach a global audience. Aside from language barriers, anyone at any location in the world can access information about your products or services.

Internet advertising should not be approached in a vacuum. Instead, it should be one component of a comprehensive Internet Marketing strategy. Although the popularity of the Internet is rising remarkably, it is difficult to gage the impact of advertising on the Internet.

The range of costs to advertise on the Internet can vary greatly. It is best to compare a number of highly-frequented sites to determine the best way to spend your advertising dollars. You must research your options and decide to go for an established company.
A successful advertising campaign will inevitably end up bringing you a swarm of visitors to your online store, your website that is. Now it’s your own option if you decide to market your own products, promote someone else’s, or both. There are practically limitless options of affiliate marketing options available out there, it up to you to go out and grasp it. If you do it the right way, internet advertising may just change your life forever.

Canada Business Directory, Discoverme.Ca