For a small business owner, one of the biggest concerns when buying advertising is tracking the return on investment (ROI). Throwing your money at ads and hoping they work just doesn’t cut it – you need to understand where that money is going and how it’s coming back. However, for small businesses with limited budgets, tracking that return can be difficult.
Smaller businesses don’t have the budget for brand advertising alone, instead your ad needs to have a call to action and tell your customer what to do. You aren’t Coca Cola, you can’t throw money at vague ads, put your label on them and let the cards fall where they will. Instead, you need advertisements that have a call to action, explain your business, introduce yourself and have trackable revenue.
How do I know my ads are working?
There are several ways to track your ROI, but when you place several ads throughout your town, it can get hard to know which customers come from which ad or, if the ads are making a real difference in your consumer base.
To start, take note of your base-level customers without ads, or minimal ads in place. Track your monthly revenue and number of leads or walk-ins.
Choosing your ad placement
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is buying an ad based on ego.
Yes, buying an ad in our favorite paper or radio station you listen to each morning might seem like a great idea because you can enjoy it and you’ll assume people just like you will want to shop at your business. In theory, makes perfect sense, and it does work for some groups.
It doesn’t always work though – think about the market you want to appeal to and think about the customer base you want to reach. Those ads might not stroke your company ego as much, you might not have all your buddies talking about how great it was to see your ad in the paper that morning, but you’ll be targeting your niche market customers in a much more effective way.
Things to consider when designing your ad:
- In print ads, include a coupon that customers can redeem for a discount or gift with their purchase. Code the coupons so you can determine which ad or publication generates the best results.
- Offer an incentive for customers to tell you they’re responding to an ad: “Mention this ad and get a 10 percent discount on your first order.” Put it on your website or in the local newspaper, or use it as part of an ad on local TV or radio. It’s an easy way to know where customers are finding out about you.
- Mention a special in your ad that isn’t advertised in the store – only customers who’ve seen the ad will know about the special and you can track how many special packages or deals go through.
Ways to track your ROI:
- For most ads, your main way of tracking will be to count. Seems too simple, I know. But counting fliers brought in, mentions of the ad and coupons is the most effective way to track your ads reach.
- Train your front-desk, face-to-face employees to ask each customer how they heard about your business. If you start to hear about people mostly coming in from that ad you placed in the local paper, you can start focusing your efforts there.
- Web advertisements are the easiest to track – most websites that offer advertising will be able to track the number of views, clicks and leads your ad has seen over the course of a week, month or year. More importantly than those numbers, the amount of time a consumer spends on your ad is huge and very important. It not only means someone saw your ad, but are taking in the information.
What we do
At Washington Military Resource Media, we put your ads in the hands of military personnel who have guaranteed paychecks and almost 40 percent more disposable income than the average civilian.
Our target niche audience is responsive and, even though you might not see your ad every day in the paper, there is a large group of buyers out there seeing your ad in places they use daily, weekly and monthly.
With that, WMRM will track your online ad’s value, clicks, visits and time spend on the page to give you a monetary value of your online ad alone as well as calculate your estimated ROI over the course of a year.
Even if you don’t choose to partner with us, we want your business to be successful and thrive. Contact us anytime, with any questions and our team of media and marketing specialists are here to help.