Fortune 500 companies have huge online advertising budgets with some brands spending over 1 billion USD each year. Such companies run successful advertising campaigns on TV and in glossy magazines. However, wildly expensive campaigns and big budgets are not necessarily tied to company success. For smaller businesses, advertising in different online channels could be the key to outperforming some of the world’s biggest companies.
This article explores some of the ways that businesses of any size can outperform some of the worlds biggest companies by planning lean and effective online advertising campaigns that yield results.
Advertising to the Right People
The worst kept secret for advertising success is that you need to advertise to the right people, those who will become valuable customers. Online advertising is one of the only mediums that allow advertisers target their audience with laser precision. In fact targeted advertising performs nearly twice a well as non-targeted advertising. In traditional and expensive platforms such as on TV and print, targeting is a difficult task, particularly if you are selling a specialist product or service. However with today’s technology it is possible to craft relevant advertising for almost each individual person.
It is essential that you establish whom the right people are to advertise to for your business, and how to reach them online. You can do this by building a comprehensive buyer persona strategy and then find out what sorts of website these buyer personas are visiting. This information will give you a good idea of who you should be advertising to, and you can further use this information to build advertising campaigns that focus on the right people, and you will be able to design creative that tap into the psychology of these potential buyers.
Once your strategy is built you can use it to create different types of online advertising campaigns, so taking the time to build this sort of strategy can pay off in the long run.
Display Advertising
Display advertising is at the forefront of online advertising and continues to grow and evolve with ever-changing technology. It is possible to create effective online display advertising campaigns regardless of your budget or company size. Whilst many Fortune 500 companies have big agencies or dedicated design teams who create and run these campaigns, it doesn’t mean that smaller businesses are at a disadvantage. Whether you’re a small agency or you are looking to build your display advertising campaigns in-house you can use smart technologies such as automated HTML5 ad production tools, and collaborative software to use the information that you have collected from your online advertising strategy to quickly and flexibly build well-targeted display advertising campaigns.
You might also consider developing a display advertising strategy that includes retargeting campaigns. These types of campaigns are effective in bringing back valuable traffic to your website and converting them into customers.
Native Advertising
In an online world that is build on content, the advertising industry has taken this trend and turned it into an effective advertising technique. Native advertising is a general term used for content marketing that does not explicitly look like an advertisement, but rather as part of the webpage. Online native advertising can take the form of a promoted tweet or paid article on a website, amongst other things. Native advertising can be effective in reaching wide audiences if the content is right, with 32% of people saying that they would share a piece of native advertising. The key to succeeding with native advertising is by making the content go viral, something that often can’t be bought. Thus, for smaller businesses who have the writing or creative talent in-house, native advertising might be the answer to getting big press through going viral.
Multi-channel Advertising
Today we know that Internet users move from desktop to mobile devices and from websites to social media to apps. It is clear that you should advertise effectively on all these different channels. Think about how your online advertising efforts can come together in one continuous concept. How are you going to advertise to users who have been on your website and then move around the web? How will you organize your message so that it clearly links throughout the web? How will you advertise to mobile users?
Whilst online multi-channel is an important marketing trend, only 7% of companies feel that they are prepared to execute cross-channel marketing. Therefore by incorporating a solid multi-channel advertising strategy you can start to advertise more effectively and coherently than 93% of organizations, giving you the opportunity to out perform large companies.
Scalable Strategy
Small businesses do not have access to the same amount of resources and manpower as fortune 500 companies with a staff of 1000s do. Therefore it is essential that your online advertising operations can be run on a large scale using the resources that you have available to you yet have the same impact as the campaigns a fortune 500 companies.
There are several ways that you can achieve this. You should find smart solutions that let one person do the job of a whole team, spend your advertising budget effectively so that you can get more out of it. Continuously collect data and analyze your findings so that you only work on the areas that give you the greatest ROI. Focus your efforts on advertising to those who will be most profitable to you.
It pays to plan
Great online advertising campaigns require a lot of planning and strategy behind the execution; it’s not just a case of pumping as much money as possible into a campaign. By taking a ‘lean approach’ and pinpointing those that you want to advertise to, you can craft scalable strategies to help target them and start outperforming Fortune 500 companies.
Emma Cullen is an online marketing manager at BannerFlow, a cloud-based automated ad production solution, and loves writing about advertising insights, design trends and optimization tips. She is particularly interested in anything ad tech and programmatic.


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