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Slashing Your Cost: How to Lower Your Advertising Expenses?

Nov 30, 2007
I've met a number of businesses that advertise both online and offline and most of the time I ask a simple question, "What return of investment do you receive as a result of your investment?"

In most cases I get an answer equivalent to that of a blank stare often it is a blank stare.

I have to shake my head, though usually I want to shake them and scream "Why aren't you testing!" How much money are you burning by investing on an ad and not even knowing what the returns are? There are many ways to lower your advertising costs, you must put into good practice on how to do it effectively.

After watching client after client throw away hard earned money out the window, I figured it was high time I wrote this article to teach you how to test your ads. Because you will literally be saving thousands while increasing your sales once you do. Lowering your advertising costs will keep you in business alot longer.

Testing your ads successfully involves four essential principals

1. What to test?

All successful ads contain an attention grabbing headline, a compelling body and a call to action. You will need to test each aspect of your ad to know what is and isn't working. But the web makes it easy to test each at the same time by coding all your ads with a reference code to identify the source of the inquiry.

Here's how you do this.

You write a series of ads and choose the ones you feel will create the greatest response. I like to test two at a time but I've known others to split test three ads. Run your ads for a week and tally the results to see which ad generated the greatest response.

At this point you have one ad that is effective. But you want to create the best ad you possibly can. So begin refining your ad by changing one element per test. If you change the headline you run and test the ad, if you change the font run and test it again.

2. Where to test

Your ads need to be seen by as many people as possible. AOL, Yahoo and free classified ad spaces are great places to test your ads. They won't generate a lot of sales but they will help to run a successful test for free.

3. When to test

While many people may argue that certain days of the week are better for placing your classified ads, the truth is you need to test for a full seven days. This way you can test not only your ad copy and where you placed the ad, but see when the ad pulled the best. How will you know what day to run your ad, if you're only testing for a two or three days?

4. Tracking your results

Testing is useless, unless you track your results. This is where a unique code comes in. You can add a "? and number" to your URL and you can track ads for free by using your server logs. For example, if you changed your URL from

sales.com
to
sale.com/?123

you will go to the same page, but your server logs will show how many hits went to the ?123 site separately from the main page.

Another tip that many people rarely use is to ask prospects how they found you. All it takes is a simple "Where did hear about us?" This is especially important if you partake in offline advertising.

Enter the results into your computer using spreadsheet. You can also write it down by creating an ad chart. On top of the chart, give each ad a number, list the location and duration of the ad and allow room for daily results. Remember, it's best to use a separate email address or URL for each ad.

Now that you have your data you can figure out the costs per click. To do this simply divide the amount you spent by the number of clicks. For example, let's say you advertise in an ezine that charges $45 for an ad. If you get 1000 clicks from that ad, your cost per click is:

$45 divided by 1000 = 4.5 cents per click.

Whether the cost per click is good or bad depends on your product, how well your sales material works and your profit margins.

Knowledge is power

So unless you want to be like John Wannamaker, the 'father of the modern department store' who once said "I know that half of my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half it is" then grab the bull by the horns and start measuring the results of every ad you run from this moment on to lower your advertising costs.
About the Author
Jeff Casmer is an internet marketing consultant and work at home business owner. For more information on earning money with ezines please visit his "Top Ranked" Earn Money with Ezines Directory which gives you all the information you need to Work From Home in the 21st century.
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