Choosing an advertising media

We are often asked by our clients what advertising media should we use to promote our business? Simple. Use the one that is most influential and believable, and that comprehensively reaches the highest percentage of your target audience for the lowest cost. While there are a number of venues where you can promote your business, you need to ask three important questions:

  • Where are my target buyers?
  • What is the best medium to reach them?
  • Can I afford to launch an effective campaign using this medium?

The straight goods on Advertising

  1. Newspapers
  2. Magazines
  3. Television & Radio
  4. Directory Page Listings
  5. Direct Mail
  6. Make media sales reps work for you!

1. Newspapers

Pros: Newspapers are one of the traditional mediums used by businesses, both big and small alike, to advertise their businesses.

Cons: The decline became apparent in the eighties and nineties when the big corporations started snapping newspapers up and the focus of newspapers drifted away from news and moved toward profits. Newspapers, at their best, are a very personal enterprise. Corporations, especially ones that are big enough to buy a slew of newspapers, know nothing about passion. Seventy per cent of readers believe newspapers will be out of business in the next 10 years.

Ask yourself. Is the paper seen as an authority on issues related to your business? Do you advertise in the same newspaper as your competition is advertising in. Is it where most of your clients are looking for information. Do you need to associate yourself with the most authoritative or prestigious paper or magazine you can? If you need the prestige, then pay for it. Don’t waste your money advertising in the wrong place.

2. Magazines

Pros: Magazines are a more focused, albeit more expensive, alternative to newspaper advertising. This medium allows you to reach highly targeted audiences. Choose a magazine publication that caters to your specific audience or whose editorial content specializes in topics of interest to your audience.

Cons: Magazines are only one form of advertising, and while they can be a great asset, they are not the “be all and end all” in business marketing. Magazines are congested with heavy advertising clutter – often half of a magazine is advertising. They may also feature not so relevant editorial content, poor local coverage and can’t deliver your message with a high frequency.

Our advice see what works best for you, and go from there.

3. Television & Radio

Pros: Television and Radio are universal forms of advertising reaching large numbers of people on a national or regional level during the day or night, at home, at work, in the car and on mobile devices. Independent stations and cable companies offer new opportunities to pinpoint local audiences. The vast array of television and radio program formats offers to efficiently target your advertising dollars to narrowly defined segments of consumers most likely to respond to your offer.

Cons: Message is temporary, and may require multiple exposure for the ad to rise above the clutter and they cannot go back to your ads to go over important points. Preferred ad times are often sold out far in advance and most listeners are doing something else while listening, which means that your ad has to work hard to get their attention. These mediums are relatively expensive in terms of creative, production and airtime costs.

4. Directory Page Listings

Pros: There are several forms of Directory Pages that you can use to promote and advertise your business. Aside from the traditional Yellow Pages supplied by phone companies, you can also check out specialized directories targeted to specific markets, online interactive directories or consumer search databases.

Cons: Traditional directory pages supplied by phone companies can look cluttered, and your ad can easily get lost in the clutter. Your ad is placed together with all your competitors, limited creativity in the ads, given the need to follow a pre-determined format, and ads are slow to reflect market changes.

Printed directories are going the way of the Dodo bird. High production costs, distribution and environmental concerns are forcing Traditional Directories to go online. Try using free online interactive directories to promote your business rather than paying a fee for some online directory sites.

5. Direct Mail

Pros: Direct mail, often called direct marketing or direct response marketing, is a marketing technique in which the seller sends marketing messages directly to the buyer and is the highest response rate of all media.

Cons: Some people do not like receiving offers in their mail, and throw them immediately without even opening the mail. Producing direct mail materials entail the expense of using various professionals – copywriter, artists, photographers, printers, etc. Which can be expensive, depending on your target market, quality of your list and size of the campaign.

With the advent of the internet, RRS feeds, newsletters or registering to receive offers to your email account are growing. Small businesses can manage there own databases and advertise directly to their client base using companies like constant contact or other applications.

6. Make media sales reps work for you!

Media sales reps have lots of terminology and a lot of facts and figures. In fact, they know their market very well. But a bunch of advertising talk about brand awareness and ad awareness and attitude and purchase intent doesn’t matter. It’s sales that matter. Make the media reps prove that they are better than the next guy. Pick the credible media that delivers your specific target audience at the best price.

sources: the Guardian online, power home biz and my professional advertiser.