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If you have been watching the demise of the local newspaper recently, you have seen a number of major newspapers in the country either close, or go up for sale (which means they will close soon.)  Most dealers who have been around for a while can remember when running a big ad in the paper was a great way to reach customers.  There is a valid replacement for those newspaper ads in the form of banner ads on the local media websites in your market.  However, there are some differences in the way you should use banners that can affect the campaign's success.  Unlike print advertising, where you might run one ad in the paper, banner campaigns require multiple sites to be effective.  You need multiple sites because the consumers in your market are using various sites for their news and information.  One person might use the local newspaper's site, another may use the local tv station's site and yet another may depend on their favorite radio station's site.  So for success, the rule is:  while the banners are like print, buy them like radio or television commercials.  You wouldn't buy one commercial on one radio station would you?  Buy many banners on many sites.  Some of the great benefits of a banner campaign are: 

1.  You can monitor the audience delivery of each banner position during the campaign.

2.  You can use more than one banner design to see which creative works best.

3.  When a person shows interest in your banner message, they will click thru to a landing page or your site for more information. 

4.  Banner advertising is dropping in price during the recession - most sites charge cost-per-thousand (CPM) and you can negotiate lower and lower pricing.

5.  You can change banner ads with a different message often.

6.  You can track the effect on your website using Google Analytics (this is a free program your website designer can add to your website.)

7.  You can run video in your banner ads on some sites (like your tv commercial if you have one.)

8.  You can target different vehicles based on the websites audience.  Run vehicles that appeal to young people on rock radio station's site, run trucks on country site, etc.

By learning to use local media websites you can carefully track the delivery of your advertising and drive more people to your online showroom to begin a dialog with them.  Be sure to develop processes for website visitors like you do for actual showroom visitors.  As the banners drive consumers to your site, you need to greet them and move them like you would in the showroom. 

Matt Watson
What a great post! This is great info.

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