Before the World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, it was expensive and a logistical nightmare to advertise your company on a global scale. The only recourse that was open to you was to advertise on a local scale all over the world. If you wanted to sell your products or services to people in Hong Kong, London and New York, you had to approach advertising companies in those cities separately and hire television spots or billboards. It was particularly difficult because each place was subject to different laws, codes and currencies and to execute a seamless, concomitant campaign in every location, you had to have a whole team working on it in different time zones and with different offices. Some companies, if they have the resources, still advertise their products in this way. However, they still have to be cognizant of cultural considerations that could inhibit the efficacy of their advertising. One interesting example that demonstrates the need for tailored advertising in a global marketplace is Proctor and Gamble’s failure to sell their Pampers diapers in Japan. The packaging featured a picture of a stork delivering the baby, an image understood in the West but which is non-existent in Japan (the Japanese folklore teaches that babies are delivered in giant floating peaches).
In any case, the internet has revolutionised how companies have been able to advertise worldwide. It has been a democratising force too because although the bigger corporations still have the greater resources and can therefore advertise more, smaller companies can use the exact same medium to attempt to disseminate their message. This stands in contrast to a medium like television, which still commands a massive audience, but which is prohibitively expensive for many small business owners (as a point of reference, a thirty second ad during halftime of last year’s Superbowl cost between $5 million and $5.5 million). However, there are many effective and creative ways to advertise online. The secret to them all is to take what works, make it better and do it again. No one ever succeeded from doing the same thing over and over again:
If you want to Stand Out From The Crowd Online, you should consider hiring a company to help you improve your SEO rankings. By engineering your website in different ways, you can ensure that your company appears higher up in Google searches and that more customers find you.
Social media is a great way to get yourself out there and if you do it right, it does not need to cost all that much money. If you are witty and can hold your own in the sometimes tumultuous exchanges on Twitter, then start engaging with your customers. Respond to them personally and have fun and they will soon pay more attention to you than if you just keep posting new offers or information about your products. A great example of this is the Merriam-Webster dictionary which gets lots of free press for its sassy political and social commentary.
Another thing that you can do to promote yourself online is start a blog (it must make sense because you’re reading this one, right?). If you create content that your customers are interested in, they will come back again and again to read it.