As an ezine publisher, I come across lots of ads and I've started noticing some things about them. Not big things, just little things that are often overlooked when you're in the middle of an advertising frenzy. The trouble is little things do add up to effort, time and money wasted.
I hate to see a good ad go to waste, especially if you've invested time and money on it. So consider going one step further and check your ads carefully before you send them out. Oftentimes, we're in such a hurry to rush our ads out the door we don't even read them through - one last time.
But regardless of whether you're using a free or paid ad service, it's a must to check your ad, considering the amount of effort, time and money you've put into it. Let me just quickly throw together a checklist here so you can make the most of your ad:
1. Have you submitted your ad?
I know this may sound like a silly question but people sometimes make payment but forget to submit their ad. My advice is to submit the ad immediately after you purchase it. If your ad's not ready, get to work on it immediately so you can send it out shortly afterwards. If you procrastinate, you may get busy with something else and then forget about it completely.
2. Have you read the publisher's guidelines carefully?
Publishers are very busy people and they've put those guidelines there for a reason - to ensure a standard format to their ads. So you want to be sure you follow those guidelines closely or you ad may need to go back and forth for corrections. In the case of free ads, the publisher might just delete it if it doesn't conform to their guidelines.
3. Did you use capitalization and special characters sparingly?
A few caps and special characters here and there can perk up your ad and help disguise spam trigger words. They can also make your ad stand out from the crowd. But beware, if you do overuse them, your ad will end up looking phony and unprofessional.
Excessive use of caps and special characters is also the main culprit for getting emails stuck at the spam filters. If the publisher's email gets stuck en route to the mailing list, your ad will not get read.
4. Have you checked your ad for typos?
An ad peppered with punctuation, spelling and grammatical errors does not speak well for the professional image for your business. Make a good impression. Take a few minutes to check it through. Itll be worth it, I promise.
5. Have you checked your URL link?
Don't forget to include your url link. Check that your domain name and the rest of the link is correctly spelt, and that you've used a period, not a comma. Always include http:// before your web URL to ensure your link is clickable.
6. Is your URL too long?
Check the length of your URL. Keep it short and easy to remember. If it's too long, it will wrap around the end of the line and may not work correctly. So use a free url snipping service like tinyurl.com or snipurl.com to shorten it. This is also a good way to disguise your affiliate link as many people tend to shy away from clicking on affiliate links.
Remember your URL link is the lifeline of your business as that's how customers can find their way to your website. If you provide an invalid URL link, you've wasted your time and money. So test your URL link, then test it again!
7. Have you checked your email address?
If you've included an email address, check it and test it. If you haven't included an email address because you don't relish the idea of an inbox full of spam, it's perfectly understandable.
However, if space permits, it's always a good idea to give customers an alternative way of reaching you in the event they cannot access your website for any reason. Consider using a throwaway email address for this purpose.
8. Are you using a canned ad?
If you're an affiliate marketer, you may have been given a canned ad to use. But I still think you should consider writing your own ad. Remember there are hundreds of other affiliate marketers like you who are using that same 'canned' ad.
What do you think are the chances of your ad being clicked on if it's competing with a hundred other look-alikes? Too much of a good thing may drive potential customers away. So try to look different with your own ad and chances are someone might notice you.
9. Are you following through with your ad?
Many advertisers submit their ad and then conveniently forget about it. If you're running your ad in an ezine, ensure you're subscribed to that ezine to see your ad run.
There you have it, a simple yet handy checklist to keep beside your PC as you're churning out those ads for the holiday season. For a netpreneur though, any time of year is advertising time. After all, advertising is the lifeline of any online business.