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Want to Increase Sales? Don't Buy Ads.

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This story appears in the September 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Sure, you can buy sales. That’s what paid media is — it gives you access to a large audience and helps you test your messaging. But there’s a downside to it. Paid media can trick people into conflating sales with demand. It can also make entrepreneurs with smaller budgets feel like they have no shot at truly connecting with their audience.

I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. You can buy your way into sales, but you can’t buy your way into product-market fit — and that is the thing you should be most focused on.

A company that has achieved product-market fit (PMF) is likely doing great with sales, but that’s not to say PMF is about making money. It means what it sounds like — that your idea is in demand, and it changes people’s........

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