Before you go out and throw thousands of dollars into an advertising campaign, it is much smarter to try several inexpensive test campaigns first. This will allow you to target your market more effectively and work through any problems before your ad ends up flopping. The most important key to an effective advertising campaign is knowing your business and your advertising methods inside and out.
The best way to start testing your ad campaign is by researching similar businesses and seeing what methods of advertising they are currently employing. If it is working for them, chances are, it will work for your company as well. You can save a lot of time and money by taking the time to see what the competition is doing first. It is of course, impossible to know for sure if their campaigns are successful, but you can use a helpful tool to gauge how much traffic they are receiving.
Alexa.com is a free website ranking tool. It will allow you to type in your competitors web addresses and see the kind of traffic they are getting. You can also put in your own URL to see how you are doing in the meantime. This is a terrific, free way to keep an eye on the competition and watch your back at the same time.
Now that you have looked around to see what is working for your competitors, is there anyway to improve on their campaign ideas? This planning stage is so important as you build an effective ad campaign. Try to ask your family and friends for some ideas and their suggestions as you go. Their advice should be free and might help point out areas you may have overlooked.
You have planned out your ad campaign - now what about your target market? Advertising on the Internet is truly beneficial to small businesses as you can tailor your advertising to the smallest niche market and still reach consumers. Again, you will need to research your market carefully to see who and where your customers are.
After doing all of this planning, you are now ready to begin throwing out the first breadcrumbs of your ad campaign. It is quite similar to feeding birds in a park. Instead of rushing out and buying an expensive designer loaf of cranberry bread, it would be much smarter to buy one piece and test it out on the birds first. If they like it, you can return the next day armed with your expensive bread. If they dont, you arent out as much money as you would have been had you purchased the entire loaf.
How do I test my campaign cheaply and effectively? There are several methods you can employ that will allow you to test your ad for practically nothing or as close to it as you can get. Try advertising in ezines first, this will allow you to gauge potential consumer interest. Most ezines charge a very small amount for ad space and some even offer free ads for new subscribers. If this works well for you, you can begin by using Google AdWords and setting a small budget at first for your test run.
You can use the keywords that grabbed the most attention in your ezine advertising, which will save you the expense and time of trying to get just the right combination. If this trial run works well for you, you are ready to begin pumping more money into your advertising campaign. If not, you can still retool and retry until you get it right.
By testing out your campaign first, you can spare yourself the pain of an expensive advertising flop and you are almost guaranteed to learn a lot about advertising on the way. Start small and then as you get the knack down for your business, start to expand. It may take a little longer, but it will be worth it as you hone your skills for future campaigns.
About The Author
Julie Martin is the publisher of The Iscaweb eZine a weekly eZine dedicated to increasing your online profits, no matter what you are selling. Julie also uses the Plug-In-Profit system to GREAT effect!