A Short Guide to Advertising
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
APPENDIX: INFORMATION RESOURCES
A wise man once said, "The person who saves money by not advertising is like the man who stops the clock to save time." In today’s fast-paced, high-tech age, businesses must use some form of advertising to make prospects aware of their products and services.
Even a famous company like Coca-Cola continually spends money on advertising to support recognition of their products. In 1993, Coca-Cola spent more than $150 million to keep its name in the forefront of the public’s eye. So the question isn’t whether or not you can afford to advertise, you simply must if you want your business to succeed.
Some questions you should consider before buying ads are:
When it comes to advertising, a lot of people really don’t know what they want, where to get it or what to do with it after they have it. This publication will help you learn to determine what type of advertising media is best for you. It also provides guidelines you can use to obtain the advertising exposure you need and win help you identify ways to make your advertising more cost efficient.
Advertising is an investment in your business’ future. And, like any investment, it’s important to find out as much as you can before you make a decision. You’ll be able to use this publication often as a reliable reference toot in the months and years to come.
Every advertising medium has characteristics that give it natural advantages and limitations. As you look through your newspaper(s), you’ll notice some businesses that advertise regularly. Observe who they are and how they advertise their products and services. More than likely, their advertising investment is working if it’s selling!
Almost every home in the United States receives a newspaper, either by newsstand or home delivery. Reading the newspaper is a habit for most families. And, there is something for everybody -- sports, comics, crosswords, news, classifieds, etc. You can reach certain types of people by placing your ad in different sections of the paper. People expect advertising in the newspaper. In fact, many people buy the paper just to read the ads from the supermarket, movies or department stores.
Unlike advertising on TV and radio, advertising in the newspaper can be examined at your leisure. A newspaper ad can contain details, such as prices and telephone numbers or coupons.
There are many advantages to advertising in the newspaper. From the advertiser’s point-of-view, newspaper advertising can be convenient because production changes can be made quickly, if necessary, and you can often insert a new advertisement on short notice. Another advantage is the large variety of ad sizes newspaper advertising offers. Even though you may not have a lot of money in your budget, you can still place a series of small ads, without making a sacrifice.
Some Disadvantages with Newspaper Advertising
Advertising in the newspaper offers many advantages, but it is not without its inherent disadvantages, such as:
How Should I Work with my Newspaper Representative?
Every newspaper has its own sales staff, and you’re normally given a personal newspaper "sales representative." A newspaper sales rep can be very helpful. He or she can keep you posted on special sections or promotions that may apply to your business, but always keep in mind it is the sales rep’s job to sell you advertising.
Your sales rep might say that the newspaper can lay out any of your ads, pre-prepared or not. But these ads are assembly line products and are not often very creative or eye-catching. Consider using an artist or agency for your ads.
In addition, your sales rep can sometimes be instrumental in making sure your story or upcoming an-nouncement "finds" the right reporter because the relationship between the advertising and editorial staff is chummier than most people think, despite claims of total independence.
Buying Newspaper Advertising Space
Since the Expanded Standard Advertising Unit System was adopted back in 1984, it is now easier to buy advertising space in newspapers. Advertising is sold by column and inch, instead of just line rates. You can determine the size ad you want just by looking in the newspaper in which you want to advertise. If you can’t locate an ad that’s the size you want, just measure the columns across and the inches down. For example, an ad that measures 3 columns across and 7 inches down would be a 21-inch ad. If the inch rate is $45.67, your ad will cost $959.07. In case your newspaper is still on the line rate system, remember there are 14 lines to an inch. So, if the line rate is $3.75, multiply it by 14 and you will have the cost of an inch rate. (The rate would be $45.50 an inch.)
Here are some other things to remember:
Other important tips to remember are:
Many of the same "print" principles which apply to newspaper advertising also apply to magazine advertising. The biggest differences are:
The general rule that you can run the same ad 3-5 times within a campaign period before its appeal lessens applies to magazine advertising as well, even with a monthly publication. So it makes sense to spend extra time and money to prepare a worthwhile ad that can be successfully repeated.
Over long terms such as these, however, be aware that the client (you) often tires of the ad before the audience does.
Because ads in magazines are not immediate, they take more planning. Often, an ad for a monthly magazine must be prepared at least a month in advance of publication, so ads detailing prices and items must be carefully crafted to ensure accuracy.
Since the quality of the magazines are superior, the advertising that you generate must be superior as well. Negatives are usually required instead of prints or "PMTs" (photo-mechanical transfers). Consider obtaining assistance from a graphic artist or an advertising agency.
There are two categories of magazines: trade magazines and consumer magazines. Trade magazines are publications that go to certain types of businesses, services and industries. Consumer magazines are generally the kind you find on the average newsstand. Investigate which type would do your business the most good.
An agency can also purchase the magazine space for you, often at no charge, because the magazine pays the agency a commission directly. If you wish to purchase the advertising yourself, contact the magazine directly and ask for an "Ad Kit" or "Media Package." They will send you a folder that includes demographic information, reach information, a current rate card and a sample of the publication.
Although most magazines are national in nature, many have regional advertising sections that allow your business to look like it purchased a national ad when it only went to a certain geographical area. This can be especially useful if your product or service is regional in nature as well and could not benefit from the magazine’s complete readership. Each magazine does this differently, so contact the one(s) you are interested in and ask them about their geographic editions. Some sophisticated magazines even have demographic editions available, which might also be advantageous.
Since its inception, radio has become an integral part of American culture. In some way, it touches the lives of almost everyone, every day. Radio, as a medium, offers a form of entertainment that attracts listeners while they are working, traveling, relaxing or doing almost anything. A farmer, for example, may listen to the radio while he is having breakfast or plowing his field. People driving to work often listen to the radio. Radio offers information such as: news, weather reports, traffic conditions, advertising and music for your listening pleasure.
What Are Some of the Good Things About Radio?
Radio is a relatively inexpensive way of reaching people. It has often been called the "theater of the mind" because voices or sounds can be used to create moods or images that, if crested by visual effects, would be impossible to afford.
You can also negotiate rates for your commercials, or even barter. Stations are often looking for prizes they can give away to listeners, so it’s possible to get full commercial credit for the product or service you offer.
Advantages to radio advertising include:
! The ability to easily change and update scripts are paramount to radio broadcasting, since news stories can and often do happen live.
! Radio is a personal advertising medium. Station personalities have a good rapport with their listeners. If a radio personality announces your commercial, it’s almost an implied endorsement.
! Radio is also a way to support your printed advertising. You can say in your commercial, "See our ad in the Sunday Times," which makes your message twice as effective.
What Are Some Limitations to Radio Advertising?
Radio advertising is not without its disadvantages too, such as:
How Should I Buy Time on the Radio?
Like a newspaper, each radio station has its own advertising staff. Each wants you to believe that their station is the absolute best buy for your money ... and many will go to great lengths to prove it. But if you’ve done your research, or you are using an advertising agency, you probably have a good idea of the station you want to buy time on and when. If you don’t know which stations you want to use, ask each station for its own research, that is, the type of programming, musical format, geographic reach, number of listeners and station ratings.
By getting the station ratings and the number of people it reaches, you can figure out the cost-per-thousand people (CPM) by simply dividing the cost of a commercial by the thousands of people you are reaching.
Without getting complicated, here are two cardinal rules for radio advertising:
A lot of radio sales reps will try to talk you out of advertising during specific times. They’ll offer you a reduced rate called TAP (Total Audience Plan) that splits your advertising time into 1/3 drive, 1/3 mid-day and 1/3 night. This may sound like a good deal, but airing commercials during times when your audience isn’t listening is bad advertising. If however, you are sponsoring a show such as Paul Harvey or the Morning Farm Report, it makes sense to advertise once or twice a day on a regular basis, since those programs have regular listenership. Frequency is a vital element for effective radio advertising.
Since you can’t automatically recall the radio commercial and hear it again, you may hear the same commercial two, four, or maybe six times before the message sinks in. If you missed the address the first time, you consciously or subconsciously are hoping the commercial will be aired again so you can get the information you need. That’s the way radio advertising works. And that’s also the way you buy it.
Most of the time, radio advertising should be bought in chunks. High frequency over a short period of time is much more effective than low frequency over a longer period of time. It’s important for your audience to hear your spot again to get more information out of it. For example, if you wanted a two-week advertising campaign and you could afford 42 radio commercials, the following buy would serve you well: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, place three spots between 7-9 a.m. and four spots between 3-6 p.m. for two weeks. Notice that both day and hour periods are concentrated.
By advertising in concentrated areas in tight day groups, you give the impression of being larger than you really are. And, people hearing your concentrated campaign for two or three days will think you’re on all the time. The radio sales reps may try to sell you three spots every day on the station for 14 days (a total of 42 spots). But your campaign won’t be nearly as effective.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your commercials:
If you decide to write your own radio scripts, remember these basic copy writing rules:
Television is often called "king" of the advertising media, since a majority of people spend more hours watching TV per day than paying attention to any other medium. It combines the use of sight, color, sound and motion ... and it works. TV has proven its persuasive power in influenc-ing human behavior time and time again. But it’s also the "king" of advertising costs.
Advantages in Television Advertising
Television reaches very large audiences -- audiences that are usually larger than the audience your city’s newspaper reaches. The area that a television station’s broadcast signal covers is called A.D.I., which stands for "Area of Dominant Influence."
Some advantages of television advertising include the following:
Disadvantages in Television Advertising
Because TV has such a larger ADI, the stations can charge more for commercials based on the larger number of viewers reached. The cost of television commercial time is based on two variables:
One 30-second television commercial during prime time viewing (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) can cost 10 to 30 times more than one radio spot during drive time (which is considered prime listening time).
While the newspaper may cover the city’s general metropolitan area, TV may cover a good portion of the state where you live. If such a coverage blankets most of your sales territory, TV advertising may be the best advertising alternative for your business.
Producing a commercial is also an important variable to consider. On the whole, television audiences have become more sophisticated and have come to expect quality commercials. A poorly produced commercial could severely limit the effectiveness of your message, and may even create a bad image in your customer’s mind.
Advertising agencies or TV commercial production facilities are the best organizations for creating a commercial that will be effective for the goods or service you are offering. But the cost of a well-produced commercial is often more expensive than people think. Some TV stations will claim they can put together commercials for "almost nothing." Before agreeing to this, find out what "almost nothing" means. Then, determine if the commercial quality and content they are proposing will represent your firm’s image.
Many companies use the station’s commercial production facilities for creating "tag lines" on pre-produced commercials. Often, the station will help you personalize the spot for little or no cost ... if you advertise with them. Remember, more than anything else, when it comes to making a TV commercial, you get what you pay for. And, when you’re buying commercial time for one 30-second TV spot costing from $600 to $1,200, it makes sense to have the best sales presentation possible.
Remember, like radio, the message comes and goes ... and that’s it. The viewer doesn’t see your commercial again unless you buy more placements.
Creativity: A Vital Element
When you advertise on TV, your commercial is not only competing with other commercials, it’s also competing with the other elements in the viewer’s environment as well.
The viewer may choose to get a snack during the commercial break, go to the bathroom or have a conversation about what they just saw on the show they were viewing. Even if your commercial is being aired, viewers may never see it unless it is creative enough to capture their attention. That’s why it’s so important to consider the kind of commercial you are going to create ... and how you want your audience to be affected. Spending money on a good commercial in the beginning will pay dividends in the end.
Don’t Use TV Unless Your Budget Allows
Attempting to use TV advertising by using a poorly-produced commercial, buying inexpensive late night commercial time that few people watch or just placing your commercial a couple times on the air will guarantee disappointing results. To obtain positive results from TV advertising you must have enough money in your budget to:
Properly done, television advertising is the most effective medium there is. But it is big league advertising ... and you shouldn’t attempt it unless you have enough money in your budget to do it right.
If you’re still attracted to TV, it’s a good idea to call in an advertising agency for production and media buying estimates. Then, figure out what sales results you can expect. With such data, you should be able to reach a logical advertising decision.
Buying Television Advertising Time
There are many things to know and consider before buying a TV programming schedule. That’s why, in most cases, using an advertising agency or a media buying service is recommended when advertising on TV. If these services are unavailable, find a TV representative that you can trust. Your agency or representative can help you select the programs you should advertise on in order to reach your market. Also, ask about "fringe" time, adjacencies and package plans.
When you are engineering your schedule, remember that repetition (or frequency) is a very important ingredient to use. Make sure your audience sees your commercial with the context of the programs you’re buying. Ask for a commercial affidavit. Normally, it doesn’t cost any more and the station will provide you with a list of the exact times your commercial was ran.
For an effective and inexpensive way to get your message on the TV screen, consider using pre-prepared TV commercials that may be available to you through a manufacture or distributor you deal with. You can add your name and logo to the end of the commercial for little or no cost. Look at cooperative advertising too. Many companies offer prepared advertising materials you can use and at the same time may pay for a portion of the advertising schedule.
Cable advertising is a lower cost alternative to advertising on broadcast television. It has many of the same qualities as broadcast television and, in fact, since it offers more programming, it’s even easier to reach a designated audience.
The trouble with cable is that it doesn’t reach everyone in the market area, since the signal is wired rather than broadcast and, also, because not everyone subscribes to cable.
If cable does reach a large part of your market, have an advertising agency investigate its cost or call the cable company’s advertising sales department. Chances are the cable commercial time will be 10 to 20 percent of the costs of regular broadcast time.
Telephone book advertising is another way to reach your market area. It allows you to place your business listing or ad in selected classifications within the book, with the theory being that when people need your product or service, they will look up the classification and contact you.
Much of the "sell" copy for a product or service, therefore, is not needed in your ad content, since the people who have looked up your classification are already in the market to buy. What you must be aware of when you write the ad is the other firms’ ads within your classification. In other words, why should the reader select your firm over your competition? That is the crucial question -- and your ad should provide the answer.
Telephone Yellow Pages salespeople often employ the technique of selling as large an ad as possible to one company, then showing the other companies in the same classification what the one company is doing so that they can match it or beat it. This is not the best criteria for determining ad size, but is definitely good for the ad salesperson.
To determine the size you should use, consider the following:
Do something unique or different. If no one else is using color, use color. Even shades of gray can make an ad look better and more appealing.
Advantages of Yellow Pages Advertising
Disadvantages of Yellow Pages Advertising
If you require more than one classification, your Yellow Pages representative often has packages and programs that can save you some money. In addition, the same is often true if you need to be advertising in more than one city or market.
Yellow Pages advertising is an important medium to consider in our fast-paced, information-hungry society. People really do let their "fingers do the walking" instead of driving around blindly. Make sure your Yellow Pages ad is attractive and informative enough to be the one or two businesses the prospect actually does select to call. And then make sure you have the resources to deal with the inquiry. After all, there is nothing more annoying than being put "on -hold" by a busy receptionist or being served by an uninterested or unknowledgeable employee.
When people think of outdoor advertising, they usually think of the colorful billboards along our streets and highways. Included in the "outdoor" classification, however, are benches, posters, signs and transit advertising (the advertising on buses, subways, taxicabs and trains). They all share similar advertising rules and methods.
Outdoor advertising reaches its audience as an element of the environment. Unlike newspaper, radio or TV, it doesn’t need to be invited into the home. And, it doesn’t provide entertainment to sustain its audience.
Some Outdoor Advantages
Some Outdoor Disadvantages
When you buy outdoor advertising, remember that location is everything. High traffic areas are ideal. A billboard in an undesirable area will do you little good. Keep your message concise (use only five to seven words) and make it creatively appealing to attract readership. Few words, large illustrations (or photos), bold colors and simple backgrounds will create the most effective outdoor advertising messages.
What makes "direct" mail different than regular mail? Nothing. It’s just a way the advertising world describes a promotional message that circumvents traditional media (newspaper, radio, TV) and appeals directly to an individual consumer. Usually through the mail, but other carriers also participate.
Direct mail may be used more than you think. Studies indicate that it is the third largest media expenditure behind television and newspaper.
Rules to Remember
The blessing (or curse) of direct mail is that there are no set rules for form or content. The task of deciding what your mailing should have as content, its design and its message(s) is up to you. However, remember to attract the reader’s attention with color and creativity. Use clear, comfortable writing and make your appeal easy to respond.
And, of course, coordinate the mailing with other advertising media if you are also using them in the same campaign. It can significantly increase the potential return.
"Giveaways" -- the pencils, pens, buttons, calendars and refrigerator magnets you see everyday -- are called "specialty advertising" in the trade.
Chances are, you have some specialty advertising items right at your desk. Businesses imprint their name on items and give them away (or sometimes sell them at very low cost) in order that:
These are both long-term advertising investments that can take months or years to turn into actual sales.
First, select the best item that will tell your story most effectively. While an accountant can give away an inexpensive calculator, the same item may not be ideal for a hairdresser. A comb or brush might be more appropriate in that case.
Second, decide what you are going to say on the item. A company slogan? Address directions? Since you have a relatively small area, you must be very concise and direct.
Third, figure out your method of distribution. Are you going to send them to each customer through the mail? If so, how much will that cost? Will you have them in a big bowl that says "take one"? Distribution is just as important to consider as buying the item.
Just as there are many reputable specialty advertising professionals in your area, the industry is notorious with a lot of high-pressure telephone and mail solicitors who often give specialty advertising a bad name. Don’t buy specialty advertising through the mail without checking the quality and prices with trusted local representatives first. And, buying specialty advertising over the telephone is not recommended at all.
Specialty advertising is a unique way to generate goodwill and put your name on items that people remember. But don’t do it unless you have an item and distribution plan that will benefit your business.
There is no one -- sure-fire -- best way to advertise your product or service. It is important to explore the various advertising media and select those which will most effectively convey your message to your customers in a cost-efficient manner.
Always remember, advertising is an investment in the future of your business.
APPENDIX: INFORMATION RESOURCES
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA offers an extensive selection of information on most business management topics, from how to start a business to exporting your products.
SBA has offices throughout the country. Consult the U.S. Government section in your telephone directory for the office nearest you. SBA offers a number of programs and services, including training and educational programs, counseling services, financial programs and contract assistance. Ask about
For more information about SBA business development programs and services call the SBA Small Business Answer Desk at 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (827-5722) or visit our website, www.sba.gov.
Other U.S. Government Resources
Many publications on business management and other related topics are available from the Government Printing Office (GPO). GPO bookstores are located in 24 major cities and are listed in the Yellow Pages under the bookstore heading. Find a “Catalog of Government Publications at http://catalog.gpo.gov/F
Many federal agencies offer Websites and publications of interest to small businesses. There is a nominal fee for some, but most are free. Below is a selected list of government agencies that provide publications and other services targeted to small businesses. To get their publications, contact the regional offices listed in the telephone directory or write to the addresses below:
Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC)
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
U.S. Department of Treasury
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
For More Information
A librarian can help you locate the specific information you need in reference books. Most libraries have a variety of directories, indexes and encyclopedias that cover many business topics. They also have other resources, such as
In addition to books and magazines, many libraries offer free workshops, free access to computers and the Internet, lend skill-building tapes and have catalogues and brochures describing continuing education opportunities.
Published - July 2011
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