Your website is part of what we collectively refer to as media for advertising, but only in the sense that it provides the detailed information to backup what is delivered using the traditional media of Television, Radio, and Print. We will later look at Social Media as an alternative (or complementary) way to draw traffic to your website. Without a website, traditional media have to carry a lot of extra information that is difficult to manage: it has a life of its own once it is published, and long past its “best before” date- not many people retain magazines with expensive advertising as future reference material, so it becomes necessary to repeat the advertisement in successive issues for impact.
Consider the appropriate media mix for your business (and above all take a hard look at the business case for using expensive media). It puts the cost of the website in a proper perspective, as you can publish detailed information and save yourself the cost of having to publish that same information via traditional media. You also have an opportunity to refresh the website content to keep it relevant: so long as you keep the same pages any existing external links that reference the content will continue to be valid. You do not have to cut parts of your commercial to reduce the cost of reruns to sustain a message, sometimes at the risk of corrupting the continuity of the presentation.
When you deal with traditional media they set the tone for the communication and you need to blend in to comply and/or complement the nature of the media. Later we will explain how you can create “landing pages” that are a bootstrap between external and media references and your website, so that you maintain complete control over how it blends with the traditional media or external references and (up and coming) the social media that are increasingly becoming the main sources of prospects.
This old stand-by is still kicking, but if you have ever visited an apartment building mail room you will notice that many flyers, even with coupons, end up in the recycling bin. It is difficult to say how much still delivers the message for the demographic that you are focusing on, although many businesses still print heavy flyers with grocery stores, home improvement stores, department stores, and big-box stores as the major contenders for this medium. Smaller advertisers often piggyback on the weekly distribution of a major store (often in a plastic wrapper to keep everything together: not very eco-friendly).
Coupons may also be distributed as hand-outs on street corners, and some malls offer a distribution center for flyers pertaining to local stores. It appears to be more difficult to get people to accept coupons: too often there are restrictions on the first 10 people to use the coupon getting the deal and everyone else paying full price, for example, which attaches the label “gimmick” to the distribution of coupons.
One of our challenges is how to bridge from a slip of paper to landing on a website that we are trying to promote. There is no close link – chances are that the slip of paper will be lost if people are rushed going through their mail (one reason for incorporating those coupons with a larger distribution).
Magazines have changed, but are still relevant: the main advantage is a longer shelf-life that keeps them around until they die in barbershops and doctors’ waiting rooms. You can place an advertisement, of course, but that can still be expensive: it has to be done professionally to meet the quality standards of the magazine, and even if the cast may be smaller, there are still lots of things that cost money. By comparison, a website is a real bargain, but how do we drive prospects from a magazine to your business without spending a small fortune in the process?
Magazines need content, so instead of an advertisement (or advertorial) we can write an article about the business, its products and services, and tie that into current affairs relevant to what you have to offer. You can find what is hot by scanning social media sites, and with Linked in (for example) you can actually engage in dialog to establish the appropriate association that may make for an interesting magazine article that could get published. Properly crafted, you (as the business owner) will be “interviewed” and as a result you need to be identified, as does your business with the appropriate website.
This strategy can be quite effective with niche magazines: you may even be approached to give permission to reprint valuable newsletter articles from your website, which will be easier to comply with if you structure the article for that purpose as we suggested: it is free advertising, even if the magazine needs to do a bit of editing – they may replace references to your store and instead publish a byline that refers to your store while the article itself takes on the air of an interview that props up the supposed involvement of the magazine editor to learn the information first hand.
Newspapers are still challenged by competition from other media, but the advantage is that many serve a well-defined demographic in a local area that may be of interest if you want to promote a store, for example. Unlike magazines that deal with all current affairs (and even in-depth after-the-fact analyses), newspapers deal with things that are about to happen, are happening, or have just happened. Well, basically, news!
The approach with newspapers is, therefore, to focus on announcements that impact on current news. You can be formal, and create a “Press Release” to make announcements about your company, such as the arrival of a new CEO, or signing the contract for a new store location, or the ribbon-cutting ceremony where local dignitaries come to the store, and so on.
You can also write articles, such as what you anticipate to be the economic impact of store openings in your community, or how that revitalizes the community, or attract people from other communities to come to your area. This is a little more difficult, and often it is most effective if you can link this kind of information as a “retort” to an earlier article that set the stage for your advertorial to explain how one way or another the problems can be alleviated by the products/services you have to sell.
Although the use of posters and billboards is also not a direct link to your website there is the element of repetition and name recognition that makes a difference. That is why you still see plenty of posters and billboards along the roads, in the transit system, on display columns in malls, in stores, to use the idea of repeat contacts with the message as an inducement to action. Unlike coupons, there is little risk that posters disappear at the moment they arrive into the prospects consciousness – in fact: they can seal that as a link in the consciousness for later activation.
With modern media it is easy to invite people to text, or tweet, in response to seeing the advertisement, because that is relatively non-committal compared to calling. Once you have their attention, you can text or tweet back with an offer and a reference to a website. Now the message is in their phone, clean and easy, and no chance to get lost unless it is explicitly deleted: compared to junk-mail, the term junk-tweet has not made appearances yet.
The sheer size of posters and billboards requires special equipment to produce. We do not do that ourselves, but we can certainly arrange for that to be done. Our job is what it takes to link the poster or billboard to the right media and on to your website landing page, from where the prospect can navigate to the relevant information. That needs to be planned and provisioned before you pursue the poster option: otherwise you lose a prospect just as quickly as you found them. Setting up a campaign requires planning as well as a carefully orchestrated implementation project.
Radio is another medium that has seen better days, and competition with other media has eroded the listener base. Still, radio can be very effective when you target people at work, or in traffic, or anywhere else where they can listen to the music and talk in the background without getting too distracted to carry on their primary objective. Radio stations have a more clearly defined target demographic that keeps them viable, and/or part of the community that you try to target as prospects for your business
Like TV, it is expensive to produce a professional advertisement, although not nearly to the level of a commercial film. Also like TV, there are opportunities to be invited as a guest on a talk show – unlike TV the overall atmosphere is more relaxed and you may be inclined to go yourself as the subject matter expert to be interviewed. Even if the idea of appearing on Radio still seems scary to you, it is easy to find a good representative – someone who wants to be on air, who knows how to speak and carry themselves, and who can actually be the intermediary between you and the TV station.
We may be able to find a candidate from a community college media program, for example, who relishes an opportunity to get their fame indirectly and, with that, a little push in the right direction for their future career. They will be a lot more reasonably priced than a celebrity representative.
The challenge with this medium is that the market is dominated by cable providers that offer so many channels that the amount of advertising you need to do for coverage of your market area is likely to be prohibitive. On top of that, your commercials have to be professionally produced, which is extremely expensive. A full-out campaign can easily set you back $10Million or more – way out of reach for a start-up company building a new website. But that does not mean the medium is ruled out: it means innovation.
One of the benefits of building a professional website is that it creates credibility for the company. Especially if what the company has to offer is innovative or original there are all kinds of talk shows (or similar shows) through different TV stations or cable providers that are always looking for something innovative or original to talk about. We can reach out and propose a topic for discussion that can bring attention to what you have to offer and where people can go for further detailed information – that would happen to be a website that clearly supports the information discussed in the TV appearance.
Even if the idea of appearing on TV seems scary to you, it is always easier to find a good representative – someone who wants to be in the public eye, who has an appearance that complements your image, who knows how to speak and carry themselves, and who can actually be the intermediary between you and the TV station. Where we might be able to find a candidate? Well, try a college media program, for example, and you will actually provide a lucky candidate with an opportunity to get their fame indirectly and, with that, a little push in the right direction for their future career. They will be a lot more reasonably priced than a celebrity representative.