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It pays when you do your research

The next "wave" of advertising (should you call it that) is going to occur for my biz relatively soon. I've been doing a lot of research on advertising lately, which included several phone calls, e-mails and so on. This is what I've found out.

Concerning print:

Newspapers, while powerful, will positively rape you on cost. It's no wonder they have shiny offices with nice furniture in them. These guys make a mint and a half. Just recently I got a cost quote for the "A" section for large newspaper in Maine. The cost for an itty bitty ad is almost $10,000.00 a month -- and here's the kicker: You might get in the "A" section. There's no guarantee. Would you pay 10k for something that might happen? Neither would I. How can you expect to make 10k back in only a month unless you're selling high-ticket items?

Concerning magazines, I would love to speak with anyone who has actually had a magazine ad work for them. From what I can tell, you have to pour out cash like soup for many months to get any kind of response whatsoever. Like newspaper companies, magazine companies also have nice big shiny offices too. This is because they charge an arm and a leg just like the 'papers. I once got a quote for a back cover, it was $25,000. No joke. And that was for a smaller magazine.

A while ago I looked at billboard advertising. Of course, this type of advertising all depends on location. If you're going to use billboards, you have to pick one that's in a high-traffic area, like Boston for example. You will spend tens of thousands of dollars for a single billboard run, but, in my estimation there is a much higher probability you will get back when you put into it. However, I don't have tens of thousands of dollars to spend.. (du-huh..) I also don't feel like going on a waiting list for a billboard, either.

I also looked at large-print advertising on buses. There is the "king" side, "queen" side, and the back of the bus. The back of the bus is what you want, simply because that's the part of the bus most people look at. Once again, this costs tens of thousands of dollars for a single bus, but, your ad does move and is shown in a lot of places. The drawback is that your ad will only show up for about 3 months on average. Oh, and I should say that you can also advertise on the inside of the bus. I forget what the terminology for that kind of print ad is.. but it's available.

Concerning television:

I'm going to give away a few of my trade secrets here since I used to buy/sell television ad time, take notes. (grin)

A few things to bear in mind concerning television advertising.

* Instant gratification does not exist. There are those who would foolishly believe that as soon as you advertise something on television, people will instantly buy it. Wrong. Very wrong. An unofficial statistic is that someone will have to see your ad a minimum (repeat, minimum) of six times before they even consider buying it. Don't be told otherwise, because anything else you've heard just isn't true. If you think that "impulse buyers" would even think about buying your stuff, think again. Some people say "Well, there are people on QVC who impulse buy stuff all the time". Yeah, ON QVC - not from regular television. If your goal is to target impulse buyers, then you should get your product on QVC. (duh!)

* Short-run advertising campaigns do not work for new products and/or retail establishments. This is because the exposure level is way too low. Waaaaay to low. What is a short-run campaign? 13 weeks. And yes, that's short. No one will ever remember you in 3 months. A long campaign is six months or more. If you want to promote proper business exposure you will need a minimum of at least six months of advertising. And yeah, it will cost you a crapload of money.

Is there a solution to this conundrum? Yep. The answer is cheap late-night advertising on cable television. I happen to know places in the United States that sell cable television advertising for less than 50 cents per 30-second slot. That's $350 for 700 ads per month. Span that over six months and you got a total cost of $2100. Bear in mind that's 4200 ad showings. You want ROI? That's ROI. Unless your product totally sucks, anyone can sell something if it's shown 4200 times. (hehe)

Small side note: To those whose ears just perked up from reading that, you can contact me and I can set that up for you. I charge 20% finder's fee. Do the math. It's still dirt cheap. (grin)

Concerning print (again):

So anyway, concerning my biz, the service I provide doesn't sell well on television, so it's back to print again. My target is going to be a "trade" magazine this time. I think this might just work. Trade mags have very high readership. They also have wide distribution. The best part: Advertising is cheap. I've discovered (or actually rediscovered) a trade mag up north which I'll be getting in the mail in a few days. If I like what I see, I can get 12 weeks (three months) of good advertising for... (drum roll..) 200 bucks.

I don't think it gets any better than that, so I may give it a go.

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