The trusty website advertisement is a mainstay in many of our customers’ marketing packages. With more than a quarter of a million people visiting aquamagazine.com each year, a banner ad — whether it’s the leaderboard or a block ad — can be an efficient way to gain exposure among pool and spa professionals. Over the years, we’ve seen hundreds of different banner ads on our website and we’ve learned that the most effective ones have several things in common.
Here are five simple steps to an effective website banner ad: (These same tips would also apply to advertisements in AQUA E-News.)
1. Keep it Simple
You only have so much real estate to work with in this space. (See our exact specs here if you’re curious.) This is not the space to list off every feature and benefit of your new product. Let your website do that. The ad should simply entice the prospect to take your desired action. Choose one clear message or focal point of your ad. A solid background with a clear message and/or graphic is best. Clutter is your enemy in this space.
2. Mimic Your Website Design
When a prospect clicks through to your website, make it clear immediately that they have ended up where they intended — the banner design should have the same color scheme and branding as the landing page. Consistency is the key.
3. Include a Call-to-Action
Some customers use banner ads as nothing more than a digital billboard. They simply want exposure for their brand to keep it on the minds of prospects. However, if you’re seeking click-throughs, adding a button or text with a specific prompt has been proven to increase the click-through rate. For example: “Sign Up Today.” “Click Here to See the Video.” “Click Here to Download.” If the goal is clicks, a call to action should be included.
4. Consider an Incentive
Along the lines of including a call to action, is including an incentive. A special promotion for prospects that is available only through the banner campaign. This allows you to direct sales by offering a unique promo code or phrase, specifically for those prospects who saw your advertisement.
5. Test! Test! Test!
The great thing about digital advertising is the detailed reporting that comes along with it. We can tell you just how effective your ad is. Take advantage of the data by testing different ads to see which ones work best. Run an A and B banner consecutively and monitor which one garnered more clicks. You might be surprised at the results, and this can help guide the design for your future digital marketing materials.
Of course, every marketing campaign is different. Depending on what your goals and objectives are, our team can work with you to make sure they’re achieved.
As I get more involved in the pool and spa industry, there’s one thing I’ve come to learn: This industry is filled with all kinds of personalities. (Just read our online comments if you need proof.) And when it comes to social media, there’s nothing wrong with letting that personality shine through.
Before getting into marketing, I served as the social media manager for AQUA’s parent company, AB Media. I would travel to trade shows and people would often ask me what tone or “voice” they should be using for their business’s social media accounts. The answer to that is simple: your own!
If you’re funny in real life, be funny! if you pride yourself on being professional and straight-laced, take that approach. What is your company’s story? What kind of impression are you trying to make? At AQUA, our managing editor Cailley Hammel does a great job keeping our posts fun, yet professional and informative.
Whatever it is, make it authentic. Your social media followers (think, customers or potential customers) will see right through you if you’re trying to be somebody you’re not.
Now, not everyone is a comedian. And a Twitter feed full of jokes, for example, isn’t going to help you grow your business. But a witty remark or creative photo caption related to your business can help put a human face on your business.
This is social media after all. A little personality can go a long way. So next time you’re over-thinking that Facebook post or sweating over your next 140 characters, allow me to be the voice of reason: The only voice you need to worry about is your own.