By Rieva Lesonsky
Advertising your small business used to be as easy as calling your local newspaper and having the ad sales department help you create and place your ads. Of course sometimes those ads were so expensive you almost had to take out a small business loan to afford them. Today, to increase revenue in your business using advertising, you need to be somewhat of a tech expert and know how to create and place digital ads for the web. Luckily, there are many tools and apps to help you do it yourself, with little fuss and little creativity needed. Here are four to help you get started:
1. SizeUp: Before you even start an ad campaign you need to gather as much information as you can about your industry—which is not only usually pricey, but also time-consuming. SizeUp makes it easy (and free) and offers demographic, industry, geographic, business, transportation and cost-of-business data. SizeUp’s goal is to help small businesses increase sales and measure the competition. You just enter your industry and your location, and then SizeUp allows you to compare your business to industry competitors, map the competitors in your area and determine the best areas to target your campaigns.
2. iPromote: Creating online display ads is not as hard as it sounds if you use a tool like iPromote, which creates your business’s display ads using content that already exists on your website. All you do is provide your business’s URL and you can have an ad campaign in less than 10 minutes. You’ll then get advice on where to place your ads based on the description you provide of your target audience. You pay based on either CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) or CPC (cost per click). The tool also helps place display ads on smartphones.
3. Jumptap: Want to launch a mobile advertising campaign? Jumptap offers a do-it-yourself mobile ad solution. You start by inputting your own words for text message-promotions and then bid on keywords. You can also upload banners, choose your demographics and select locations for your mobile ads. Choose from formats using video and location-aware features.
4. SmartCalls: For local digital marketing campaigns, Web.com’s SmartCalls is a customized mobile tool that allows customers in your area to click, call and find you. SmartCalls works with Google AdWords and Google mobile search ads and draws in consumers who happen to be in your area to click and call. You’ll also get lead alerts, call tracking and call recording.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports