Help Me Make Marketing Matter For Little Guys

I got an Ask A Marketer request last week that really struck a chord with me. Rick Couture of Go-Mango Fitness sent in this question:

OK, I’m still fairly new to the world of online marketing, and I rely on the many wonderful marketing e-newsletters I get to help with my education. What I have not seen is info on how to get started with online advertising. I keep getting calls from my newspaper sales reps to try advertising on their websites. Problem is I have nothing to compare their rates to elsewhere online. Can you provide any resources to see CPM ad rates for banner ads? I can’t help but wonder if $30 per thousand for an “in story” ad that is only mildly targeted (Health section editorial, our business is fitness equipment) is asking too much. Has anyone done a real comparison of newspaper online ads vs other websites rates and effectiveness? Are there places I can compare prices for similar levels of targeting? Is that what DoubleClick does?

I see this kind of confusion and concern in small business owners ALL the time. They can find lots of pundits punditing (guilty) but where do they turn for the basics? How do they know they’re not being ripped off? How do they determine value? I’d love to see some feedback from you folks on what you tell small businesses and those new to the business in terms of this kind of stuff.

Originally published at on April 22, 2007.