Large companies typically have massive advertising budgets, allowing them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (and more!) on marketing campaigns targeting mass audiences. If you own a small business, competing with these national corporations can seem daunting. With online advertising, however, it is a much more level playing field. The newest tools for targeting display advertising make it possible for small businesses to craft targeted campaigns to attract customers and turn them into long-term buyers.

Targeted messages delivered through display advertising can minimize the amount of time and money you spend while helping build visibility and keep your business on your potential customers’ minds.

Planning is Key

Careful planning and research can help you created targeted advertising to help attract the types of potential buyers who will be interested in your products.  It is important to be clear just who it is you want to target, and what message you want to deliver.  You can target messages according to your customers’ demographics, geographic location, their interests, and even by their online behavior.  In addition to who your customer is, consider where they likely are in their purchase decision.  (For more detail on this, see our blog post on the basics of marketing strategy).

Start with Geo-Targeting

Geo-targeting is particularly effective for business owners who want to attract local clients. For example, if you own a restaurant, you can use geo-targeted display ads to attract local residents who are looking online for restaurants in your area. Since the ads only get shown to viewers within your specified geographic region, you can run the ads on well-known websites like and UrbanSpoon.  The size of the population in your selected region has an impact on the success of your targeted ad campaign.  If your business is located in a larger city, you might want to use geo-targeting to reach people in specific neighborhoods. If you are in a small town, you might need to expand your geo-targeting efforts to include nearby towns.

Select Your Preferred Audience

Proper demographic research can also improve display advertising results. The entire population of your geographic area is not as important as the targeted population. People who are of the correct age range, gender, education level, and income level make up the target population for your business.  Reaching these viewers online requires careful selection of the websites your ads will run on. Run of network campaigns, in which ads run on all websites within one network, have been shown to be less effective than campaigns run on a managed list of premium sites.  Work with a digital agency who can help build a strong media plan, to accomplish this.

Match the Message to the Content

Display advertising and text ads must also be appropriate for the websites on which they will appear. The sites must attract visitors from your target population. This means that the content and purpose of the website must compliment your business. If your business sells lawn mowers, for example, your display ads will not likely garner response on a site about jewelry-making.

Although targeted advertising takes considerable time and effort, the results can help you grow your business quickly while keeping your overall advertising expenses down. For help building a media plan for your targeted display ad campaign, contact Vantage Local today.