Making a selection for your online advertising is actually really simple – and affordable, as long as you make the right choices at the set up step.

Broadly speaking, there are two avenues for online advertising –  the first targeting people who are seeking specific products or services that they actually need – such as a dentist or plumber, and the second are the things people seek out because they want them, or want to know more about them (but may not actually need as such) – such as a beautiful ring or European car.

A large percentage of consumer products are things that people ‘want’ – often things that we did not even realise were in existence until we come across them through a friend, colleague or a we saw a random ad.

But how random was that ad in fact....

Online targeting is so sophisticated in its targeting these days, that ads can be delivered – as an example – to people who are engaged to be married, or people who have recently had babies, people who own small businesses – or – if you really want to drill down, to people who have small businesses who have recently become engaged or had a baby. This could be a very valuable target audience for someone running a virtual assistant business for example.

So, here are the two avenues as I see them, and how you can utilise them with very small budgets by being very specific with your offer and target.

Google Adwords – Search Ads

These are the ads that come up when you search for something online – usually the first four listings that you see under your search. These listed Google Search Ads are essentially a very dynamic online auctioning system. The advertiser prepares ads and selects words and terms that their target audience might search for and places bids against each of the words or phrases. Google matches searches made using these words (keywords) and phrases (long tail keywords) and serves up ads that match them.

Word-smithing of your ad and landing page is key – the highest bidder with the most relevantly worded ad linking to the most relevantly worded web site gets top listing. Selecting your key words is also obviously key – you need words and terms that are frequently searched, but for whom not many advertisers are bidding. This keeps your cost per click low.

If the searching consumer clicks on your ad, you pay. If not, you don’t. Thus you only pay for the clicks to your website. From there it’s up to your web page to entice the customer further into your world.

There are other Google products where you can target on lifestyle via image ads or video ads, but most people use Google Search ads.

Social Media Ads

Advertising via social media is also an online bidding system, but is a very different game to Google.

On social channels, instead of selecting words and phrases that people might search for your product with, you are seeking and profiling the customer with your targeting options. It’s vital that you have distilled who your target is.

Social mediums allow you to target people who are interested in specific retail channels – for example if you are a  local bookstore, you can target people who are interested in Whitcoulls, or people who are interested in books – and you can do so within any age, gender or geographic zone. Thus it is possible to target females 29 – 39 who are interested in Nadia Lim, Chelsea Winter, cooking, books or Whitcoulls AND who have children at school and who live within 10km of your business, and then put a book about ‘dinners kids will love’ special deal in front of them as an ad.

My personal favourite approach for consumer products is to stimulate interest via social channels – as a combination of posts, promoted posts, blog links and click to web ads following a campaign theme in a multi-faceted campaign via Social Media – backed up up by a low budget Google campaign using the specific search terms that you have headlined on your social platforms – thus delivering to the consumer via two mediums.

Social and Search ads are really not expensive, but if you are not confident with them can be time consuming.