Website marketing guide
for small businesses and start-ups

Other online advertising

While search engines and Pay-per-click are the two most cost-effective ways of promoting your business and website online, there are also some other forms of advertising to consider.

Banners on other websites

Many websites sell advertising space to other websites in the form of banners or buttons. The return on investment is not great for this type of advertising, however, so it is best left to the big brands who are prepared to pay for the visibility.

Online directories

The internet has a vast array of directory sites. The ones worth being listed on are those that are either highly targeted to a specific audience or industry, or those whose brand carries a lot of weight.

For example, www.babydirectory.com charges reasonable rates for a listing and is highly targeted to pregnant women and new mothers. Therefore the adverts and listings are only hitting potential buyers.

The most well-known example is yell.com – the online version of the Yellow Pages. Lots of people who use the printed directory also now search the online directory for products and services.

Review sites

Many websites that used to be simple directories now offer user generated content and carry reviews of businesses. Some of these sites have paid-for listings and others have free listings.

There are review sites for almost all types of business these days, some more targeted than others. For example, www.beerintheevening.com is a directory of pubs and eateries, which offers users the chance to review their favourite or least favourite venues. At the less targeted end of the scale is www.reviewcentre.com which reviews everything from DVD players to stocks and shares websites.

These types of site also tend to rank highly in the search engines so are worth the effort of getting a listing.

Social and business networking

Social networking is a prolific internet phenomenon and one that is constantly evolving. The business world is beginning to work out how to use it effectively though, especially as these sites often offer behaviourally targeted ads and groups or pages where users can form an allegiance to a brand.

Some businesses have found that the best way to utilise a social network is to set up a profile. For example, the Royal Airforce was having trouble recruiting so they got some of their pilots to set up facebook profiles where they gave a little taste of what life as an RAF pilot is like. It was their most successful recruitment campaign.

Others use Twitter or facebook fan pages to connect with potential customers on a personal level.

Business networking is also becoming popular with the continued growth of sites such as linkedin.com. More useful for the small business are those such as Bview.com which promote business to business networking and reviews as well as business to consumer and consumer to consumer.

When using social media to promote your business, the most important things to have are a plan and a goal. Then test various media to see where discussions relevant to your products or services are happening.

Local websites

If your business relies on local trade, then it may be worth getting a listing on a local website. Most towns and regions have their own websites which exist solely to promote visits to the area and boost the local economy. Advertising on these sites can be well-targeted and relatively cheap.

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