Every business needs to allocate a budget for advertising, no matter how small its operations. If people don’t know about it, how will it ever be successful?However throwing all of your budget at the first form of advertising that comes along is a quick way to waste money. A successful advertising campaign is one that is able to make a measurable return on the investment. In other words the amount you spend on the campaign is made back through the sales it generates.

Getting the maximum return on your advertising budget is not a perfected science, but there are a number of ways to ensure you’re on the right track.

Gather Data

If you’re going to measure and analyse your return you have to have some data to work with. For example if you took out a traditional print ad in a newspaper or magazine you should be made aware of the publication’s circulation (amount of readers). If you include a unique coupon or some other offer with your ad, you will be able to directly measure the number of responses and therefore track the revenue generated.

This process is much easier with online advertising because you can track the referrer of every visit to your site, whether that be from Google search, a link from another site, or an online advertisement.

Target Your Audience

An advertising budget is wasted if you aren’t targeting the people that will most likely want your product or use your service. Before the internet this was often a difficult task. The closest option to true targeting was to take out ads in a trade journal or cross promote with a related business. Sometimes it was just luck, target locally and hope somebody takes an interest.

With platforms like Google AdWords targeting your audience couldn’t be easier. Your ad is shown alongside Google search results only when somebody searches for the keywords you designate. This means if you’re selling Custom T-Shirts you can make sure that only people searching for “Buy Custom T-Shirts” see your ad. This makes it more likely that they’ll click through and you’ll make a sale, and your budget is not wasted.

Test and Refine

If you’ve targeted your audience and gathered the data, it’s now time to analyze the results and see where you can improve. Using AdWords as an example, testing several different keywords and keeping the ones that convert the best is a great way to get the maximum return on your budget. To do this efficiently you’ll also need to track conversions, which means monitoring whether a user sent via an ad actually makes a purchase.