January 4, 2009

Saving Marketing Dollars in Tough Times

By Paul Bieber

No one is happy with the economy. If someone says they are happy, ask them to share what they are drinking. Every glass business is looking to control costs, but if you cut advertising you will get less business. If you stop promoting your business, you will get less customers. Let’s look at some ways to cut marketing costs without cutting out customers.

Here are some tips to help advertising. The most important trick to advertising is frequency, not size. If you have a big ad in the local paper once a month, place smaller ads weekly at the same or lower costs. If you have multiple ads in telephone books, again reduce size. You are better off with a small add in 20 listings, rather than a large ad in 10 listings. Place one large ad under glass, and reference that page in your small ads in the other sections.

Yellow pages charge a large premium for color…drop that and you will still have the same number of eyeballs looking at your ads. If you have simple clear graphics and easy to read copy you will be seen by your potential customers. Newspapers also charge a premium for color. Drop that back to black and white for savings.

If the yellow pages of newspaper needs encouragement to help you, offer them a contract for a year or two at the new smaller size. Newspapers are hurting, and even a smaller ad, guaranteed for a period of time is better for them than the large random ad.

Look at your marketing dollars. Are you in only one area. Spread out these dollars. Go to a trade show in your area, send out PR releases on your firm, make a donation to a local Church or Temple and you will be getting free advertising if your events are interesting enough.

Call your local radio station and offer to do a 15 minute radio show on handyman hints. Ask you newspaper if they need an expert to answer questions about glass and construction. Get your name out there–there is no better paid advertising you can get.

Never send a half empty envelope. If you mail an invoice or a statement, include a flyer about your company. Maybe a brochure from your shower door supplier, or a fact sheet about low-e will always enhance any mailing.

The best customer to advertise to is the one standing in your showroom, maybe waiting for a piece of glass for a picture frame, or a windshield installation. Place simple signs around your showroom saying things like: “We install new windows in homes and business”, “Ask us about energy-savings glass”, or “Drafty in your house? We fix that with energy efficient windows and glass!”

Go to the science teacher at the local high school and ask if you can put on a demonstration about low-e glass. One of the kids in the class will tell their parents, and you will get an order!!

When times are tough, coupons tend to be attractive to many customers. Print one that says “10% off all glass work up to $1000” Spread these around at shopping centers, in windshields all around town, and maybe as an ad in the local paper.

We’re going to close with this thought. Let’s say the economy is down 10%, that means that generally 90% of the business is still there. Your job is to make sure your competitor goes down 80% and you hold your own level.

Stop buying all the give-aways for your insurance brokers and contractors. Unless you have the biggest and best calendar, you are not going to get on the wall. You pen will just be tossed on the desk,with twenty other pens and pencils your customer gets. Now, you may feel that since everyone else is stopping this, you will be the only one left. Don’t think this! Be the smart one an stop first!

You still want to do something special to get noticed by your customers? Tie into the current times, and make a donation to an appropriate charity. Be sure to send a press release to your local papers, including a picture of you hand-delivering a check to the local office of the charity. Send a copy of a newspaper article to each customer with a note saying that you spent their calendar money to help homeless people stay warm. My prediction is you will feel better about yourself, and your customers will be proud to know you.

Are you advertising on Radio or TV? the most important part of media advertising is to have well written and well produced commercials. You are waisting your money if you write simple copy and have it read over the air.

Spend a little less on air-time and little more on production costs; you will increase name recognition and customer response. A well produced thirty second spot is cheaper that a lousy sixty second spot.