While it seems the economy is in the beginnings of a rebound, marketing budgets are still very tight. There might be a tendency to pull back on advertising in a down market, but there is value in continuing to advertise. And there are ways to make the most of your marketing dollars.
According to Advertising Age, about 50 percent of Americans subscribe to cable TV. Advertising on cable TV, especially local channels, is far less expensive than a national advertising campaign on any of the big networks. Depending on the network you choose to advertise on, the time of day you air your ad, and the area in which you live, you may be able to pay as little as $100 for a 30-second spot. Rates vary with the size of the audience, the time of year, and the channels you choose; but they can be surprisingly affordable for such a highly targeted audience.
The best part about advertising on cable TV is that you can easily target the market you want to reach. If you sell sporting goods, you can advertise on ESPN or its sister channels, which target college and high school sports. If you sell children’s toys and clothing, you can advertise on the Family Channel or Disney. If you sell crafting supplies, you can advertise on DIY and HGTV. The more targeted the audience, the more likely the return on your investment.
Most cable TV companies have media salespeople who will help you develop your campaign and create your commercial, so don’t hesitate to use their services to make the best ad you possibly can.
Wherever you go, you see people talking on their phones or tapping out text messages. Sales of cell phones and other mobile devices continue to grow. Estimates indicate that mobile marketing will grow from $708 million in overall revenue in 2009 to $2.2 billion in 2012, and many small businesses are jumping on the bandwagon. If your business appeals to younger demographics, creating ads that target this community can add sales to your bottom line.
Like cable TV, there are now companies that specialize in mobile phone marketing. You can sign up with them for a service where they text your advertisements to your clientele. This isn’t a general broadcast to all mobile phone users; your messages are sent to users who sign up to receive advertisements. Mobile phone marketers can target them by age, gender, location, and other demographics so your message reaches your desired market.
Advertising Age notes that online coupon sites were up 32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, and they continued growth through 2009. In addition, redemption rates are much higher for online coupons. Traditional coupons, the ones that are clipped out of the Sunday inserts or local newspapers, are usually redeemed at a rate of about 1 percent of the number sent out. Shoppers who receive online coupons, via e-mail or through a Web site, redeem at the far higher rate of 17 percent. To take advantage of these more active coupon users, start by asking clients for their e-mail addresses, explaining that you will be using them to send occasional notices of sales and coupons they can take advantage of.
There are coupon companies that will help you market your products and services to the right demographic. Or a simple e-mail program can help you send notices and printable coupons to your customers.
Determine the best way to deliver your advertising message to your customers. It may be one medium or a combination of several. The most important tip is to use the source, whether it’s online, mobile, cable TV, or something else, that targets your customer base.