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When I first started Adepteo back in 2001 and I wanted to promote my business I did the thing that everybody did in those days. I advertised in a variety of local magazines and directories including BT, Thomson Local, Yellow Pages, Business Pages and a number of other smaller publications. I did this for a couple of years and on the second year I had adverts on the inside rear cover of the biggest directory in my area and adverts in 23 other directories covering the whole of the North West of England and North Wales. Virtually any area within 100 miles of my offices.
When I had a phone call from a potential customer I religiously asked them where they had found our details and if they new, it was generally from a "web search" or possibly Google. Nothing more detailed or helpful was available.
I believe that out of the many thousands of pounds that I spent on the advertising I received only a handful of phone calls. I had been promised that a tracking number would be inserted with the adverts in the 23 directories, but some how that got missed. Needless to say that I did not renew the advertising, but I also had no way of proving that I had not got any value from the money.
The salutory lesson that I learned from this is to make sure that I have a way of reliably tracking the return on the investment that I make, whether it is in the time and effort cost, or the monetary costs involved. Tracking numbers would not have saved me the first years money, but it would definately have saved me the second years money!