I’ve been enjoying hearing from friends and clients all week things like:

Holy, dude, your ads are all over the Internet! I just saw your banner ads on the CBC’s home page, then on Scribd.com! You must be spending a fortune!

Truth is, my friends and clients are indeed seeing me “all over the Internet.” Sometimes a dozen times a day. But here’s the best part — it’s costing me about $200 a month.


My ad secret #1 is retargeting (related: behavioural targeting). The concept is pretty simple. When you come to my web site, my server remembers that your computer has visited me. From then on, you’ll start to see ads which, I hope, will entice you to return. If nothing else, put me front-of-mind again. Considering an important target audience of mine are meeting planners and conference organizers, I want them to be reminded of me after they’ve left.

If you’ve never visited my site before, you won’t ever see these. But now that you have (sorry), I expect you’ll start to see my ads popping up here and there. Like other pay-per-click ads, it’s 100% free to display the ads – I only pay when someone clicks on it and returns to my site. (The system I use also has a great click-fraud system, so people clicking multiple times or with multiple browsers get filtered out — I don’t pay a cent for those.)


A second important audience for me is my speakers’ bureau, Speakers’ Spotlight. They’ve got a great team of agents there who pimp me out recommend me to their conference clients. These agents, though there are fewer than a dozen of them, are also a critically important audience.

So on LinkedIn, where you can target by company name, I have a campaign that reaches only people at that company.

This provides an extremely very cost-effective advertising program since, again, I only pay if they click on the ads. I couldn’t care less if they click the ads, frankly — they all know my web site URL — the point is to visible with them each day.

A couple of months after I started running them, I dropped in on their office and their marketing director — herself, super-knowledgeable in the space — came up to me and said “How is it that you’re everywhere on LinkedIn?!” The answer: “I’m only everywhere to you people.”

What online advertising have you found to be most surprisingly effective?