Businessman and marketing pioneer John Wanamaker is famous for saying, “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” If this has you nodding in agreement, consider these tips to help you set ad goals based on objectives you can track, reach and build upon.

Make sure your goals can be reached through advertising

This sounds obvious, but oftentimes businesses overlook what advertising can and can’t achieve. If your restaurant is getting mediocre reviews on Yelp, an ad campaign refuting them won’t be nearly as effective as a thoughtful response on Yelp that engages reviewers in a dialogue.

How to Set And Reach Advertising Goals

Here are a few reasons to advertise:

• To promote a sale or special offer

• To inform customers and prospects about your business, product or service

• To establish or maintain visibility for your business and brand

If your objectives fall within these categories, most likely advertising can help you reach them. If not, it probably can’t. For a quick-hit list of what advertising can and can’t do for your business, this post on Spark With CT can help.

Get specific. (Really specific.)

Advertising without setting goals is like dieting without a goal weight. If you’re vague in your objectives, you’ll never know if you’ve reached them. So, if you’re advertising to “increase foot traffic,” be prepared to quantify how many feet you want walking in the door, when you want them coming in, whether they’re wearing high heels or cross trainers and so on. This way, when 500 flip-flop wearing college students show up with your ad for sunblock, you’ll know you hit your target.

Use Short-Term Ad Goals to Achieve Long-Term Business Goals

If your tattoo parlor is in Boise and you want to expand into the surrounding area within a year, develop an ad plan that can get you there. Consider an online campaign targeting the surrounding communities. Offer a discount and track where business is coming from. Once you know, use targeted email ads or mail fliers directly. As you build your clientele, use ads to inform them that you’ll soon be in their market and reward repeat customers with additional perks. Within a year, your business name could be tattooed in the market you desire.

To be successful in business, your advertising goals should align with your overall business goals. Use these guidelines to set your advertising goals and increase your chances for success.

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