I just signed up for my first print advertising in a local magazine for one month. The salesman said there is a good chance I won't get a great response. He said I should be doing a full year and not to give up after the first month. Have any of you had success with one time advertising? I would happily do a year if it was going to pay for itself, but I am not sure if he just wanted to sell me more or if he is right.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor K:
One broad rule-of-thumb is that it will often take 3 hits to gain a potential customer's attention.
I have never been a fan of print media advertising - newspaper, magazine, etc., for several reasons. There is a tremendous amount of competition for eye-space; it is difficult (or very expensive) to make your ad stand out from all of the others on the same and other pages. I consider most print advertising, magazine, newspaper, Yellow Pages, etc. to be passive. Until the target of your advertising is already primed for your product or service, he or she tends to not see your ad.
I much prefer direct-mail. With this method, I know that my ad will be in those people's hands and that I will have their specific attention - if only for a few seconds - even if they had no prior thoughts about my product.
1) I can control and/or change my message, making it as short or as complete as I wish.
2) I can specifically target who will receive my message - by neighborhood, by city, by demographics, and more.
3) I can easily send different messages to different target audiences.
4) With a direct mail piece, I have confidence that, at a minimum, my message will be noted, and I also have confidence that the recipient will read at least a part, if not all, of my message. If I choose to do so, since I know who received my advertising piece, I can also do follow-ups. In media advertising, it is a much more passive process: I put out the ad and then wait to see if anyone calls me. If no one does call, I have no way of finding out why.
5) I can control the response volume, by controlling how many advertising pieces are mailed out in a given period. Could I handle 50, or would 5,000 inquiries cause all of my ongoing work to stop?
6) Another issue in making the decision is whether you are servicing a relatively local area or trying to reach a national audience.
I agree with contributor K about magazine, yellow pages, and newspaper ads. But companies are successful using them. My take is that they are marketing driven companies which means they have streamlined the product/service to very little customization. E.g. which of these 3 colors would you like? By doing this, it becomes easier to get someone else to do the work. They have to charge more to cover the marketing costs.
I don't know where your company is coming from. But the best bang for the buck is going to be to mail or email or both to your former customers every month. In general I think of broad advertising as a way to build up my list of people to mail to.
At the end of the day you just want to stay connected to your customers. Create goodwill, create your brand and position in the marketplace. This position is in your customer's mind.
I wouldn't spend any more money on advertising until you find out more about this. Don't feel too bad - we have all pissed away a boatload of money on advertising that didn't pull.
You have to think of this as a hat/job that you have to do, which is hard for most cabinetmakers. The problem is that these two hats are opposites in that as a cabinetmaker, you are trying to drive work out the door. A salesman is trying to drive work in the door. It is sort of like going down the freeway and putting the transmission into reverse - it is a hard thing to do until you have the machine (your business) built.
The older guys (which most of us are) on this forum will say word of mouth is all you need, but they had demographics and economic expansion filling their sails, this is not so much the case today.
If you only have the budget for one ad, there are more effective methods of attracting new clients. Google ad words and improving your website so you are more easily found by the types of customers who want your type of service are two that come to mind.
For cabinets I used to do the business section in the back of local small papers and it would always keep me busy. I tried that again recently but because of the electronic changes it did me absolutely no good. I had ads in 3 papers and only got one call. They ran for 3 months.
Part of the key to magazine advertising is to have a good website. If you don't have that, you will not get near as much response. And yes, it does take repetitive monthly adds to get noticed.