In general terms, advertising isn’t cheap. You can spend a good portion of your marketing budget just in advertising.
Many people confuse advertising for marketing but it’s just one piece of the marketing pie.
Advertising can actually be a very good thing and can really help boost your business and get established in the community. Strategically timed special offers and discounts can really drive business.
But, if you don’t have a way to track and collect the leads you get from your advertising, you are wasting your money. Without a sales funnel in place it’s like taking your hard earned money and flushing it down the toilet or gambling it away on a roulette wheel.
When you spend money on advertising, you need to determine the ROI (return on investment). In order to do that, there are three things you must have in place to track your advertising efforts.
Assuming your advertising will display or mention your business phone number and website, here are the things you need:
- Your website should have Google Analytics or some other website tracking code installed. That way you can evaluate the variances in your traffic to coincide with your advertising efforts. If you run an ad and don’t see any spikes in your traffic flow (new visitors) then, there’s an opportunity to evaluate the ad and see how you can improve it.
- Your website should have a form to ask visitors for their email address. This will allow you to build a database of potential customers and send weekly or monthly updates via newsletter or special offer. Without this, anyone who could have been interested in your business but wasn’t ready to buy will be lost or a dead lead.
- Your staff should be asking every caller how they heard about you. When someone makes a call to your business to ask questions, one of the things you should always ask is, “How did you hear about us?”. This will let you know what method of advertising is working. You can make a simple spreadsheet to track the responses and total it up at the end of every week. Then, at the end of the month, you’ll have a grand total of how many calls came from your different advertising efforts. Going one step further and tracking closed business will give you even more information to determine the best bang for your advertising dollar.
Finding the best advertising methods for your business takes time and testing. You really can’t sign up for advertising for one month and expect it to work. The longer you have an advertising campaign in place, the more likely it will pay off because in general, people need to see a message 5 times before it registers. It takes seeing a message 7 times for them to act (call, check out the website, etc.).
But before you spend another dollar in advertising, make sure you have a way to capture the leads and follow up. Remember, the fortune really is in the follow-up!