Make your Advertising Profitable

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Most small businesses operate with very small advertising budgets. It is critical to the success of any business to ensure that their advertising dollars deliver as much value as possible to the bottom line. Here are some steps that you can take to make sure you get the most bang for your advertising buck:

Target your Advertising - Ideally, every ad that you place would be seen only by potential customers for your business. In reality, you won't find very many advertising opportunities that deliver such a utopian business proposition. The real key is to locate advertising opportunities that will target your potential customers as closely as possible. When evaluating every advertising offer, ask yourself " How closely will this hit my target audience? Could I do better? " . If you are advertising your new website that offers a new vitamin supplement for dogs, advertising on a pet website would not be as advantageous as a dog related website. A website on the topic of dog food and nutrition would be even more targeted, as almost 100% of the visitors to that site would have some interest in dog food and nutrition That's exactly the audience you are looking for.

Vary Your Offers - Remember that your well-defined audience is comprised of certain groups, each with its own reason to buy your product. On the dog food and nutrition website, you may encounter breeders, veterinarians, family pet owners, and breeders. They all want the same thing (a healthy happy dog) but for different reasons. The breeders wants their prized stud to live a long life and have lots of puppies while the veterinarians are interested in offering the best possible advice on nutrition to their clients, and so on. When you are composing your ad copy, keep these different groups in mind, Write an ad that speaks to each of their buying motivations and rotate your ads to ensure you cover all the potential buyers for your product.

Don't Over-Commit - Many small businesses jump at the chance to buy ads at a volume discount, cutting their cost per ad buy purchasing 6 months to a year's worth of advertising up front. On the surface this may seem like a good way to maximize on your advertising dollars. However, if you've done a good job of targeting your potential customers, you may be purchasing too much advertising. It is said that it takes 7 messages from a company to get the average customer to act and actually purchase their product. As you define your target market more effectively (from pet websites to dogs to dog food), that number decreases, as you don't need to do as much " convincing " to motivate a potential customer to purchase your product. Your advertising dollars, therefore, would be better spent in 3 month advertising programs. After the 3 months, move to another website or magazine, and continue to rotate your ads to maximize the reach of your message.

Measure Your Results - Without tracking your ad responses and measuring your results, you'll never know how well your ads are performing. It is critical to track your response rates, primarily though the use of tracking URLs. (www.mydomain.com?ad1). This URL will still direct surfers to your site but it will also capture the site from which they came, giving you some valuable feedback on the performance of your ad.

Many people measure ad placements, but this is only the beginning. You must also evaluate ad copy, timing, and layout. Ads may have seasonal fluctuations in responses rates and your potential customers may respond differently to a change in your ad copy. So keep a detailed tracking spreadsheet to record your ad response in all of these areas. This will give you the information you need to make informed decision about your small businesses advertising budget.

About the Author

Will Dylan is the Author of " Small Business Big Marketing " a powerful e-book for small businesses available through his website www.marketingyoursmallbusiness.com . Will also offers article and news release writing services.

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