Often when I meet with a local business owner to discuss their advertising, they’ll tell me how they’ve run ads in a direct mail piece that comes out monthly or quarterly (or something in between). Usually the piece features a lot of coupons from restaurants, drycleaners, tanning salons, etc.
Their hope is that the direct mail piece will drive them business because it gets delivered to a large number of households. And, ostensibly, their ad will be seen because many people look in such direct mail pieces for discounts and deals.
When they tell me about their results from this ad I can predict almost exactly what they’re going to say. “We got a decent response the first week or so but then it really died out after that” is typical of what they tell me. And, invariably they seem disappointed in the results because the response drops off so fast.
I think their disappointment is because the next mailing doesn’t come out for another six to eight weeks so they suffer a roller coaster effect if this is the only advertising they are doing.
If you own or manage a local, retail business, understand what you’re buying and how it fits your goals, when you buy advertising.
A big mailing that drops every couple months will give you a big impact all at once but you’ll have ups and downs in your new business flow.
You can smooth out that roller coaster by adding some repetition. Buy some low impact advertising that keeps your message out in the community all the time, day after day, week after week. This keeps your name and message in front of your potential customers on an ongoing basis. It fills the gaps that fall between your big direct mail drops.
Remember, with advertising you are buying exposure.
Think of it like buying a case of beer or soda. You can drink it all at once and then it’s gone and you go thirsty until next month. Or, you drink just one can a day and you get to enjoy it all month long (well, almost all month).
With most local businesses, a balanced combination of impact and repetition is the best way to meet their marketing goals. Keep this in mind as you consider your local advertising purchases.