When you are placing ads in ezines or posting to newsgroups or leaving your sig file anywhere, you should be tracking effectiveness of your efforts. People have been tracking their advertising efforts since beginning of direct marketing. If you are a fan of tv infomercials, you would have noticed that when payment information is displayed, it always includes a particular Department number or instructs you to call a particular extension number. This tells advertiser where their customers and prospects are coming from. You can easily implement these tricks yourself so that you can determine what most cost effective methods of advertising are for you.
Here is a simple and free way to track your ads. Lets say you are running 3 ads for same product and placing those ads in 3 different ezines. The product is sold from one page on your website called: http://www.yourdomain.com/sales.html
If you had every ad point to that URL, you would never know which ad worked or which ezine brought in sales. Therefore, you could track your ads by doing this:
Place a question mark and some code at end of each URL. For example:
sales?ezine1 sales?ezine2 sales?ezine3
You can make code whatever you want as long as you remember which code you chose for particular ad. Just remember this does not only apply to ezine advertising, you could use this in your discussion forum posts or in your sig file or anywhere else that you choose to promote your site, both online and offline. I suggest keeping a record of which code matches which ad as it can be quite confusing keeping track of all your ads. For example, I use Microsoft Excel to keep a spreadsheet record of all of my advertising efforts.
Your webserver will not recognize question mark (?) code but your server logs will. This is key. People will all end up on same page (sales.html) but your logs will indicate sales that came from each unique ad. This will allow you to make an informed decision about which ezines to continue to place ads in and those that aren't worth your investment of time and money.