How To Do 10-30% Better
This Year Than Last Year


by Tom Egelhoff

With tax time time approaching, how well did you do last year? Was it a boom or a bust? It could have been anywhere from 10-30% better with a little planning. Would that kind of increase make your tax bite a little easier? Here's how to make sure 2004 is your best year ever.

If you're advertising your business correctly you can produce and maintain a steady growth. If you are advertising correctly you will do 10-30% more than a non-advertising competitor or someone who is advertising incorrectly. This is a proven fact that is true across all industries. Even if your business is down it will be down less than your non-advertising competitors. Those businesses that reach their target markets with advertising do substantially better than those who don't regardless of economic conditions. What do I mean by correct advertising? I mean that advertising must always be an investment; it can never ever be an expense. Let's look at how to invest your money in correct advertising.

There are three major mistakes business owners make when they decide to advertise.

The first is they fail to correctly identify their target market or target markets. How can you match the correct advertising media with your customers if you don't know who they are? Is it possible that customers might be different ages who listen to different radio stations, read different newspapers or watch different TV shows? You may have several target markets that must be reached by various media. To make advertising pay for itself you must know everything you possibly can about your customers.

Mistake two is failing to track your advertising. How do you know what's working and what isn't? One of the easiest ways to do this is by "keying your ads" something in the ad that will let you know that customer came from radio, TV or newspaper. They bring in a coupon; ask for a demo, or specific information. There is some indication that you know where and when they saw your ad. Always record how each and every person found you.

The third is the one that I want to concentrate on because it is the most important and biggest of all. Businesses fail to set goals they want their advertising to accomplish. Yes, you must set goals for your advertising just like you would for your salespeople. If a salesperson fails to produce what do you do? You either work with them or replace them with someone who does. Think of your advertising as an employee that must produce paying customers.

Most of you are no strangers to goal setting. You've probably attended seminars on how to do it. Goal setting in advertising is a little different than the traditional goal setting that you may be accustomed to. Here is one way to do it using an easy to remember method. You will set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Create a clear definition of the end result you want advertising to accomplish. For example, in a football game your goal is to win the game. For that to happen you must have plays that will move the ball to the opponent's goal. These plays may change during the game because of time, weather, injuries, etc. It's the same with your advertising. Your goal is getting paying customers (not just traffic) into your stores. So get S.M.A.R.T.

"S" stands for specific. For your advertising to reach it's goal it must be very specific. Not just "I want to make more than last year." Your goal might be; "I want to increase our sales of XYZ widgets by 10% over the first quarter." Here you have a pretty specific goal. You have a specific product (XYZ widgets), a sales increase target (10%), and a specific time to do it in (the first quarter of the year). With these specifics you have something to work with.

"M" stands for measurable. You want to increase sales by 10% over last year so you have a measurable goal. Records will reveal what was done last quarter so you have a baseline to start from and the numbers required to measure against.

"A" stands for attainable. Can this goal be reached with current staffing and finances or will some changes have to be made? What is your plan for making this goal happen?

"R" stands for realistic. Is the goal realistic or idealistic? Is this a goal that is in the best interest of the company?

"T" stands for time limit. Goals must have the discipline of a time limit. Anyone who has ever crammed for a final in school knows the importance of having a deadline. In order to create, place and measure your advertising there must be a specific time limit for it to accomplish its task. Every goal must have a day of accounting. The goal was achieved or it wasn't and if it wasn't why wasn't it achieved?

The final thought is to put your advertising to work and make it accountable just like any of your employees. You will be spending your advertising dollars more wisely and your business will be much stronger because of this process. Use it next year and watch your profits soar.


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