Media planners and advertising salespeople get this question regularly from clients new to advertising, along with, “how many leads can you guarantee me?” The same way a doctor cannot guarantee curing a patient and a defense lawyer cannot guarantee their client will get acquitted, it’s impossible for agencies to make any guarantees.
The lawyer does research, develops a sound strategy with the defendant, then persuades the jury to the best their ability. If the attorney has a good client that presents well, and has a good record, their probability of success is much higher than defending themselves.
In advertising terms, we do the research, develop a strategy, then persuade the public to buy. Your chances of acquiring new clients through advertising and marketing is much higher with professional help. The ROI is better when you have a good client (product or service), presents well (branding and landing page) and have a good record (reviews and years in business).
Questions to Help Determine Retail Advertising Success
- Client: Is the product or service awesome and have demand? Nothing exposes a bad product or service faster than a good advertising campaign.
- Branding: Is there existing brand awareness? Has the new client done any meaningful advertising before? Billboards, print ads, radio, TV or direct mail? Introducing a brand is more difficult than promoting an established business.
- Record: How are their reviews on Facebook, Google and Yelp? How long has the company been in business? Successful advertising often activates lost customers, improving ROI.
Campaign Duration and Success Indicators
Programmatic advertising campaigns (display banners and videos) best practices and key performance indicators are remarkably similar to traditional media:
- Drowning in Knee Deep Water: The biggest mistake local advertisers can make is to cancel a sound advertising strategy after six weeks because “it’s not working”. Advertising is about frequency. It takes people 7 – 21 impressions to recall a new brand and take an action. Cancelling after six weeks is a complete waste of money; you quit before it got good.
- Sales Cycle Length: For the emergency plumber, mechanic, or defense attorney, the sales cycle is short. Choosing a college, changing banks, hiring an estate planning attorney or buying an engagement ring requires more consideration. Open enrollment periods affect the sales cycle of doctors. How long are you going to track ROI attributed to the ad campaign?
- Branding is Valuable: Mature business owners understand the concept of value. When you sell a business, strong brand awareness and recognition increases the price. We continually see the value of brand-awareness in paid search and SEO. People click on the brands they recognize.
- Creative and Landing Pages: Hiring a professional designer to create the banner or video ads is essential. Ads should click through to landing pages designed to convert visitors into sales.
- Finding the Cash Register: Is it easy for people to give you money in person or online? Do you accept phone calls from prospects or only communicate through email or chat? Is there parking? Can a new client easily sign-up online with trustworthy e-commerce?
- Conversion Tracking: How do you ask new clients where they found you? The receptionist? Surveys? Google Analytics? Trackable phone numbers? Solve the puzzle, “half my advertising is working, but I don’t know which half,” is important.
- Six Week Indicators: It will take six weeks just to start raising awareness. For local businesses people should start mentioning that they’ve seen or heard your ad. New advertisers may get a few leads in the first six weeks.
- Three Months: It normally takes three months to start showing ROI for programmatic and traditional media campaigns. There is enough data to start making decisions about creative, offers and media tactics. For longer sales cycles—professional services and big-ticket items—several good prospects should be in the pipeline.
- Return: As a general rule of thumb, we shoot for a 3-1 return over the first 12 months.
“How many leads will I get” is not a silly question. It means the first-time advertisers (normally the business owner) are relatively new to advertising and have normal ROI concerns. The media planner or ad salesperson needs to educate, better communicating the strategy by drawing the big picture from start to finish. The client needs to trust their advertiser for this relationship to work.