Tracing Advertising Results
( Originally Published 1898 )
It is a first rate rule never to do any advertising from which it would be impossible to trace any results.
There is a great deal of talk about the mystery of advertising and its uncertainty, but there really isn't any more mystery, or any more uncertainty about it than there is about any other business undertaking.
A grocer may buy a box of soap and shove it under the counter, and leave it there until it gets so hard as to to be utterly valueless. This same man can buy advertising space, and so use it that he will derive no benefit from it. There is no need of his wasting the soap or the advertising.
Run your advertising with the same common sense that you do the rest of your business, and there will be no guess work about it. It will pay every time and always, but do not buy space on bill boards ; do not buy little tin signs to tack up on back fences; do not hire some perambulating painter to disfigure the farmer's fences with your name and address. There is not one time in ten thousand that you can tell absolutely whether this kind of advertising pays or not. The chances are one hundred to one that it does not.
Put your hopes in the newspaper. Talk about some certain thing—and then get ready for the customers. If it is a good thing at the right price, and you have told about it plainly and forcibly, you will sell it—sure.
If your business isn't large enough to justify extensive advertising,better confine your work to the columns of the best paper in the town. It is a pretty sure thing that the best people in town—those whose trade is most desirable—are the ones who take the best paper. Its circulation is made up of the cream of the community, and you had better get all the trade you can out of that circulation before you turn to something else.