Design tips and guidelines for creating effective web banners and landing pages.

Banner ads are an effective advertising medium — increasing its share of U.S. online ad spending to 38% in 2010, up from 35.2% in 2009. As such, we put together the following nine steps to help you get the most bang for your advertising buck.

Establish Clear Goals and Objectives

As with any marketing communications, your presence needs to be driven by a set of advertising objectives. First, ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish.

Are you trying to;

  • Build brand loyalty
  • Increase website traffic
    Be sure to set a specific amount, either in unique visitors or a percentage increase over a non-advertising time period.
  • Generate sales
    again, choose a specific number of how many sales you want to make.
  • Build a social media following
    This could be Facebook ‘Likes’, Twitter followers, being added to X number of Google Plus Circles, etc.
  • Improve customer convenience

With any type of advertising, your ads could touch on all the above but, to be successful, you must set priorities and focus on the most pressing strategic need.

Define Target Audience

If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, it’s nearly impossible to create an effective ad. I say “nearly” because there’s always a chance you could get lucky — but I doubt it.

  • Who are they? Age, gender, income level, etc.
  • What do they care about?
  • What do they want?
  • Why should they care about your brand/product?

Define Communication

What EXACTLY are you trying to communicate? What is the benefit of your product or service? The goal is to focus on a single benefit. If you try to communicate too many things, it will confuse the reader.

The rule-of-thumb is, don’t try to be all things to all people.

Select Target Rich Websites

Now that you know who your target audience is and what you need to say, it’s time to find out where your customers are. What sites do the frequent and how will you get your ad displayed on those sites? How to do this is something I’ll cover in another article. But in the interim, you can use services such as TextLinkAds and BuySellAds to find topic specific websites to display your ads.