Jennifer Szumiesz

Jennifer Szumiesz

You probably know the drill. You reach out to a company because you are curious if they can help you grow your business. You certainly don’t want to throw money away and you want to take advantage of an opportunity that could work, but how do you make that informed decision? Is there a way to double-check that what you are being told is accurate?

The great news is that in many cases the internet can really help. This couldn’t be truer when considering where to run some sort of an online advertising/sponsorship campaign.

Advertising is a great way to build brand recognition, remind customers and prospects about your presence, and get a simple, straight-forward message across (for advertising campaign tips, view last week’s Marketing ARM blog).  But it is critical that realistic expectations are set up front about the potential success of the campaign so that the client and company are on the same page and will not be disappointed with the results (ex: I have yet to find a company that can really get you a million bajillion real, targeted prospects to view and click on your ad; but often times it seems like that is what is promised!).

At we talk with each of our clients about their campaign expectations prior to signing an agreement (we do so based on history with our publication and what others have received). You might, however, come across a company that doesn’t take that extra step, so you need to ensure that you are making a smart purchasing decision.

Use the three free, unbiased, third-party tools below to compare the websites where you are thinking of advertising. They will help you ensure that you are making the best decision about where to spend your precious marketing dollars:

  • Compete – Compete is online tool that analyzes website traffic. You can find out things like unique visitors, pageviews, visitor demographics, time on site, etc. By signing up for a free trial you can use this tool to see how the websites you are interested in advertising with stack up against one another and what kind of traffic they really get.
  • Alexa – Alexa is another great online tool that provides analytical insights from various sites on the web. You can find out information on site rank (how powerful the site is and how likely it is to show up in relevant search results), demographic information, pageviews, sites linking in, etc. to compare websites and make smart purchasing decisions.
  • Marketing Grader – Use Marketing Grader to get an overall website score and review specifics about how well the sites do in various areas – everything from blogging to social media to SEO. By clicking within the various topics of the website score report you can get detailed information that you can use to compare across all of the sites you are prospecting.

Now that you know what tools to use so that you aren’t fooled by unrealistic online advertising expectations, test them out for yourself when you are ready to make your next purchasing decision. If you find that is the “winner,” reach out as advertising packages start as low as $250/month.

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