Paid Advertising

There are many websites that offer both free and paid advertising for businesses.  The one that is extremely popular and provides an excellent example of the range of paid advertising online is Google's AdWords program.  This online advertising program is simple.  You design a simple ad for your business and bid on specific keywords that you know people will be using to search for a business like yours.  When use Google to search online, they will see your ad either on the search results page or on other websites that have placed ads on their website.  The goal is to put targeted traffic in front of your advertisement so that your conversion rates are high.  The AdWords program uses a pay-per-click model, which means if your ad is one of the top bidders, it will appear but if nobody clicks on your ad, you won't pay for the advertising.  If people do click, you will be charged as much as you bid per click.

Say, for example, that you have a law firm in Austin, Texas that specializes in DUI cases.  You would benefit greatly from people coming to your firm's website who had typed "DUI lawyer in Austin" into their Google search engine.  So you create an ad for your firm and place a bid in AdWords for the keyword "DUI lawyer in Austin."  If you're a high bidder, your ad will show up on Google's search page when someone types in that keyword.  In addition, other websites that are relevant to the keyword "DUI lawyer in Austin," will also display your ad on their websites, which means only the most targeted traffic is seeing your ad.  You won't get your ad in front of people who had searched for "definition of legal service," for example.

This model of paid advertising has the potential to bring in highly targeted traffic that converts very well as long as your website sells your services effectively.

On the other hand, this method of advertising can be extremely pricey depending on how competative your particular market is.  If there are not many people bidding for your campaign's keywords, then you won't have to pay much every time someone clicks through on your ad.  On the other hand, if you're competing with a huge number of other law firms trying to out-bid you for your keywords, then pay-per-click advertising can become an expensive form of online marketing.