5 Tips to Make Small Business Display Advertising Work

Posted August 21, 2012

Building brand awareness is an important part of a complete Web presence for your small business. One effective way to build brand awareness is with display advertising. To help you get started with your display advertising strategy, we offer five key ways to optimize your campaign and drive more clicks and conversions from your prospects as they browse the Web.

5 Display AdvertisingTips

1. Target Your Audience

Identifying the types of consumer you want to target with your ads will help you get the most out of your display advertising campaign. Audience targeting options, such as geographic targeting and behavioral targeting, let you narrow the audience you want to reach with your display campaign.

For example, you may want people who live in Dallas or people who have exhibited interest in home improvement to see your ads. Remember that cost per thousand impressions, or CPM, will vary depending on how specific an audience you want to target.

Let's say you want to drive broad awareness; you will typically have a lower CPM because your ads will reach a wide variety of consumers browsing many different sites. On the other hand, if you choose to show your banner ads to consumers based on their behavior, your CPM may be higher, but the audience you reach will be more specific, so they may be more likely to click your ads and convert.


Why it Works: Audience targeting helps you specify which types of consumers will see your display ads, and it derives better results from your investment.  

2. Create Compelling Banner Ads

If you want your banner ads to resonate with your prospects, make sure you use a clean and visually compelling design. Bring banner ads to life by including an image or graphic that represents your business along with your business name. This helps prospects know right away if your business is relevant to them.

In addition, a clean design with bold colors and fonts will make your ad stand out on a crowded webpage. And, since you don’t have a lot of room on your ads, it’s imperative to keep the copy short and emphasize the main value proposition you want to convey. For instance, highlight a benefit rather than a feature so that consumers will know what’s in it for them if they click your ad.

Why it Works: Using an image and a design that pops helps both your business and your message stand out – which means more brand awareness and more potential clicks on your ad.

3. Write an Effective Call to Action

Your call to action (CTA) may be the most important part of your display ad, because it tells consumers what you want them to do. Foregoing this critical step could mean losing potential customers. Consumers will see your ad briefly on a site, so it’s important to draw them in with a single, compelling call to action. For instance, you could offer an incentive such as a download, a coupon, or a free estimate to entice a consumer to click your ad.

Here are a few basics tips to help your call to action stand out:

  • Highlight a Benefit or Value – State the value the customer will receive in your CTA copy. For example, "Get a Quote" or "Sign Up for a Free Trial" helps persuade consumers to click.
  • Emphasize the Design – Draw consumers’ attention toward the action you want them to take by formatting your CTA text in a large, easy-to-read font, and use a color that stands out -- yet complements -- the rest of your ad.
  • Include a Clickable Button – Format your CTA like a button to subtly remind consumers that your ad is clickable, so they don’t miss this critical step.

Why it Works: One of the most effective ways to drive results from consumers is simply to ask them to take that action.

4. Optimize Your Landing Page

A landing page is an important factor in your display advertising campaign, since it provides necessary information that consumers need to convert into a lead. And, there are many ways you can optimize your landing page to drive conversions from consumers who visit your site via your display ads.

One critical step is to make sure your landing page maintains consistency with the display ad associated with it. Your landing page should not only contain a similar design aesthetic, but it should also contain the same value proposition and feature any offers mentioned on your display ad. Keeping a consistent design and message between the two lets consumers easily make the correlation between your display ad and your landing page.

Why it Works: Consistency between your landing page and your online advertising instills confidence in your business, which may make visitors more likely to follow through with a conversion.

5. Track Your Leads

Tracking the activity you get from your banner ads helps you determine how effective your display advertising is at driving new sales leads. Tracking metrics like impressions and clicks will help you determine whether people see your ads.

However, you should also have a way to measure conversions that come from phone calls and form submissions generated from your advertising. Having a lead management process for all your online advertising lets you track a lead all the way to a sale so you can glean better insight into consumer behavior and advertising effectiveness.

Why it Works: Tracking conversions like calls and emails -- not just clicks -- lets you gather more insight about which ads driving customers to your business, and why.

What display advertising strategies have worked for your campaign? Let us know in the comments section below. 

As a Content Marketing Manager at ReachLocal (NASDAQ:RLOC) and writer for the ReachLocal blog, Tamara Weintraub helps local businesses reach more customers online with helpful tips about online advertising, social media marketing, and Web presence optimization.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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