timeforcake: How are you spending your advertising dollars – Part II | SummitDaily.com
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timeforcake: How are you spending your advertising dollars – Part II

Erin Pheil
special to the daily

This article continues last week’s discussion on the ease with which you can waste marketing dollars by erroneously thinking your ads are successful so long as they drive people to your site.

Each of the following examples (company names removed) discusses an actual ad I clicked on while browsing a local newspaper’s site during the past month. Can you think of tweaks that could increase these ads’ potential ROI?

1) Ad for a Legal Services Company: Clicking this ad took me to a page displaying little more than a broken contact form. Questions: What percentage of ad visitors do you think feel ready to call or email the moment they arrive at a new site, when they know nothing more about the company than they did prior to clicking the ad? How might potential customers feel about a company if they do spend their time filling out an online form but seeing a dead-end error page after hitting Submit?

2) Ad promoting a discounted bike ride opportunity: Clicking this ad took me to a busy homepage packed with a tremendous amount of company info crammed into lengthy paragraphs, info on various products and services unrelated to biking, videos, images of brands sold, links to more bike rental info and links to make online reservations (should I click one of these?). After 20 seconds, I located a link pointing to info on the discounted bike rides – placed in its own banner advertisement on the site. Questions: How long do you think most site visitors will spend searching for the info promoted in the ad? How might visitors feel when they arrive at a page they assume contains details about something they’re interested in, but are instead presented with an overwhelming amount of info not related to their expectations? Might visitors have different experiences if the ad pointed them to a page focused solely on these discounted bike rides?

3) Ad promoting a sale at a local retail shop: Clicking this ad took me to an Error page stating the page no longer existed. I don’t think we need to ponder how this type of mistake can waste a company’s marketing dollars.

4) Banner ad promoting 10 percent off any product in a local company’s online store: Clicking this ad sent me to the company’s homepage. The homepage contained a slideshow and info on the company owners and history, but contained zero info on the promised 10 percent discount. After locating then clicking the link to the company’s online store, I again found no mention of the ad’s promised 10 percent discount. From what I could tell, no discount existed. Question: What might people do when an ad excites them about purchasing, yet the webpage they’re sent to makes no mention of the alluring, promised discount?

5) Ad showcasing a beautiful home for sale: Clicking this ad took me to a real estate company’s homepage. The page’s featured property was not the beautiful home I saw in the ad. In fact, the page contained no photos of or references to the beautiful home. Rather, the page encouraged me to search the site – yet I knew essentially nothing about the home I’d seen in the ad, and therefore didn’t know what to search for. Question: What percentage of site visitors who click this ad will have the energy, time, and desire to begin searching a new site for a property that may or may not still be for sale and of which they know almost nothing about?

It’s simply irresponsible to assume that getting people to click your online ads or visit your site after seeing your printed ads equals success. Your ad might drive one thousand people to your site, but if your site contains no mention of what your ad promotes, I guarantee the vast majority of those visitors will quickly leave, flushing your marketing money down the toilet and spoiling hundreds of opportunities to generate new business.

You’ve worked hard and spent money to draw people to your site. Don’t make them work to find what your ad promises. Don’t make them wonder if they’ve arrived at the right site. And most definitely stop presenting them with (literally) nothing more than a form to contact you with questions or requests the moment they arrive at your site.

Use common sense. Make the money you spend on ads work hard for you by ensuring a clear connection between your ads and what people see after visiting the link in those ads. Prevent surprises; focus on giving the people who see your ads what they want and expect to see.

Stop throwing your money away. Assuming you offer potential customers something they truly value, creating an obvious connection between your ads and the web page associated with that ad will increase the return you receive from the marketing dollars you spend.

erin pheil is the owner of timeforcake creative media – the Web Design company voted #1 in Best of Summit. Visit the timeforcake website at http://www.timeforcake.com or email Erin at erin@timeforcake.com.


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