Quite a few of the folks who read this website are small, independent
computer consultants, full or part-time. Most of those readers probably have an ad at our Unix and Linux Consultants listings.
Here's the interesting thing: some tell me they do very well with that
and get leads from it often, others tell me they've been there for years
and have never had a nibble. That seems odd, doesn't it?
Well, maybe not. The points I'm going to bring up here
might help explain that, and are just as true for any advertising: newspapers,
Google Adsense, whatever.
You have to ask
People don't always bother to tell you
where they found you - usually you have to ASK, and if you aren't
in the habit of doing that, you aren't going to know whether any
advertising campaign is useful.
With newspaper and magazine campaigns, you'll often see something
like "Department M" or "include coupon code Q234GH for special
discount". Those are tracking devices so that the advertiser can judge
the effectiveness of the ad. With a web ad, you have some built in tracking:
if you are advertising a link to your website, your weblogs will
show the referrering site. You can differentiate even more: if,
for example, your website is "http://xyz.com", using the link "http://xyz.com?ad-one"
will work just as well, but that "ad_one" will also be in your weblogs.
Doing this kind of tagging can help you judge the effectiveness of
Yes, of course I'm happy to add any tags you like to links
you may have here.
You have to sell
When I look at some of the listings here, I'm not surprised
they don't work. If all you say is "Linux Consultant", do you
really expect that to impress anyone and grab their attention?
In this particular venue,
I offer 200 characters of space, but
many don't even come close to using that up. Sometimes "less
is more" is true, but probably not for this. You want to stuff
an ad like this with information and keywords; if you do MySQL,
say so, because otherwise someone who needs that will probably
pass you right by if you don't mention it.
Saving money isn't the goal
I think sometimes people forget that goal of advertising is
to bring business to you. It's about making money, not saving it.
Looking for the cheapest advertising isn't what you should be doing:
you should be looking at the
most effective advertising, whatever its cost (assuming you can
afford that cost).
The same is true for newspapers, Google Adsense and anything
else: other people are using those places to find customers - if
your ad didn't work, you need to figure out why, not just stop
doing any advertising.
Stand out from the crowd
In a crowded niche, the problem may be too much competition. For
example, if someone searches for Linux consultants
here, they get a very large list. You don't want to be at the
bottom of that list, right? Well, in this particular case, the
way to stay closer to the top is to update your listing frequently
- newer listings
move toward the top. In other advertising venues you
might have to use tricks like changing your business name (AAA
Consulting, anyone?). Or, once again, paying a little more might
increase your visibility.
Coughing up more green has the same effect for other placements.
The more you pay, the higher up and the more often your Adsense
ads will run. More money buys you more space and better pages in
a newspaper or magazine.. simple enough, right?
Let the pros help
Advertising, marketing, copywriting: there are people who
easily found on the web offering such services./p>
Effective advertising can bring you new business. Making
your ads effective and valuable does take some work, but the payoff
can be great. Spend the time to think about how your advertising
can be improved and you will improve your business.
Got something to add? Send me email.
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© 2011-03-13 Tony Lawrence