You’ve heard it before. You need to make money in order to make money, and you need to make money by getting more business leads and turning them into paying customers. How do you get more business leads? Advertising, of course! With these handy tips on how to increase your business leads with advertising, you’ll be well on your way to increasing your sales, profits, and overall happiness as an entrepreneur!

Define your advertising goals

What do you want your ad to accomplish? Would you like it to increase leads for your business, increase online sales or brand awareness? Be specific when creating your ad. Defining a clear purpose will ensure that you are making an investment in advertising that will yield results. Once you have defined your goals, it is easier to think about how much money and resources you can spend on each one. You should also think about whether different types of ads work better for some goals over others. For example, running an outdoor billboard might help build brand awareness but may not be effective at generating sales leads or boosting online traffic.

Decide your budget

Marketing can be broken down into two broad categories: paid and earned. The former is generally more expensive and specific, while the latter is cheaper and more broad-based. Before you get started on your advertising plan, decide how much you’re willing to spend on each type of campaign. Weighing against cost-per-lead (CPL) for direct mail or other marketing channels will give you a good idea of how much it will cost per lead and what sort of results you can expect from different budgets. This will allow you to create an ROI tracking sheet so that you have hard data if marketing doesn’t work out as planned—or if it works way better than expected!

Select your target audience

If you want new customers, you’ll need to know who they are. That starts with defining a target audience—the kind of people you want to reach. Don’t pick an audience at random: If possible, try to choose someone who will be interested in your product and actively look for it online. For example, if you run a furniture store, targeting women in their 20s might not be worthwhile since young women typically don’t have much disposable income for big-ticket items like couches and dining tables. But reaching out directly to empty nesters looking for furnishings may be a worthwhile endeavor.

Create an advertising plan

Making your marketing dollars work harder for you starts with having a solid plan in place. Before you advertise, take some time to do research and develop a strategic plan. To do so, answer these questions: What are my goals? Who is my target audience? What’s unique about my company that could make me more appealing than other options out there? How much can I realistically spend on advertising each month or quarter?

Track your results

Tracking your ROI and benchmarking against similar companies is an essential part of any smart ad campaign. The more you can track, examine, and analyze, the better you’ll understand how effective your ad campaigns are. This will help you learn what aspects of your business resonate most with new customers—and which ones don’t work so well. Use online tools like Google Analytics to get started; then look into advertising platforms that include analytics as a feature (like Facebook or Google AdWords). Whatever you choose, make sure you’re tracking impressions, clicks, conversions (or whatever your goal metric is) along with cost and any other relevant data.

Determine if it was worth it.

A common question businesses face when advertising is, Was it worth it? There’s no easy answer. A great deal of advertising factors into success, including your product and your customers. If you’re in a business that can run promotions every day or week, then cost per click (CPC) is a good indicator of whether you should continue advertising at a certain price. CPC doesn’t factor in how many leads or sales you receive from an ad. It only looks at cost versus amount received. To figure out if an ad is worth it, divide its CPM by 1,000.

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