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Test & Measure Your Marketing Activities to Increase Your Profits

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Over the years, I’ve spoken to many business owners who’ve tried advertising in various mediums, only to stop using them because they didn’t work. It’s a common scenario – a lot of people write an ad and believe that it will work well for them. They place it in the newspaper and sit back waiting for calls. After all, a lot of their current clients read the paper, so why wouldn’t the ad work? Then, when it fails to improve their number of leads, they stop running the ad and blame the paper for the poor response.

But if newspapers don’t get results and radio ads fail to get a response, why are there so many companies still using them? The fact is that it’s normally not that the medium or the strategy doesn’t work; it’s simply that their ads weren’t good enough in the first place.

The secret to getting a response to your advertisement is to test a number of ads until you find the right one.

You can never know if your ad is going to work until you put it to the test. If it doesn’t work, change the ad and run it again. Keep testing over and over until you find the ad that works.

I’ve seen many businesses blow huge sums of money on expensive campaigns that never worked. They’ve simply wasted their cash. They’ll run full-page ads in major publications costing thousands of dollars, only to find that the ad was a dud in the first place. If only they’d tested it (or key parts of it) to start with, they could have saved themselves the hardship.

What to test:

  1. Your headline. This is the most important part of your ad.
  2. Your offer. Some offers that you think will get people in will quite often not work, but some that you didn’t think would work will quite often bring a huge response. You can’t be sure until you test them.
  3. Different publications. If you find that one newspaper gets a lot of calls and yet another containing the same ad doesn’t, there’s a fair chance that it’s the publication and not the ad.
  4. The position of your ad. Try your ads in the business pages, the classifieds, and the general news sections. Sometimes simply taking an ad that isn’t working and placing it in a different section of the paper can change the level of response.
  5. With and without photos. You can also test them with and without borders.

There are so many things that can alter the results that you achieve, but you can’t possibly know what these are without testing them first.  You can have all the theories, ideas, and beliefs in the world, but until you put them to the test, you can’t be sure if they’ll work.

How to test:

  1. Test with flyers. Flyers are one of the best ways to test campaigns. They’re cheap, they’re easy to produce, and you can test many different headlines and offers at the same time. Keep in mind: a realistic response rate for flyers is only between 2-7%, but it’s not your intention to run a flyer campaign; you only want to test the campaign as a whole before you run your campaign elsewhere. Mail 8-10 variations of your flyer with different combinations of headlines and offers to different areas at the same time (to relatively similar demographics) and then track which area brings the best response.
  1. Test with codes. Use codes to test your ads in newspapers, magazines, or with direct mail letters. This idea works particularly well when used with coupons. A small code in the bottom corner of your coupon will let you know which ads are working and which aren’t.

Measure Your Results

Testing an advertisement without measuring the results it’s getting is a bit like playing a sport and not keeping score. This is especially true if you’re running a number of campaigns at a time because you need to know which one is working best. Once you start to track your results, you’ll have the power to make good decisions. You’ll know which marketing campaigns to stop running, which to improve, and which to spend more money on. By not running unsuccessful strategies and focusing more on those that are working, you’ll start to make real profit from your advertising.

It’s important to understand that advertising is an investment and must be viewed as an investment. And you need to be able to measure the return on that investment in dollar terms. Once you understand this, your advertising will be more effective, and your profits will begin to soar.


Heather Yakes is an internationally recognized business coach and employee engagement expert ranking in the Top 10 in the U.S. & Top 100 worldwide. Heather is the recipient of the 2016 Business Excellence Awards Coach of the Year, the 2018 ActionMan Award for the Best Client Impact, and the 2018 Franchisee of the Year Award. She has 20+ years of experience working with Fortune 500 Companies and Big 4 Consulting.