This time of year it seems that every advertising company under the sun is contacting us to have our clients advertise on their websites. These offers range from free and paid listings to any and all shapes and sizes of ads. So how do we decide which have value to actually spend $$$ on?
Just because a website offers to list your facility for free does not mean you should always go ahead with it. If the website is reputable, seems up to date with its information and you see many of your competitors on it, then go for it. Just remember to write down every site you are listed on and make sure to check up on your listings as least once a year to make sure that your info stays current and your links work.
Paid Listing and Ads
The only way to know if your ad is valuable is to track conversions (ie. click-throughs). The only way to do this is to give a website a try. If an advertiser is offering you an online listing or ad space for $$xx for one year ask for a 3 month trial at a 1/4 of the price or even better a free trial. If a trial is not an option and you choose to pay for one year, track your results carefully so that you can make an educated decision with your renewal.
1. You MUST have Google analytics (or another tracking tool) installed on your website.
2. Look at your website analytics for acquisitions, specifically referrals to see where your web traffic is coming from. For advertising purposes you want to see how many referrals a specific website has sent you in the last week/ month/ year and what percentage of that traffic is new users to your site.
In this example a paid listing service has referred 209 visitors and 85% of them were new. Twitter posts have referred 206 visitors during the same time period and 14% of them were new. We can now judge the per referral value of the paid listing.
3. Remember to calculate a per acquisition cost. A $25 listing or ad that generates 2 referrals is not better than a $100 listing that generates 6 referrals just because it is cheaper. To dig even deeper you can even measure how long the readers stay on your site from the various referral channels. Tracking is key.
4. Ask for bonuses. Many advertising companies are still slow to figure out that their social media platforms offer value to you even though many have large audiences. Ask for a post on their Facebook and Twitter pages even if they do not offer. Many will oblige.
In the age of online everything it is much easier to monitor the value of your paid advertising. Much easier than it was with print. So do your homework and make sure what you spend has true value to your business.
We, Jeff & Tara Ciecko of CK Golf Solutions write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other a Biz Blog where we comment on business best practices and give golf industry related opinions. We do not get paid for any of the blogs on our website. We are affiliates of a select few products listed on our resources page. Our 19th hole blog is the places we visit and the things we do because we want to. When we say that we like or dislike something or have a good or bad experience this is our opinion and the truth as we see it. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact us anytime.