Advertising Pros & Cons

Nathan Chilton
Owner/Graphic & Web Designer

In the last post we identified the major forms of advertising that businesses use:

  • Website
  • Fixed marketing (ie vehicle graphics, magnets, building/window signage)
  • Face-to-face sales meetings
  • Word of mouth
  • Social Media (ie Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Classic Advertising (ie radio, tv, print, phonebook)

And while plenty of folks reached out to note that I was missing "Search Engine," that was intentionally left out because each of the others can be considered "stand alone" (ie none are dependent on another to exist). Search engine marketing via tools like Google Ads requires you have a website to promote - thus it's exclusion, but we're definitely going to add it into the mix.

And now to the heart of the discussion, what are the pros, cons & price points (illustrated as $ - $$$$$) of each of these advertising platforms? How do they work together for YOUR business? And do you need to use one, three or all of them to generate leads?

Your Website ($$ - $$$):

Pros:
  • Open 24/7/365
  • Content can change
  • Forms can capture and pre-qualify customers
  • E-cart integration for Online Sales
  • With best practices for design and SEO can generate fantastic leads & search engine rankings
  • Available on mobile phones, tablets, laptop and desktop computers
Cons:
  • Requires knowledge of HTML5, Javascript, CSS
  • Changing content can be difficult
  • Designing to new mobile responsive standards to ensure search engine results takes finesse with CSS
  • Poor design and SEO will penalize your site in search engine rankings and not generate good leads

Fixed Marketing ($ - $$$$):

Pros:
  • Well designed signage with consistency across all of your other marketing creates a very professional and polished look
  • Gives customers confidence (think hand-painted signs vs professionally designed)
  • Generally durable and lasts a long time
  • Increases brand awareness
Cons:
  • You must have versions of your logo for different sign makers (ie psd, ai, eps, pdf, png)
  • Changing your logo means you have to change everything
  • HOA restrictions on vehicle graphics
  • Leasing business space could make the investment risky should you have to leave

Word of Mouth($ - $$$$):

Not going to explain this one much except to say this can be expensive or cheap depending on your level of customer service!

Social Media($ - $$):

Pros:
  • Provides a way to be online without having a website
  • Gives customers a way to rate your service
  • Has targeted paid advertising potential
  • Available on mobile phones, tablets and laptop and desktop computers
Cons:
  • Gives customers a way to rate your business
  • Isn't as targeted for SEO rankings
  • Has limited capability to truly explain your services and products
  • If a product is free, then you're the product!

Classic Media($$ - $$$$$):

Pros:
  • TV, Radio & Print advertising have started to include some online co-advertising alongside your standard ad
  • Radio especially has a very captive audience during drive times (6-9am & 4-7pm)
  • Print like coupon books and newspapers appeal to distinct demographics (60+)
  • TV while losing some of it's market share to cord cutters are becoming more competitive in their pricing.
Cons:
  • TV advertising, while getting cheaper, is still very expensive
  • Radio Advertising requires a long commitment to get results
  • Print subscriptions have fallen drastically over the last decade

These are the pros and cons as I see them, and I weigh my advertising budget around which I find has the best ROI and lead generation. My website is hands down the best ROI. I couple my social media accounts with my website to drive traffic back and forth. For example, my fixed information is on my website and I direct people to my Facebook or Instagram pages to see examples of our work. Next, I post on social media as much as possible (genuine content, not fluff and filler just to post). The posts that get great feedback and interaction (ie likes or comments) I pay to promote (boosted posts on Facebook).

My vehicles are wrapped and all of my business cards and signage uses the same logo, tag line, color scheme & fonts. I ask my customers how they heard about us and write their response on their work orders to keep track of. I ask them to refer friends and review us. And I use radio advertising to reinforce my companies message and to remain top-of-mind. And finally, I use free tools like Google Places to make sure my company shows up at the top and on the map when someone searches for "sign shop near me."

The biggest mistake most business owners make when it comes to advertising is only doing it as a last resort to generate sales. If you advertise regularly with a consistent message you create brand awareness and stay top-of-mind WHEN a customer needs your services. I like to use the example of Morgan & Morgan. They are ALWAYS advertising on radio, TV and online and I maintain that if I was ever in an accident - even if I was disoriented and stunned - I would know to call Morgan & Morgan at #529, #LAW that's all! Morgan & Morgan - For the People! And that's a great example of the power of advertising across a number of platforms.

If you follow the link to Google Places you can set up an account for free and it's a great starting place if you're new to self-promoting. If you'd like to talk about a new website or updating your current one, please reach out to me directly nathan@chiltonsigns.com. If you want to discuss vehicle graphics, banners, business cards, monument signs, magnets or anything else that we do please call:
863-438-0880 or email sales@chiltonsigns.com

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