Five Considerations to Make Before you Advertise

If you have an e-commerce company, advertising is one of your costs of doing business. For some businesses, it may be an important way to generate traffic, sales and profits. You certainly want to get the most benefit from your advertising budget, so here are five points to consider before you make your next advertising buy.

Who are your customers?

The whole point of advertising is to communicate with your customers and motivate them to make a purchase. To do that effectively, you need to know a lot about them. What is their demographic? Do they live in a rural or urban area? What types of products or services do they purchase? The more you learn about your customers, the more creative you can be to tailor your ads to attract their interest.

What are you trying to accomplish?

If you don’t have a specific objective in mind when you launch an advertising campaign, you’re not spending your money wisely. Are you trying to attract new long-term customers, increase sales to your existing customer base or clear out inventory at the end of the season? Before you design your ad, you need to know what type of action you want viewers of the ad to take. A campaign to add people to your email list will look very different from one designed to increase sales and profits immediately. To define your objectives, develop SMART goals for your campaign – goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

How much is your budget?

When you advertise, you’re making an investment in your business, and you hope that you will receive a positive return, however, not every advertising campaign is successful, so plan your budget accordingly. Don’t risk more on an advertising campaign that you can afford in the event you return on your investment is not what you expected.

Where should you advertise?

What you know about your customers, your ad campaign objectives and your budget will determine where you place your ads. If your objective is to make some sales quickly, pay-per-click advertising on search engines and social media may be your best bet. If you’re looking for new customers, digital ads on websites with subject matter that appeals to the types of customers you want to attract could be very effective. Even for online businesses, print media ads and even direct mail could be what you need. You have many options available to you, and planning where to advertise should be part of your strategy when you set your goals for your campaign.

How will you measure your campaign’s effectiveness?

Before you launch your campaign, decide which metrics you’ll measure, as this will help you decide how to tailor your campaign. There are many free and paid tools available that will let you measure sources of traffic, click-through rates conversion rates and cost of acquiring a new customer. Remember that effective advertising is a repetitive process – you need to plan, implement and evaluate your ad campaign and then start the cycle over again using the knowledge you’ve gained from previous campaigns.

You don’t want website downtime to impact your advertising efforts negatively, so use a website monitoring service so you’ll know if your site is down and can take prompt corrective action.

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