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A small business owner’s guide to online ads and search marketing

When you work for someone else, it’s often OK to be an expert at just one thing – whether it’s sales, management, distribution, or production. But when you’re a small business owner, you need to be adept at a variety of professional functions, including advertising and marketing that employ the latest technologies and media.

Online advertising, in particular, can be a useful tool for small businesses to communicate with current and potential customers. You may know just enough about advertising on the Internet to realize it’s something you need to do. But if you don’t know the difference between search engine marketing and email marketing, it can be difficult to know what type of online advertising could help your business.

Here’s a quick primer on some of the most popular types of online ad campaigns.

Banner/display ads – These ads resemble old-fashioned display ads in print media. You pay to have your ad appear on Web pages that you expect will be of interest to your target customers.

Text ads – A text ad may appear as a simple hyperlink on a page such as a news website frequented by your potential customers.

Natural search and search engine optimization – in which you build the content and code of your Web page in such a way that it attracts the attention of search engines – are among the most effective and popular forms of online advertising.

Pay-per-click and paid search – Your advertisement is displayed on a Web page of interest to customers, and you’re charged each time a user clicks on your ad. Or, you pay to have your website included in search engine results pages for keywords that pertain to your business; this is called “paid search.” With paid search, you pay for the ranking and again when a user clicks on your listing. The major search engines all offer some form of this advertising with tools like Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft AdCenter and Facebook Ads.

Keeping track of multiple campaigns can be especially challenging. Many small businesses rely on a management tool such as SearchManager by American Express to help keep track of campaigns and results. The service allows you to view and manage campaigns through a single access point, eliminating the need to remember multiple logins and learn different interfaces. A customizable dashboard makes it easy to track results, make changes and ensure your advertising produces measurable results and increased business.

SearchManager’s set of straightforward tools helps take the complexities out of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and provides small businesses easy management across ad networks. To learn more about SearchManager and how it can help you advertise online, visit www.searchmanager.com.

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