Learn From Our MASA Ad Mistake


Our company made a marketing mistake.

I’m going to tell you about so you don’t repeat it.

We sell email marketing software to many schools and school districts. So we recently ran a print advertisement in the membership directory for the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA).

The ad included the address for our website designed specifically for schools and districts: k12.marketvolt.com.

In the same MASA directory, there’s an ad for the AdvancEd Improvement Network. Their ad also included a website address: advanc-ed.org/MASA.

We got our ad wrong. They got it right. Do you see it?

That web address — advanc-ed.org/MASA — redirects to their front page. They could have sent traffic to their site with the shorter “advanc-ed.org. But they added “/MASA” to the address?

Why? So they can measure whether the ad worked. When they review website traffic data, they can see exactly how many people landed on their site via advanc-ed.org/MASA.

I assume that address is unique to that ad. So they can measure exactly how many people landed on their site because of that ad.

We can’t measure our ad’s effectiveness because k12.marketvolt.com is not unique to our MASA ad. That address is on business cards, email signatures, trade show banners and other marketing pieces.

So we can count how many people reach our site by entering k12.marketvolt.com, but we have no idea whether they got their because of the MASA ad.

Sure, we can ask new prospects, “How’d you hear about us?” But that never generates meaningful data.

So when we debate whether to run an ad in next year’s MASA directory, we’ll be flying blind.

Shame on us, especially because we did not practice what we preach. For years, we’ve emphasized the importance of trackable URLs.

Print advertising still can work. But it works best when you can measure and test.

We blew it this time. And we’re not alone.

Advanc-Ed’s was the ONLY ad in the directory that is trackable. I recently paged through some local business journals and found ZERO ads with trackable links.

Creating a trackable web address is not difficult. Web developers can easily set a unique address — i.e. k12.MarketVolt.com/MASA — to redirect to any other page (such as the front page). WordPress and other web publishing systems include plugins to allow non-technical people to create redirects with ease.

Better yet, you can create a custom page for a given ad. Rather than redirect k12.marketvolt.com/MASA to our front page, we could create a specific page for our MASA audience. Trackable and more effective tailored content.

The thing we shouldn’t do, the thing you shouldn’t do: Put that generic link — www.oursite”.com — without trackability. If you can’t track it, you can’t know if it’s working. So you’re potentially throwing money down the drain.p.s. Many advertising reps for print publications. Hate this trackable link idea. These are the ad reps who don’t want you to measure traffic precisely. They fear you’ll conclude the ad didn’t work (and you’ll have the data to prove it). Don’t let them talk you out of customized links. It’s your ad, your link, and your business on the line.

p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP in the Content Transformation Academy: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Weekly masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

Want to get great content like this...

...delivered straight to your inbox?

Join our email list...

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Post Categories

Previous Post

Next Post

Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.

Leave a Comment