February 19, 2008
So you spent a thousand dollars on a full page color ad in a local magazine. The salesman said it would be seen by just the people you’re looking for. He guaranteed thousands of people would see it on a daily basis. He said your phone would be ringing off the hook. Now you run a second ad in another publication. You seem to be getting some new clients but how can you be sure which ad is bringing them in? Can you really tell what your return is on these investments?
The answer is an unequivocal YES - there are several ways from the inexpensive to the fully automated (and costly). As I’ve said before, you are going to make mistakes in marketing. The key is not to make them twice. Thanks to technology, you can have the answers you need.
First, the inexpensive. Let’s say you have 2 ads running. Let’s also assume you have a phone system with up to 4 lines. Each one of those lines is a roll over line with it’s own number or 800 numbers. One way to measure is to put a different phone number on each of your ads - one of your roll over lines. Then you check on your phone records for direct dials to that line. But be patient. One week is not enough to see real results. Some studies show that people need to see your ad up to 20 times before responding to it.
Another inexpensive way is to buy a few clever URL’s (www.NoMoreClogs.com). Short and clever are best. At a cost of $8 a year, you can afford to experiment. Then you simply build a landing page that resides with your normal website and point the URL to it. Add Google Analytics (for free) and point your different ads to different URL’s. They can all be connected to your website, you need not have a separate hosting account for each and you can put all of your contact information as well as special offers and calls to action. At the end of the month, you’ll be able to see just how much direct traffic you received.
If your budget will allow, there are service providers out there that for around $300 a month, will set you up with phone numbers for each ad, route calls through their server, tell you what the result of the call was (connected, busy, abandoned or no answer) and even tell you who it was that called so you can call them back. They can do some truly amazing things. They can tell you the number of leads, average call duration, give you a cost per lead and assign a percentage based on overall advertising. Some will record the calls and even offer training for your staff. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Technology exists now to let you know exactly where your best dollars are spent. You will be able to do the math quarterly and make educated choices as to where to keep spending your money and, more importantly, where to stop spending it.
Now get out there and look good.
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