Believe it or not, an effective advertising campaign can result in a business owner losing money. That’s because not all effective advertising campaigns are implemented to increase profits based on the specific needs of the business. Understanding how to set qualitative and quantitative goals and measurements for advertising campaigns will help you create the most effective marketing efforts for your small business.

Goal Setting

The first step in creating an effective advertising campaign is to set specific goals for your advertising. Many small business advertising campaigns focus on promoting a particular product or sale. Your advertising goals should also include increasing brand awareness and preference with ongoing image advertising that doesn’t include information about a particular sale, feature or promotion. In addition to big-picture goals, each campaign should set numeric objectives for increasing sales, revenues and profits. For example, many small retailers get stuck with inventory they can’t sell, preventing them from buying new inventory that will turn a profit. An ad campaign that clears that inventory might result in a loss on those sales, but generates the exact amount of revenue the retailer needs to buy new inventory. Use sales reports, coupons and website statistics to get hard numbers about each campaign you run.


An ad is only effective if a consumer acts on it. Conventional advertising wisdom holds that you need to get your ad in front of consumers three times to get the optimal response rate because even people who are interested in your product or service don’t always act the first time they see your ad. To create more effective ad campaigns on a limited budget, run the same ad more times in fewer media choices, rather than running the ad once in five or six different print publications, websites or broadcast outlets.

Effective Messages

The most effective advertising doesn’t just grab a consumer’s attention, it helps her solve a problem or satisfy a desire. Automobile advertisers are well known for ad campaigns built around a benefit rather than a feature. You are more likely to pair certain autos with benefits such as safety, reliability and status than you are to link specific car brands with V-8 engines, extended warranties and heated leather seats. Build your ad campaigns around stopping consumers who are looking for a specific benefit you offer and convincing them you have what they want.

Ineffective Messages

Avoid making your product or service or a catchy or funny slogan the focal point of your ads. Focus groups of consumers often find that people remember catchy slogans or funny commercials, but don’t always remember the company or product. Take a look at ads you’ve run lately and see if your company name, phone number or website address are the largest graphic elements. If so, you are talking about yourself, not the customer. Ads that don’t focus on demonstrating a problem or need the consumer has, offering them a solution and telling them where they can get the solution, fail to trigger the chain of events that draw consumers into ads.