Marketing / Online marketing

Online advertising: What works?

Online advertising includes Google AdWords, Facebook ads, SEO, LinkedIn ads and more. Let’s look briefly at each to see how they can work for your business.


Online advertising has opened up an entirely new way of finding more customers, as well as getting infrequent customers to become repeat customers. Let’s look at what works and why.

Search engine optimisation (SEO). It’s all about results.

Whether your prospects are looking for information, products or services, they’ll often only view search results on the first page. They’re looking for a quick result, and the first results will receive greater traffic.

SEO has a dual effect. It not only allows your business to have a higher search ranking, but it provides your customers with important and engaging information. Even a result at the top of the list will be ignored if it does not contain anything meaningful.

Tip: Before engaging an SEO expert, make sure you run a Google Adwords campaign first to determine your top performing keywords.

Google Adwords

Adwords uses keyword tagging to generalise business offerings before they appear in the sponsored ad search results. For example, if you have a business that sells sports shoes, your keywords would be “sports shoes”.

"Online advertising has opened up an entirely new way of finding more customers, as well as getting infrequent customers to become repeat customers."

However, the way you describe your product or service may not be the way a customer describes it. For example, a customer may not see your ad if they type in “sporting footwear” rather than “sports shoes”.

Google Adwords can become limiting in cross-cultural situations where tags (keywords) may have entirely different meanings, or where colloquial terms exclude more general references.  Example: if you are selling sports shoes and someone types “sports shoe repairs” into their search engine, you don’t want to pay for those keyword clicks as they’re irrelevant to your business.

Tip: Use the Google keyword research tool to find out which words your customers are typing into their search engine, and include these words in your ads.  If in doubt, there are some really good Search Engine Marketing (SEM) companies that will set up and monitor ads on your behalf. 

LinkedIn and Facebook

LinkedIn and Facebook advertising can have surprising effects, especially since they operate a little more organically. The hard part can be getting started, since businesses need to build an initial network of promotion. However, once these networks reach a tipping point they tend to take on a life of their own.

There may be a lot of nothing for some time, and suddenly everyone online appears to be involved.

Tip: Be patient, this method takes time. LinkedIn and Facebook work especially well once you’ve reached the point of having your own community.

Combine and conquer

All of these methods work in their own way, but it’s beneficial to combine these approaches. By combining good SEO with well-tagged Google Adwords, for instance, you can get the right customers to pay attention, repeatedly.

With all of these approaches though, it is extremely important to provide worthwhile content. The internet has the quantity aspect covered, but not always the quality.

Which form of online advertising works best for you? 

Samantha Hurst

is an Author (The Speedy Start-Up) and the Founder of Click Start Digital, a company that got started back in 2012 to help people start an online business. Sam has made millions of dollars online and loves sharing her first-hand experience to help other people become successful business owners and entrepreneurs.


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