Advertising is one of the fastest ways to call attention to your business and drive traffic to your website. However, it can cost a significant amount in terms of time, money and effort, particularly if you want to get the best return on your investment (ROI).

The rules of advertising are changing rapidly in terms of online, but here are a few tried-and-tested ways to get better ROI.

Advertise Where Your Target Audience Spends Their Time

Do niche research to discover the places where your prospects spend the most time. It might be Facebook, YouTube, discussion boards, groups such as Facebook and Yahoo! groups, and so on. This will be like fishing in a well-stocked pond. You are bound to get a nibble.

If you have a budget, use pay-per-click ads to match your marketing campaigns to people you already know are interested in your topic. You can use Google AdWords, but it is expensive compared to other methods and can take a lot of time to master. A better choice might be Facebook and/or Twitter ads. They are even more highly targeted, offer different types of ads, and are cheaper. The system is also a lot easier to use.

Draw up a marketing persona: a biography of your typical customer, including age, gender, marital status, where they spend their free time, and so on.

Don’t Try to Do Too Much

Once you have your marketing persona, narrow down your marketing efforts to the ones that are most likely to produce results, and spend most of your time there tracking and testing. There are many marketing methods, both online and offline, so focus on what will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of time, money and effort.

Remember, just because social media marketing is free does not mean it costs nothing. Your time is valuable. You should pay yourself the minimum wage for all your activities. But of course, if you are doing low-level activities like this, chances are your schedule is so full, you won’t have time to work on tasks that will bring in even more money.

If you decide to hire someone to help you, you need to make sure you are getting enough ROI to pay their wages.

Time is money, so focus on just a few marketing methods. If a new marketing method emerges, test it to see if it is worth pursuing. If it doesn’t work, go back to your usual marketing mix. If terms of service change with one of your marketing methods, try to roll with the changes, or find alternatives.

You can’t control Google when it makes a change to your algorithm or terms of service, such as requiring all sites to be secure socket layer (SSL) sites, but you can be nimble and come up with strategies that will minimize the damage to your business.

Track and Test All the Time

A lot of people focus on traffic, but the truth is that conversion (that is, completed actions) is what gives you the return on your investment. Every time you create a new marketing campaign, track your results using Google Analytics. Create two special landing pages to help you spot the traffic coming from your marketing methods and what your conversion rates are like. See which version converts best. Keep that as the “control” and come up with a third version to test against. Find the winner and repeat. This process, termed A/B split testing, can be one of the best ways to boost your ROI.

Don’t Neglect Your Email Marketing Lists

Email marketing is one of the best ways to build a relationship with your target audience. Once they are on your list, treat them like royalty, with great content and special offers that will leave them eager for more.

These few tips should I hope, help improve your return on investment.

How to Improve Your Advertising ROI
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