Your goal is to create an advertising campaign and keep track of how well it does. If you are a start-up business you may think this sounds a
bit grand, but it’s totally necessary. First, you need to create and set an advertising budget, allocating amounts through the year at times when you think the advertising will be most successful. Your business may be seasonal or the time of year can affect sales. Second, deciding to advertise to increase sales during slack times can be a good idea. You can also choose to advertise during the months you know your product or service is wanted.
Once you identify budget allocations, you then need to decide what type of advertising you are going to do. For instance, a press release is free and may get your business known; potential customers might inquire, mentioning that they saw the article. When this happens, take note for future reference so you can use this method again for a new product.
You might want to move on to small ads in newspapers, then larger ads as your business increases. A radio campaign could be next on the agenda and even billboards. In addition, if you have joined a business social networking site such as “Linkedin” it can send inquiries to your website. This is free to join but you can upgrade for a membership with more options. A website with an inquiry form and contact details is a vital selling tool in business today.
So, you want to create your campaign as part of your marketing strategy, and part of that strategy is tracking your ad response.
Types of Ad Monitoring
What are the most common ways of reaching customers?
You can simply add a reference number on the bottom of your advertisement and ask potential customers to bring in the ad or the
number. This works if you are advertising in a number of magazines or newspapers so that you know which one it has come from.
Another method is a discount coupon which they have to bring in to get a discount, more likely to be used than the reference number as the customer benefits.
Leaflets can be put through people’s doors and, again, ask them to bring it in for a discount.
Simply asking a customer where they heard about you and logging it is a very easy way to monitor your advertising, but sometimes if you advertising in a variety of media then they can’t always remember.
Radio advertising can be very effective with the right campaign hitting your target market at the right time of day. Customers can usually remember hearing an ad on the radio, and it’ss just a matter of asking them.
TV advertising is expensive and now, with less people watching TV, not always effective.
Using viral advertising via social networking sites such as “Facebook” can produce good results and can be linked so you know where the inquiry originated.
Tracking Ad Strategies
Before you place your advertising, a tracking system needs to be set up. Creating a computer-based monitoring system is easy to manage for leaflet drops, press and radio advertising.
Responses from social networking can be viewed on the site and logged there.
If you have used discount vouchers, keep them and log them in so you can evaluate their effectiveness.
If you’ve used a variety of press advertising, a record of inquiries needs to be kept in order to judge the best option. A simple Excel spreadsheet will suffice to note the numbers from each newspaper or magazine.
You can also use software created especially to log and manage your calls such as “AdInsight.” This software details what keywords were used to find your site, what keywords on the site they read that prompted them to call, and creates reports to clearly see how your website is working and what is effective. This is not cheap but could save you money as it demonstrates what keywords in your website will ensure a response. It could be part of your ad tracking strategy for the future.
A simple counter on your website can show how many people actually visit the site and on your inquiry form a box will indicate where the person heard about your company.
All this information needs to be collated and reported after a campaign to demonstrate the effectiveness of each area you have covered. As more statistics are gained, you will get a bigger picture of where your advertising is most useful. This needs to be monitored for a year to get the full overview, and the economic situation at a given time also needs to be considered as part of your strategy.
John Jantsch. Duct Tape Tips on Marketing Your Business, on BusinessWeek.com, April 2006, at https://www.businessweek.com/print/smallbiz/content/apr2006/sb20060427_850302.htm