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Internet Marketing
Wed Advertising

It is a fact of life that most Marketing people and Marketing agencies still don't understand the web. By this time we must be aware that banner advertising is lucky if it gets a 0.5% click through rate and it's more likely to be 0.2%.

My view has always been that you need to engage your audience and become part of a community. This means that simple banner adverts should be enhanced by adding content and links throughout the site. Becoming part of a community is a powerful way of advertising.

Building your brand has always been a major reason for advertising and so to build that brand look for synergy web sites that can enhance your message. Not only should you then take out a banner advert on that synergy site but you should contribute stories or information to the site and that content should also contain links to your site.  

Treat web sites like up market magazines. As there is usually limited space on web sites getting a banner advert at least ensures you exposure for your brand name.  By adding stories or information this will ensure that additional pages on that site are devoted to your brand.  Ensure that these extra pages are not just advertising... make it compatible with the synergy site and "give" something to the visitor and don't just try and sell them something.

By contributing content as well as advertising the community on the synergy site will look far more favorably at your brand.  Should that synergy site have built a good community around its site then that community are going to welcome the involvement of your brand and this gives a very positive response to the brand with likely uplift in sales.

The key word here is "community". Really good web sites get many regular visitors that like to visit because of what the site is offering.  This is a major strength and is why this is probably the most powerful way of getting your message across.

Compare this to traditional magazine advertising. In a magazine with say a 100,000 monthly circulation you would expect to pay around 2,000 for a full colour full page advert. There are likely to be 50+ other full page full colour adverts in the magazine. To get your advert noticed you might pay 5,000 to get the back cover or inside front cover.  So now you've spent that amount of money how many people will actually read your advert? 

Now compare this with a marketing campaign with a good synergy web site.  Apart from the top 1000 web sites you will find that if you wish to spend from 2000 to 5000 per month with a web site you will be likely to get....

1. Your banner or button on every page of the site or at worst an exclusive banner on the index page. Compare that with a magazine. You might be on all 500+ pages of a site whereas you'd only have one page in the magazine!

2. Your opportunity is to link this banner or button to a page on the synergy web site which you can use to interact with that web sites regular community. From that page you could spawn several pages of content.

3. You can offer content to the synergy web site within your contract with them so that they add further pages of information to their site with links to your advert or your own web site.

Overall this means you can be the "only" advertiser or at least one of just a few advertisers instead of being one of 50 or even 2000 adverts.

So look for sites that target your own market and if they get around 5,000+ visitor impressions per day then that's what you are looking for to launch a synergy marketing campaign.  Just like traditional advertising the longer you advertise in a publication (web site) the better your name will be trusted and relied upon. It is important to continually add further information to the synergy site so there is always something new to read and you're always being brought to visitors attention. 

It is also important that you market your brand appropriate to the synergy web site.  Work with the flow of that web site's community and context and you'll fit right in with that site and get the very best results. You'll be seen as the "good guy" for helping out the visitors favourite web site. Just plaster adverts all over the place and you'll end up irritating the visitor.  Remember that the reason that synergy web site is popular is that they are doing something other sites are not so you don't want to upset the content and context of the site and instead want to use it's strengths.

So for the same marketing spend as you would have in a magazine you will get far more exposure for your brand per reader.

A further consideration is using the synergy site community for market research. Many good web sites have their own message boards and so this gives you the opportunity to engage that community in a market research role.  As you are being seen as the "good guy" for sponsoring or advertising with their favourite web site they are likely to be responsive in helping you with your marketing.  You could use the message board to ask visitors to participate in a market research project. In return for them giving you their home address you might then send them free sample of a product. Having got that they return to the message board to give their opinions of the product or even complete a questionnaire. On the one hand the visitor is receiving free product which is always good and this will likely encourage even more visitors to the site.  On the other hand you are getting valuable market research which would cost you far more money to do it in the traditional way.  You can also plug the fact that you are moving to a test market operation and even send out money off vouchers to the people in the text market area to encourage purchase of it. You can also use the synergy sites mailing list to offer special offers or free gifts if they complete a questionnaire.

Finally, should you find a good web site(s) that fits your company or brand profile then remember that the site is good because of what it does. Seek to fit into that community to promote your brand. Customise your marketing message to that site rather than the other way around.  That site is doing something right to be successful so don't ruin it or waste the opportunity by trying to impose your marketing style but rather try to fit your marketing style into the site to compliment it.

Community is the most powerful marketing tool and to become part of it you will get far better results and remember that by engaging with that community they also become part of your own community.  We've all heard the story of being a big fish in a small pond?  Well engaging with a web site of 5,000+ visitors per day you'll likely be a big fish in their pond.  That means these sites will be more than happy to work with you so you get the very best results.  As these site owners are successful at what they do they also bring you a contribution to your own marketing efforts by bringing their successful approach to the table. You also can learn from them and so they are also a good source of knowledge!



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