Clients often ask me, what is the most effective advertising strategy for their business. Since there are many variables to consider there isn’t one clear answer that would satisfy the needs of every business. However, there is a logical way to approach this question and find the best advertising plan for your business.
This post is written for local service-based companies, but the theory can be applied to any type of business.
Step 1 - Establish Your Primary Goal
Are you looking to increase your overall exposure and brand or are you trying to connect with more potential customers who need your services right now? For most small to medium-sized companies it’s typically more valuable to focus on advertising that can generate immediate results. Branding requires a larger investment of time and money to be effective. Also, branding strategies that work for extremely large businesses like Apple or Coke aren’t going to work for smaller businesses because of the obvious difference in the amounts of their advertising budgets.
Pro Tip: Allocate the majority of your budget towards potential customers who are looking for your services right now.
Step 2 - Effectively Track the Results of Your Advertising
The advertising sources that offer the best tracking are typically digital mediums, because the source of the leads can be tracked accurately with web analytics. Asking people how they heard of you is a good practice, but it isn’t very reliable. We tested this method by adding a question to some of our client’s contact forms and found that most people just select a random choice, to complete the form.
Pro Tip: Focus on advertising mediums that are fully quantifiable first. If you are advertising in print, be sure the contact number you list is a call tracking number so you can monitor how many calls you receive directly from the ads.
Step 3 - Configure Goals in Google Analytics to Track Your Advertising Effectively
For most local service companies new customer leads are typically received via phone, email or a contact form. Google Analytics is a free analytics software that will track which advertising mediums leads are generated from. This can be integrated with call tracking software to track incoming phone calls, but would need to be installed and configured by someone who is experienced with the software. Ask the company who makes updates to your website or find a digital marketing agency that can set up this tracking for you.
Pro Tip: Have a contact or estimate form on your website, instead of just an email so you can track leads. When someone just clicks on an email address from your website they are not tracked. Also, forms allow you to maintain control over the information a person provides you.
Pro Tip 2: CRM (Customer Retention Management) software sometimes offer an integration with Google Analytics that will automatically import the information filled out on the form directly into the CRM. Vonigo is one CRM that offers this functionality and is built specifically for field-based service businesses.
Step 4 - How to Determine Your Advertising Winners and Losers?
Before branching out to new advertising mediums you’ll want to measure the results you are receiving from your current advertising mediums. Here are some steps to determine your current results and what to do next.
Pro Tip: Be patient. The results you receive in the first month or two may not be representative of your results after 6 months. Ask the company you are considering advertising with how long it usually takes to ramp up the campaign.
Most of our service pages include an estimated time for results for each service located in the FAQ section at the bottom of the page.
Step 5 - What is Your Potential Risk?
Some advertising channels could produce no results at all. Here are a few things to consider to determine your potential risk.
If you have additional questions or you would like to improve the results you're receiving from your advertising efforts please contact us.