I recently had a phone conversation with a client and he was trying to decide if he should continue to advertise in superpages.com, yellowpages.com, etc. I said, well, that’s easy, how’s it working for you? His answer was, “I have no idea.” This is a common response from most businesses when it comes to spending money on the Internet and, candidly, it baffles me. It should be EASIER to measure on the web than in the offline world and yet, we continue to PAY and PRAY.

I advised my client to have another conversation with the yellow pages rep and talk conversions. A conversion is the only thing he should care about and the only deciding factor on whether or not he should continue that advertising agreement. A conversion may not be a sale by the way. For him, he’s not going to sell carpet cleaning contracts from the web – he gets those on the phone. So in his case, a conversion is someone calling him on the phone. But that shouldn’t stop him from being able to track his conversions. He can offer a a special code on the ad so that people are incentivized to mention that code and let him know where they came from. He can also advertise a special phone number on that ad so he knows when they call, it came from that ad. However he does it, the rep from these companies should be fully aware of the importance of that stat and help him decide the best way to track conversions. If that rep continues to talk “impressions” and “click-throughs” that to me still falls under the category of Paying and Praying and I might suggest looking at other options.

By the way, this can also benefit the advertising company as well. If he’s paying $2,000 a month and they are able to track sales of $5,000 a month, I might suggest he not only continue working with them, but up his impressions or size of the ad!

The bottom line- find a way to measure conversions in any Internet strategy you use and you’ll avoid the dreaded Pay and Pray strategy that is dragging down so many small businesses.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this or if you’ve had an experience like the one I mentioned above.

To your success,

Corey Perlman

ps. check out www.eBootCampUniversity – a place for you to learn and build your social media strategy at your pace!