by Megan Moyer for our “99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy” blog series

Investing in advertising for your store can be intimidating. It’s a substantial spend of money and the results you may get are unpredictable. While advertising is a marketing tactic that is meant to spread awareness by reaching a large number of people with your message, there are some action items you can add to better track the reach and effectiveness of your placement.

A popular way to see if your ad is being read and resonating is to include a clip-out coupon. You may get assistance with this from your wholesaler or a clip-out couponmanufacturer who can provide a product coupon to use, or you might have to come up with an offer that doesn’t involve a specific item. For instance you may offer 10% off the entire purchase, a free promotional item (such as a water bottle, travel mug, or shopping bag with your logo printed on it) with purchase, or perhaps a local supplier of items you carry in your store would work with you to provide a giveaway or discount on their products. That would be a win-win for you both. Not only does it get people into the store, it also would highlight and bring special attention to that product line.

The number of customers that bring in coupons will give some indication of how many people read the advertisement, but realize that it doesn’t mean that those are the only people that read the ad. There could be another set of people that read it but didn’t use the coupon perhaps because they couldn’t get to your store in the specified timeframe, or various other reasons. If the response didn’t live up to your hopes, try to be objective in determining if the advertising vehicle was a good fit versus the message resonating with the audience that reads that publication, timing, etc.

Advertising on the radio is another option. One way to measure a radio ad is to promote a sale that you are conducting over a set number of days and ask customers that take advantage of the sale whether they came in as a result of hearing the spot on the radio.

Get creative and change up the calls to action that you include in your advertisements as a way to measure their effectiveness. Try different response mechanisms to determine what works with your target audience as well as what brings in new customers to your store. With careful, measurable trials you’ll be able to determine the best medium to place your ads to generate your desired results.

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