Despite the slump in the economy and the drop in retail sales, online sales are on the rise.  It seems logical that consumers will search online and save all the money they would otherwise have spent on petrol, driving from store to store.  That opens up a huge opportunity for online retailers but I don’t think it is one that we are yet using to our advantage.

Online advertising is something that we need to incorporate into our marketing strategies.  It could include web banners, ads in digital magazines, blogs or e-newsletters.

Digital advertising has a lot of advantages over traditional forms of advertising. 

* It is interactive.  Your ad can be clicked on and the customer buys straight from your store.
* It can be viral.  Links to online magazines are always shared with friends meaning that more and more people will be exposed to your ad.
* It is trackable.  You are able to see where people are coming from by looking at your stats.  No more guesswork. You know which ads are working for you.
* You can use video and other formats.  You are not restricted to plain text or graphics.
* Your ads are online and linked.  That can help you improve your Search Engine ranking.
* Digital media often targets niche markets that print media does not, bringing you directly into contact with your target market.
* Media such as online magazines are promoted vigorously using social media so your advertisement is being promoted at the same time.
* Digital magazines and ads can be embedded on other sites or even printed out.
* Once your digital banner or advertisement is created you can use it again and again by submitting it to many sites where print ads are often suited to just one publication.
* Best of all, digital advertising is incredibly cheap compared to print media.  It may even be packaged so that you gain a number of benefits or multiple ‘exposures’ for the one price.

To get the best out of your online advertising you need to incorporate it into your advertising strategy.   Do some research and locate online mags or sites that are targeting your market and contact them.  Ask for their guidelines so that you can submit an article or an ad.  You can offer your products for review or as a competition prize.   Find out the magazine deadlines and plan ahead.   Don’t forget to add the editors of online magazines and blogs to your mailing list so that they receive your press releases. 

I think that this year will see amazing growth in the area of digital magazines and we need to go along for the ride.  The only way to benefit is to use online advertising as an integral part of your advertising strategy.  Plan it and follow it through and see your business grow.

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