To ease your mind, all forms of advertising will
work as long as you use them correctly. Evidence of that is found in the
fact that the various types of media use each other to promote
themselves. You see radio and television stations advertised on bus cards and on
outdoor billboards, radio stations advertising themselves on television,
newspapers advertise themselves on outdoor billboards, and television programs
are listed in newspapers. And who doesn't know the name Monster.com? The Internet giant
built its name on television. Even with all of the Internet hoopla,
traditional advertising remains the best way to reach the most people.
That's why the dot com companies use traditional advertising to bring
people to their sites. And that's why, at least for now, you need
to do the same thing. For more information on the Internet and web
pages, please go to the bottom of this page.
When someone tells me that he or she had tried a
particular form of advertising and found that it didn't work, I know right away
that the problem is in the word "tried." You can't try radio or television or print. It will never work. As
I write in my book, this is not like wallpapering your guest bathroom yourself
to save a few bucks, or landscaping your yard a little each year. Once you start
advertising, you're in, and every penny counts. If you plan on running a few ads
and then disappearing, you might as well flush your money.
Radio: Each radio station has a very
specific audience to deliver. There may be thirty or forty radio stations in a
medium-size market and only four or five of them would do your business any
good. Each format (Talk, Rock, E-Z Listening, Country, Alternative, etc.)
carries a specific group of people, known as a demographic group. The groups are
broken down by gender: Male, Female, and Adults (includes both male and female),
and by age: 18-34, 18-49, 25-54, 50+
There may be more than one country station, or
more than one rock station in your market. You don't have to use the #1 station
if it's too expensive. As long as you use a station that reaches the audience
you need, you're not wasting your money.
Info will give you everything you need to know about any radio station
anywhere in the country. Once you get to the site, click on Radio
Network Television: (Non-cable stations)
While you buy radio station-by- station, you buy network television program-by-program. After all, on any given day, almost every demographic group in
existence can be reached on any network television station, you just have to
find the right programs. They all carry soaps, news, sports, movies, cartoons,
game shows, etc. -- so it doesn't really matter which network television station
you use. Yes, the ratings for news or soaps or any of the types of
programs I mentioned will be higher on one network than on another. But when
you're working with a small budget, you can go with the stations you can afford.
It's the group you're hitting that matters. If your budget is not large enough
to buy commercials on the #1 game show or the #1 news show, buy the #2 or #3
rated show. Just be sure the audience is the one you need to reach.
Cable Television: You buy cable
television the same way you buy radio - station by station. Cable's specific
programming (ESPN, LIFETIME, CNN, NICKELODEON, etc.) lets you select a station
where you are able to effectively buy less-expensive schedules called rotators
or total audience plans. These schedules run your commercials in
non-specific time slots, so the station can offer you a better rate. In other
words, instead of buying only news and sports-related shows on network
television, where each show had a specific price, you can let your commercials
wander during the day on CNN or ESPN, giving the stations flexibility in
scheduling you, which allows them to give you lower rates for the convenience.
You can often double the number of commercials you would otherwise be able to
run. Don't think you must rotate your schedule on cable, though. You can
select your station and then go in and choose specific programs that relate to
your product or service, and still get a nice rate.
Why can't you do this on Network Television?
Because if your customers watch news and sports, you don't want some of your
commercials falling into soap operas or cartoon shows, which they would do on a
rotator or total audience plan. Those dollars would be wasted. If, however, your
customers fall into more than one demographic group, you may be able to use
rotators and pay a lower rate.
Print: Newspapers, direct mail, Yellow
Pages, coupons, print takes in a lot. Specific publications reach specific
audiences just like radio and television. Most markets will have a daily and
weekly paper, shoppers, and the free publications known as alternative
newspapers. Print is the only form of advertising (I am speaking of newspapers,
magazines, and Yellow Page ads specifically) where someone can look at your
advertising and tell whether you are a large or a small company. If your 1/8
page ad runs across from a full page newspaper ad, or your small Yellow Page ad
runs on the same page with a huge competitor ad, a customer will look at the ads
and say "Here is a small company, and here is a big company."
This is not true in any other form of advertising. No matter what the size of a
company, they all have the same choice of using a :30 second or :60 second radio
or television ad, or one of three sizes available on outdoor billboards.
Like all advertising, the number of newspaper
ads you run and the size of those ads will be largely
determined by your budget. You can start small and target specific zip codes
with weekly papers, or with the "neighborhood specific" sections of
your daily paper, giving your budget a break while reaching your most
important customers. Always start advertising close to your locations and work
These complex topics cannot be fully explained
in this space. But they are covered, and easy to understand, in my book Advertising
Without an Agency. I not only tell you where to advertise, but how to go
about it. The book also contains worksheets for radio, television,
print, direct mail, and outdoor billboards that your media reps fill out, and
forms for tracking your advertising, copy writing, release forms, and many
gives you access to listings of every radio and television station,
every daily newspaper, including addresses and phone numbers, in the
country. Purchase lists separately or all-in-one.
Internet: If you don't have a web
site for your business, you need to get one as soon as possible. Even if
you're not interested in reaching people around the globe, and only
operate locally, your customers, or clients, likely surf the Net, and
you want them to see you there. It's a credibility builder, and it lets
them know you're on top of things. You can lead people to your site with
inexpensive two or three-line classified ads in daily or weekly
newspapers. Once they're at your site you have the space to give them
all the information you want them to have. The Internet is a great
investment, and a necessary one. If you can't afford a web design
company, use a computer-savvy teen. They're all around. If you don't
know one, call the local high school and ask for recommendations. My
16-year old son is my Web Master. I pay him, but it cost a whole lot
less than it would have if I had hired a company. And I've learned it's
not brain surgery. You can make changes to your site yourself
so that once the site is up and running, you don't always need to pay an
hourly rate to someone else to do it for you. Are there pitfalls to having
a professional person or company make your web site? Absolutely. Are
they avoidable? Yes - if you know what to watch for.
When I wrote this book,
there was not as much meaningful information on the Internet for small
business as there is today. The second edition of this book, which
contains a great deal about the Internet, is due out in June,