Advertising online can be one of the most powerful marketing tactics available. It can drive tremendous amounts of traffic to your website, it can boost your search engine ranking and of course it can increase your profits. As an entrepreneur, it just doesn’t get better than that. However, advertising tactics often fall short of expectations. The difference between a successful strategy and a struggle is nothing more than a bit of careful planning.Three Steps to a successful online advertisementStep #1 Who is your audience and what are you advertising? Many times, advertisements struggle because they’re not targeted toward any specific person or product. They’re simply a go here type of advertisement. They don’t attract the prospect’s attention nor do they give a call to action. Before you take any other steps, know who you’re advertising to and what you’re specifically advertising for.For example, if you have a direct sales business, are you advertising a promotion? Or a new product? A benefit your direct sales business provides, for example skin care products could offer the following benefit, “look 10 years younger in 30 days.”Step #2 Research where you’re going to place your advertisement. Look for websites that are:o Relevant. Make sure it’s a website that your target audience visits and already has them in the right frame of mind. For example if you’re advertising skin care products you could advertise on a website devoted to helping mom’s or a website that sells makeup.o Receiving high traffic numbers. A website can be 100% relevant and still not be a good choice to spend your advertising dollars. Look at the amount of traffic the website receives and compare it to what they’re charging for an ad.o Quality. People make associations. If you advertise on a well respected website, you will be associated with that level of quality and credibility. The same holds true if you advertise on a website with little or no reputation.o In line with your prospect’s thought process. Consider what your prospects might do before and after they used your product. For example, if you sell puppy training videos then your customer probably purchases a puppy before they buy the videos and after they buy the videos they might visit a pet store for supplies.That means advertising at animal shelters, breeders and even puppy breed research sites might be a great idea as well as advertising on puppy supply sites. Put your ad in the path of your customer for better results.Note that online advertising includes placing banner or text ads on relevant websites like Internet Based Moms, placing classified advertisements online and pay per click advertising. There’s a broad range of opportunities, choose the ones that make the most sense for your audience.Step #3 Write your advertisement. Once you know where you’re going to place your advertisement then you can sit down to write it per the websites specifications. Even if you’re advertising using a search engine tool like AdWords, you’ll have parameters to fit your copy into. Make sure you’re appealing to your audience’s needs and offering a benefit and make sure to include some sort of call to action.Click here, buy now, learn more, tell your audience what you want them to do. It sometimes helps to keep a swipe file of good advertisements you see online that way if you’re stumped, you can use them for inspiration. And don’t be afraid to see what your competition is doing and how you can do it better.Online advertising can be a superior traffic generating, income boosting experience. Approach it like an entrepreneur. Do your research, have a plan and make sure you have systems in place to track your results. Perfect and hone your advertisements until they’re generating the traffic and revenue you desire.