Types of Media Advertising Explained: Choose the Best for Your Business

Retailers use advertising for a variety of purposes, but in most cases, the goals boil down to short-term responses and long-term branding. The former drives sales and cash flows, while the latter creates and maintains your reputation in the marketplace.

Today, there are many ways and types of media through which to advertise. Let's take a look at the kinds and help you make an informed decision that will be the best for your business.

Types of Advertising by Goal

When it comes to your goals, there are three main types of advertising. Use them right, and you can get sky-high returns on investment.

This type is all about raising awareness for your brand. Most large-scale brands rely on this type - think Coca Cola every year before Christmas. During brand advertising, you're not aiming at instant sales but more awareness about your brand in general.

Direct Sales
This kind of advertising is straightforward - here's a product and why you should buy it. It gives you a chance to make a sale, but no more. If you want to make the most of this type, make it useful.

Relationship Building
The goal is evident from the name. You are not aiming to make a sale but build a relationship with your customers. Standard practices include handing out free samples, gift bags, and promotions in return for emails.

You can use all three kinds, both online and offline. Let's take a look at some examples of how that would work in either case.

Offline Advertising

As offline is the oldest marketing method, there are many ways to practice it. Below is a list that covers a few options.

Using newspaper ads ensures that information reaches a vast, heterogeneous audience. Depending on the type of your business, go for either local paper or metropolitan names.

Unlike newspapers, marketing in specialized magazines allows you to reach your target audience. The readers are already interested in the type of service you provide.

TV and Radio
Advertising on both TV and radio is excellent for reaching potential customers. Figure out a station your target is likely to listen to or watch and make your ads appear regularly.

While TV ads are a bit pricier, they offer more flexibility, as sound comes with some limitations.

Billboards and Transit
These methods help passers-by notice and hopefully remember your name during their commute.

Billboards pack quite a punch, especially in places with a lot of traffic. Make sure to include your website and address, though, as they can handle a small amount of information if you want them to remain practical.

Printed and digital signage are fantastic ways to get your message across without seeming too intrusive.

Direct Methods
Using catalogs, leaflets, and direct mail means you're communicating to your customers face-to-face. To do this, you'll need a mailing list first. You can also distribute leaflets and brochures to your target area (again, include an address where they can find more info).

Online Advertising

All types of marketing on the Internet count as online advertising. After all, ads are the primary revenue driver on the Web. Another avenue is native advertising - a digital version of print ads and sponsored content.

The most effective way to advertise online is by placing your ads on popular sites.

Google AdWords
AdWords allow companies to bid for an ad placement spot on the search engine result page. You do so by using common search terms - or keywords - related to your business.

That way, your business appears in the search results. Then you pay Google for every click on your page.

Google AdSense
AdSense lets companies host ads on their website to generate revenue for the site. Once you enroll, Google uses algorithms to match the advertisement to related websites. So, companies reach broader audiences.

LinkedIn is one of the best places online for professionals to advertise their products and services. Your LinkedIn page can be an extension of your website, so you add links to drive traffic. Plus, you can post content and product offerings.

An added benefit of LinkedIn is the ability to target particular demographics since people specify their professions and enter specific groups within site.

Bing and Yahoo
These search engines aren't as popular as Google, but they offer ad spaces at reasonable prices with similar services to that of Google.

Google Display
Display Network by Google reaches over 90% of internet users globally. You must have seen them too - those boxes and banners on sites and blogs.

Social Media Platforms
Many social media sites, and Twitter and Facebook, in particular, offer similar services to those we mentioned in the specialized services above.

However, if you go for social media, you'll need to research your target audience. Social media is teeming with all sorts of users, and not all will find your product engaging or relevant.

Luckily, most sites offer useful tools to help you determine and subsequently target your desired demographics.
The Bottom Line

Nowadays, the Internet is the hotspot for marketing, no matter the type of business you're running. So, if you haven't already, it's advisable that you embrace digital marketing as a relevant strategy.

Still, not everything can be done online, and some people prefer offline for more direct types of marketing. So, you need to do your homework and learn the strategies that work or get overrun by competition.

Use this guide as a starting point. Finally, our best advice is - don't limit yourself to only one advertising method. Some of the best business practices come from cherrypicking the best techniques for your company.

Read next: "Ad"ing Value - Exploring Digital Ad Perceptions and Experiences
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