I was horrified.
I had just spent $400 on advertising — advertising that only yielded $100 in sales
.Desperate to make up my losses, and not knowing which of my three ad campaigns actually produced the sales, I made a guess. I figured that most of my profits must have come from the ad campaign that reached the largest number of people — in my case, an ezine with over 50000 subscribers. So I naively shelled out another $200 for an ad – a wasted $200, I might add, since I didn’t make a single sale.
Thankfully I’ve learned a lot since those frustrating days as an online business ‘newbie’ … but the above scenario isn’t uncommon for beginners to the Internet business world. We’re constantly bombarded with claims of fast, easy money – and they’re hard to resist.
For example, when I first started online, I was told that all I had to do was purchase a top sponsor ad in an ezine, place a ‘tested’ and ‘proven’ ad … and presto! I’d be several thousands of dollars richer.
It didn’t work. I faithfully purchased a number of ads and followed the instructions to the letter. Hundreds of wasted dollars later, I was completely discouraged and almost ready to give it all up.
I’m glad I didn’t. I learned that not every marketing campaign will be successful … unfortunately, all too often people try an online business and give up when they’re unable to make money at it. In some cases, sticking with it a while longer could have turned a ‘failure’ into a ‘success’.
That doesn’t mean doggedly doing exactly the same thing over and over again, hoping to see better results. If you do the same thing you’ll get the same results.
Testing your marketing efforts is critical to your success. And one of the simplest ways to do this is to use an ad tracker.
Ad trackers provide you with a way to ‘code’ each of your marketing campaigns. You use this special coded URL in your ads — and whenever a visit clicks on the URL, the tracker records the ‘hit’.
In other words, these tracking codes tell you how many hits and unique visitors you get from each of your advertising campaigns. By analyzing this information, you’re able to instantly see which of your campaigns are successful — and which are not.
Ad trackers don’t cost much at all … yet this small investment can yield huge returns! Two of the most popular are:
= ROIbot, http://www.roibot.com/r_r.cgi?R46886_article – this is the tracker I use most. It’s easy to set up and to manage, and it comes with a whole bunch of other features including an autoresponder.
= Ultimate Ad Tracker, http://www.ultimateadtracker.com/ . This is a CGI script that you’ll need to configure and install on your server (it comes with instructions). Once set up, it’s very easy to use.
Using an ad tracker really opens your eyes. I had always thought, ‘The more people I reach, the more sales I’ll make’ — you know, the usual traffic hype that we all hear.
Instead I found out real truths about what was working for me and what wasn’t. For example, my ad tracker taught me that it’s not the size of the ezine that counts … it’s how many people actually *read* it. It also taught me that just because a website gets a lot of traffic, it doesn’t mean that advertising on that site will give you *results*.
By testing everything you do, you’ll get solid proof of what doesn’t work, what works well, and what can be improved. You know which ad campaigns to continue … and which ones to dump for something more profitable.
So track your marketing efforts — every single one of them. You’ll gain valuable insight about where your sales are coming from, and be able to learn and grow from these insights. Your bottom line will thank you!
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a practical, down-to-earth guide to building an Internet business on a beginner’s budget. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love the book! Visit http://www.onlinebusinessbasics.com or request a series of 10 free reports to get you started.