Buying an ad in the local newspaper has been standard practice for most small- and mid-sized businesses for decades. The problem with that marketing strategy today: Traditional newspaper readership has been in dramatic decline for years (in 2002, just 41 percent of Americans said they read the daily print newspaper; today, that number has dropped to 23 percent).
Meanwhile, the number of people getting their news (and just about everything else) from the Internet is on a rapid rise. Today, the average American spends 32 hours a month doing something online; and a whopping 76 percent of the public reads the news on the Web.
So if your customers and potential customers have all flocked to the Web, maybe it’s time you started advertising there, too. As they say, “it doesn’t take a genius” to figure these things out.
Most businesses that advertise online use Google AdWords. Those are the text-only ads that appear in the margins of your computer screen whenever you do a Google search for something. They also appear in the margins of millions of websites.
Unlike with newspaper advertising, there’s no cost to post a Google AdWords ad, however, each time someone clicks on it, the advertiser – that’s you – pays a pre-determined rate (usually between 35 and 45 cents per click).
Yes, it’s more convoluted and confusing than buying a newspaper ad. But the cost for giving it a try is very small (Google even offers free-trials from time to time). Here’s how to get started: