How Effective Is Your Advertisement?

There are many functions within a business and each function should have a positive effect on the bottom line of any company, but the advertisements that your marketing department place are the ‘front-line’ in the war to get prospects to your website – so how do you determine how efficient your advertisements are?

Do you simply look at the number of sales and enquiries or do you look deeper and try to evaluate why people have come.

Of course, to determine how effective our advertising is we should look at a number of things…

Media type – this can have a big effect on where you should be placing your advertising bucks next time, for example…you may have received a ton of prospects from Campaign #1, but very few closing deals, yet Campaign #2 brought in fewer but more targeted prospects and a higher closing ratio as it was a different medium

Your budget – do you need to spend $100,000′s to get great results? If you are a very large corporation you may need to, however if you think smart, there are literally hundreds of marketing weapons that cost very little but can bring in massive results. At the end of the day, your advertisement needs to make a profit

What was your objective – did the advertisement do what you wanted it to do? If it was to increase brand awareness, then you need to factor in surveyed results to see if awareness in your target market has increased. If you wanted a direct response, then was this response acted on?

Consistency – was this advert part of a series or a one-off? If it was part of a series – how much better has it performed than the previous ‘control’. Are you consistently improving? Your target market – is your target market responding to your advertising or do you need to adjust the demographics…

It’s useful to plan a meeting (regular if the campaign runs over a long period of time) to go through the data that you have collected for each account and measure the performance of the advertisement. You should begin to see a clearer view as to how efficient or not your advertising and marketing spend is.

As with all advertising and marketing…you should always test, test, test!

Ensure that you have a benchmark for your advertisements. In other words, define all the areas that you need to address (headline, sub-head, body etc…) and be sure that the copy is effective for your demographic. Once the advertisement has been placed, ensure that the important information (as highlighted previously) has been recorded and then alter a single aspect of the copy for the next advertising campaign you run.

The section of your copy that you choose could be any part, but start with the more identifiable parts such as the heading or sub-header of your advertising. Whatever it is, run the ad and then check the performance and the efficiency of each campaign.

If the original control version performs better, then keep it. Should the existing advertisement continue to outperform the changed version, then stay with it and develop a new option…

Look at your advertisements as tools for your business. adverts that you place and inevitably pay for should never be implemented and then ignored – far too much of your cash-flow will have been expended for potentially no return. Make them work by determining the efficiency of your advertising and you will make the profit. Determine the overall efficiency by how much profit you are making, then keep and improve the best adverts and bin the poor performers.

Copyright (c) 2008 Michael Hemmins

Local Online Advertising – How to Crush Your Competition

Now’s Your Chance to Beat Your Local Competition Online

In a 2009 VistaPrint study of small businesses, it was discovered that 46% of small businesses don’t even have a website for their business. And, to make matter worse, a Discover Small Business Watch survey found that 45% of the entrepreneurs interviewed didn’t think they needed a website either.

This is a huge window of opportunity for local businesses that truly catch the vision for online advertising! For years, advertising locally meant putting an ad in the local paper or phone book. If you had the money, you might produce a radio or TV commercial or program. But now, you can quickly an easily reach your target audience at little or no cost…and you can get a head start on the 45% of your competitors that don’t see a need for it.

Paid versus Free/Low-cost Advertising

There are two broad categories of advertising. Whether you’re talking about offline, traditional ads or online ads, your choices are free and paid. The difference is in the online world, free advertising can be as good as or even better than paid ads. The drawback in the past was that free online advertising took longer to take effect. There was no way to begin advertising this week and see a result next week. But that’s changed. And you don’t have to be an internet marketing expert to take advantage of it.

You should think of local online advertising as a funnel…just like your offline advertising efforts. The point is to be in as many places as possible and to provide your potential customers the information they’re looking for so you can begin building a relationship with them. Once they know who you are, you can continue building the relationship to the point they decide you’re the best company to meet their needs.

Maximizing Your Leverage

To be most effective, your free or low-cost online advertising funnel be based around your own web site augmented by thorough, complete profiles in each of the local search engines.

To have an effective local search listing, you need to go into Google Places, Yahoo! Local, and Bing Local and make sure the information they have for you is correct. If they don’t have you in their listings already, you can easily add your information. You’ll want to make these profiles as accurate and complete as possible. That way your customers will be able to get most of their questions answered even if you don’t have your own web site to drive them to.

In addition, you should go back to check your local listings in all the search engines periodically to make sure they stay correct. They have a tendency to change over time because Google and the other search engines find what they call ‘citations’ for your business all over the internet…and sometimes those citations are wrong. In other cases, one of your competitors might be trying to highjack your listing. By periodically checking the profiles, you can catch both of these situations easily.

You Site Can Be a Lead Generating Machine!

If you have a website, you need to turn it into a direct response, lead generating machine. If you don’t have a website online right now, you need to get one quickly or your online advertising will suffer. The biggest mistake most small businesses make regarding their website it trying to make it pretty rather than functional.

When it comes to websites, functional means it’s useful for your customers and effective for you. Customers need to be able to get information about you, your business, and your products or services. But you also need to give them specific, relevant, timely information that helps them solve problems in their lives and not just info about you or your products/services. Keep the site’s focus on the customer and their problems, not your business or products.

Functional for you means you need it to generate and collect leads so you can follow up with them. The easiest way to do this is to make sure each page on your site has a single goal. Before you write each page, you need to decide what it is you want your customers to do after they read that page. And then maintain that focus as you write.

By making your website the central focus of your online marketing efforts and supplementing it with a thorough local search campaign, you’ll be on the first page of Google quickly and (relatively) easily; without worrying very much about search engine optimization.