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How to improve your advertising results

by Jim Connolly

In today’s retail marketing article, I’d like to share an extremely valuable idea with you. Not only can this help save you money on ineffective marketing, it can also help you massively improve your response rates.  It’s all about understanding the difference between the numbers that matter when it comes to advertising, and the numbers that don’t. 

Allow me to explain. 

The thing about numbers

Most small business owners buy their advertising based on the number of people the advertiser claims their message will reach. In fact, many large businesses make the same mistake! For example, when they buy advertising from websites, the cost of the ad is often based on the number of times the webpage containing the ad is accessed by someone.

On the surface it seems to make sense: Surely an advertisement that reaches 10,000 people will provide a better return than one, which only reaches 1000 people. The reality is that this is not the case. 

It’s not about how many people have the potential to see your advertisement, it’s about who those people are!

Here’s an example of what I mean

One of my readers recently contacted me to tell me that she had placed an ad for her store in a newsletter, which was sent to 125,000 people. The ad cost less than $500 and she was convinced it was money well spent, even though the readership of the newsletter wasn’t a perfect fit for her business. The advertisement failed to generate a single sale or useful enquiry. It attracted just nine replies, seven of which were from people who saw her ad and wanted her to advertise their newsletter! Like many business owners, she made the mistake of being seduced by the numbers. She focused on the number of people her advertisement was being sent to, rather than who those people were. The lesson here is simple: Before you make a decision where to advertise, ask for information on what kind of audience the person offering the advertising can provide you with.

This will help.

How to make better advertising decisions

Here are a few things to consider before deciding if an advertising opportunity is right for you: Does the advertising you are being offered reach the geographical area, where your store or stores are located? 

For example: If a local radio station claims to have 100,000 listeners, but only 3000 are based within a reasonable distance of your store, your paying to reach 97,000 totally unsuitable people. Either negotiate a better deal because so few of their listeners are in your area or find a better alternative. Look for advertisers who cover your geographical area.

Does the publication, website, radio station, etc, offering you the advertising, have a readership, which is the same age as your typical customer? 

For example: If the products in your store are aimed at people aged between 18 and 40, yet the publication offering advertising has a readership, which is mainly aged 35 to 65, the majority of their readers are likely to be of little value to you. Look for advertisers who provide you with access to people of the right age range for your store.

Does the advertising you are being offered, reach people in the correct income bracket for your store? 

If your store is aimed at people in the middle-income bracket, there’s little value in paying to advertise to people, in the low-income bracket. Advertisers can usually provide you with a breakdown of the income range of their audience. Make sure their audience is a good fit, before you spend a dime. 

The people who sell you the ads

Advertising salespeople are among the most professional and highly trained salespeople out there. At their best, they will work hard to provide you with the best options available and they will steer you away from advertising, which is unsuitable for you. At their worst, they will sell you anything in order to earn a commission—and they can be extremely convincing. You will need to use your business smarts, to determine which type of advertising salesperson you’re dealing with. Advertising is a huge subject and this brief article has only touched upon one element of it. I strongly advise retailers to make it a point to study advertising, as it can be a fantastic asset to your business, or a waste of time and money, depending on how you use it.


I hope you found this information useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with it.

Remember to check out all the other free retail marketing resources we have available for you here on the CTS Wholesale Sunglasses website. There’s a list of them here. If you have any specific questions, simply click here.