July 8, 2014

A Little Bit About Advertising, Part 2

By Paul Bieber

Last week, we decided to tell the world about your glass business. It is time to let customers know the who, what, why, and where you are in the industry. Most of you did the homework and thought about what makes you different from the average glass company. Most—but not all. In fact, I can see old Bob there in my Paul-O-Scope, sitting in his office insisting the customers will find him, anyway. I sure would like to be Bob’s competitor.

So, how do we start advertising? Did you set your budget? Include what you are currently spending on yellow pages, truck sign painting, current contracts with advertising mediums, all the giveaways and sponsorships in your community, internet or internet directories and your office printing, such as letterhead. Do you want to increase this budget? I would suggest a modest increase at this point. Customers are out there and looking for you.

Start speaking with professionals. Give an extra ten minutes to the salespeople who come into your office and ask them why you should be advertising, not why in their medium. If they say, “It will increase your business,” move to the next one in line. Get solid information on why their product will increase your business and who their product reaches. Is their product verified by an outside auditor to confirm the number of eyeballs that can see your ad? Will this company give you design assistance, and at what price? 

So, you see this can get complicated by doing this dance with a couple of newspapers or magazines and a web site developer, along with your truck painter. (By the way, to me, a clean, well-painted truck is one of the greatest ad mediums you can have.)

Let’s think about an ad agency. Not the big guys on Madison Avenue in New York, but a local one in your area.

An ad agency makes money two ways.  They get a commission from each magazine or newspaper that you place ads in. Usually about 15 percent of the advertising rate. If you are spending $20,000 on media, the agency will earn about $3,000. This can cover a lot of design work. If you need extensive design work, the agency may charge you a fee, as well. Google advertising agencies in your area. You’ll get a good list. Read their web sites. If they don’t have a good web site promoting themselves, move on. Plan on asking for two or three to visit with you, and submit a proposal based on your budget. Insist that they stay in your budget and that any additional fees are included in the presentation. A good agency will coordinate all of your printing and advertising, saving you time away from your core glass business. They also will have access to better placements in magazines and newspapers, along with strong expertise to getting your web site well placed in search engines.

You don’t need custom photography or high-paid models. An agency will have access to no-fee images that may just be perfect for you. They can also negotiate better rates for you in many cases, because they have buying power by combining all of their purchases!

I’ve made my point. Try this route. You haven’t spent an extra penny and you will learn a lot about advertising.  This can only help you and your business.