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Entrepreneur

Evaluating Your Small Business’s Advertising Results

By Tom Irmen

I’ve been a student of marketing for nearly four decades now, most of this time as a self-employed. I say student because you never stop learning. While I studied marketing at the University of Wisconsin, most of what I have learned is the result of firsthand observation.


I’ve stated this before – marketing and advertising are two different animals, but the terms are often regarded as synonymous by many small business owners. Simply put, advertising is the vehicle by which you implement your short- and long-range marketing plans. In the absence of a marketing plan, you’re flying blind.

Advertising for advertising sake is undoubtedly better than not advertising at all, but it’s not likely that your efforts will be as productive as they might otherwise be. Also, duplicating your competitions’ advertising efforts is not a marketing plan. How do you know if their ad campaigns are successful?

But assuming that your advertising campaign has as its foundation a well-thought out marketing plan, the next step is to monitor and evaluate its results. This exercise is challenging for many small business owners, particularly new entrepreneurs. In our fast-paced, instant gratification society, some advertisers expect instantaneous results, and in the absence of these instant results, they begin making changes to their advertising strategies just as the campaign is being launched. Other advertisers receive phone calls or book appointments from their advertisements, but because a sale does not result, they often place the blame with the advertising platform that they selected.

Perhaps it’s time for you to “reboot” both your marketing and advertising plans. Begin with the basics. Start with a well-thought out marketing plan that will lay the necessary groundwork for an effective advertising strategy.

Finally, be realistic. You’re not likely to hit a grand slam your first time at bat in the majors.

Be patient. Give your strategy time to succeed.

If your advertising generates phone calls and appointments, yet fails to produce the sales you had hoped for, something else is likely at work. You can have a professional writer create your resume, but you’ve got to go on the interview by yourself. How’s your price points, image, presentation skills, quality, etc.? These are all important questions to ask yourself when you’re evaluating your small business’s advertising results.

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