advertising effectiveness

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Rhys, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    I had an interesting experience today that flies in the face of what people on most internet forums claim.

    Most people on forums claim that advertising online is how they get most of their business. My question is of that business, how much is worthwhile and how much of that business is actually the majority of your income?

    As you all know, I have business cards and word of mouth working for me rather than just internet advertising. IMHO my website is where people go, having seen my other advertising.

    Anyway, today I needed to find the opening hours of one business - just to see if it was open today. I tried looking it up online and failed because I got the name wrong. I went straight to the yellow pages and found the number and the correct name having been able to look it up in the sections. I ignored the big adverts and looked solely at the one-line text and found it.

    That tells me that I'm right in my opinion about internet advertising being a red herring. Obviously now I'm going to look more into getting into the published yellow pages. Take my experience of craigslist as a typical experience of internet advertising.... of all the adverts I've placed over months on Craigslist, no responses have ever been worthwhile. Pretty much the same for my responses to Craigslist adverts - the advertisers have not been worthwhile. It underlines what people used to say about the internet - it's for entertainment not for serious business.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    eh? I don't get this.
    Even in Yellow Pages if you look up the wrong name you won't find it or get the wrong details - same as on the internet or in a book.
    I think though that the point you make is not "is the internet worth advertising on over real life advertising" but "effective advertising is worth more than non-effective advertising".
    Some people get lucky and the internet ads bring them money - others don't. Personally I think most people have ad blockers and/or just ignor most ads on sites these days anyway, but the internet is still a big tool for advertising to a very wide market and its just working out how to advertise effectivly which is the secret to making money (part of it at any rate)
     
  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Internet marketing is hardly a red herring. Since we seem to be in the habit of using fallacy nomenclature today, I'm just gonna go ahead and say you're making a straw-man argument.

    In any event, advertising online is no different that any other form of advertising. It's simply a matter of return on investment. For a lot of photographers this may not be worthwhile given the relatively high costs of maintaining an effective online advertising campaign (generally at least $100/mo). But when it works, it's worth every penny.
     
  4. *Mike*

    *Mike* TPF Noob!

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    When someone calls me b/c they found me by randomly going through the yellow pages, it's almost always a complete waste of time. They have no idea what I do, what my work looks like, or what I cost. The only useful thing about the phone book is that it makes it easier for past clients to find you again.

    Look at your own example. You were looking for info on a business you already knew of and intended to use. They didn't create a new customer from their listing. They facilitated the return of an existing customer. I have three phone books in my city. They are not cheap to list in. So, to have an ad in all three is actually very expensive advertising that generates few, if any, new customers. That said, obviously it's a no-brainer to take the free one-liner...

    As for online advertsing... eh. You have to track what works and what doesn't, and only pay for those things that give you a return. Craigslist? Yeah, it's free. But also, in most places, it's not where you find well-paying clients. It's often saturated with bottom-feeders, hacks, and customers looking for bargains.
     
  5. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    Advertising is a tough nut to crack. I'm wondering about a billboard.
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    On the upside, standard billboard resolution is 20-30dpi.
     
  7. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    I'm also making queries about radio and TV advertising. I bet more than half my enquires receive no response - that'd be typical. I find a lot of people who're in business don't actually want to do business.
     
  8. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    You have posted your marketing strategy that works for you. Every one has a different strategy. Not like one is better then another.

    Personally the yellow pages or billboards do not work for me. I harass art directors and editors and prey they look at my website. My biz is nothing without the internet and I am convinced that it is for serious deal beginnings. Sans Craigslist of course. Craigslist is simply not a place for anything legitimate.

    Love & Bass
     
  9. sfaust

    sfaust TPF Noob!

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    I agree with those that feel your argument is flawed based on the methodology you used. Thats not how people would be using the internet. Sure, people do use it to look up someone they already know, but also when they are looking for someone to fill a need.

    A more common use of the internet is a magazine editor in St Louis that needs to have a photograph taken of someone in Phoenix. They don't have a Phoenix area yellow pages number one, and don't have any photographers names. But they know they need a photographer in Phoenix, so the search is made for "Phoenix Photographers", and boom, they get list back all relevant to their specific need.

    The yellow pages works if the client is only looking those in their immediate area. But once you get out of the very small circle, people can't find you. That can be as small as a few miles away, well within a clients driving distance.

    For some reference, I spend about $4K a year on internet advertising. In return I pulled in $30K of new business from that expense. Some of those clients are one time, since their recurring photographic needs are very low. But one some others, the repeat business is much higher, making that $4K expenditure far more profitable than the numbers appear.

    In contrast, when I spent $1K on advertising during one year in the yellow pages, I got about 10 calls for weddings and portraits, even though the ad clearly showed commercial photography as my speciality (I only do commercial work). So it was a total waste of money for me.

    As mentioned, you really need to track your marketing in order to know what works, and what doesn't. If I did weddings or portraits, I might have been able to turn some of those 10 leads into work. But even if I got all 10 jobs, thats $100 per lead received. Not cost effective at all.

    The only yellow page reference I have now is the free 1 line listing. But even that is useless since none of my clients are in my local calling area, as most as in the Boston area 20 miles east of me.
     
  10. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    I should be in February's Yellow Pages. I have my website, business cards, advertising in some local offices and will be chatting to NPR on Thursday about drive-time advertising. I shall also be re-investigating advertising in local magazines.
     
  11. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Befpre spending a dime ask a couple of questions? Who is your target audience? What clients are you hoping to get? How much money do you need to be making?

    )'(
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  12. StillImage

    StillImage TPF Noob!

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    Different types of photography businesses require different types of marketing and some of that includes advertising. I imagine if you do weddings and portrait photography the yellow pages, local area papers may be worth investing in. Web advertising is pretty hit and miss depending on your target group. The only advertising I do is when I am at a business dinner, party etc. I hand out business cards, participate in exhibitions, my two websites and being given credit on my work that is printed in ads, brochures etc.. Those are what work for me. I get most of my work through referrals and repeat clients and networking. You need to look at who you want to target, look at different approaches and choose what you think will best suite your needs and find your target audience. Once you do advertise you need to find out how effective it is, offer a small discount if they mention an ad, lets you know who it is targeting if anyone. I think it is just better business than just asking where did you hear about us, from my perspective anyway.

    As for billboard advertising, I would not see it being overly beneficial unless you get more than one, or you get the sweet spot like the side of a highway. If it is not in a high traffic area it is just a waste of money in my opinion. Most advertisers I do shoot for take a series of strategically placed ads around a city. One is too forgetful and not enough to be a constant attack on one someones memory. If it is on a highway or a very busy main road it may be worth the investment but you would have to look at the cost compared to the expected business you may generate from it. Are you going to reach your target and will people see it often enough that it sticks in their memory. To get a good location is not cheap.

    Repetition is the best marketing, something seen as often as possible by the most people of your target group. Why I think it is not a bad idea to pay the extra and get an ad in a local paper then get one in the classified section of that paper if you can afford the extra cost. Look at all your options The more you can do the better, and the smaller the cost also the better.
     

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