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Old May 6th, 2011, 01:20 PM   #1
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How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

I run my business with my best friend as a photo & video offering. My friend has a polar opposite view of what will bring in the bookings. I feel advertising is very important, especially if no one knows who you are.

Word of mouth is something we all love to get work from because it's our clients saying we did well and it showed.

These days with all the competition out there (ESPECIALLY Photographers) you need to go that extra mile to show people who you are and why they should book with you.

My friend's opinion is blogging would be more effective than buying an ad in a major bridal magazine. Sure maybe 5 years from now if he's got enough stories and posts it MIGHT, but seeing as even known companies are always buying advertising and promoting their products wouldn't one think that the decision is pretty obvious? Even if you just did it once to get the name out there, isn't it worth the return on investment?

Money is of course an issue as I can't just front the $$ myself and would need a half/half commitment from him, but I really don't understand his logic. He wants this to be his full time gig, but doesn't want to do some of the most obvious things in getting the name out there. I wouldn't mind putting out my own ad for video and just let more work come in for me, but the business is for both services and that is fairly unique and not many businesses offer both from one company.

Am I off base or am I the one who needs to think of another alternative? Sure trade shows help, but even that he doesn't really feel would be as effective. Effective as what exactly?? It really does take money to make money and I think he's just really stubborn about it and I really really don't get it.

Thanks in advance for reading and your feedback!
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Old May 6th, 2011, 02:03 PM   #2
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Hi I have had 9 bookings through google, 7 word and mouth, 2 of Facebook and 9 from my wife's bridal wear shop, so I suggest doing a deal with some bridal wear shops in your area, along with google ads. Steve
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Old May 6th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Easy answer Ryan - no.
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Old May 6th, 2011, 04:43 PM   #4
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Philip-

To which question were you answering NO to? :)
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Old May 6th, 2011, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Ryan I agree with Philip.

There is a reason they call most print type advertising an "ad campaign" as it is to be repetitive in nature.

I agree with you on blogging, too little content and IMO blogs are becoming passe`. Where people were blogging a couple of years ago, they are "facebooking" now. Just in the last week or so, I have noticed on Facebook many of the people there seem to be just hawking their wares. I would make sure I had a presense and "friends" on Facebook but wouldn't plan on using that exclusively either.

The most cost effective advertising is either word of mouth or networking referrals, as Steve pointed out. Even if you have to "spiff" someone to get their referral, they don't get "spiffed" until after the sale has been made.

When I give thought to doing something new, I try to step back and ask myself what do I do? Consciously look at yourself and how you act/react to various forms of promotion. What gets you to "pop" for the product? Do you pick up a brochure and thoroughly read it, or toss it aside and in the garbage when you get home? How much do you buy from ads and which ads, and are these of companies you have seen before, or something brand spanking new to you?

If you sit back and reflect on it, you will find that you do just about exactly what everyone else does. If someone just hands you a brochure, chances are it gets tossed. If you pick one up voluntarily, chances are you read it. If you page through a magazine, chances are just the best ads catch your attention. The ads that don't catch your attention most likely far outnumber those that do. If any of that sounds familiar..... guess what.... you are just like the rest of us. :-)

Spend a night reflecting on what you do in each situation. How you react to being pitched in all the various ways there are. Where you go to find out information before you make your purchases of items not familiar to you. What are the "hot buttons" that get you to stop and pay attention to what someone is "saying"? When you are done with that, then go out and put your company into each situation where you do react in a positive manner and then pitch your services accordingly.
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Old May 6th, 2011, 08:31 PM   #6
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Czaplinski View Post
Philip-

To which question were you answering NO to? :)
Ryan, the one you posed in your subject, except that I mistakenly ignored the first word and responded as if it wasn't there.sorry. I should have replied "not at all".
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Old May 7th, 2011, 10:05 PM   #7
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

My answer is the same as Philip. None at all. Quick way for me to throw away money. :/
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Old May 8th, 2011, 02:32 AM   #8
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

My philosophy is simple. I look at what competitors do. I look closest at what the busy ones do.

My mentor has a crew of about 30 shooters and around 6 full time editors, and he operates out of his home. His closest competitor in the Cincinnati area doesn't do 10% of the business that he does.

How did he build his business? He advertised.

A story about the importance of advertising goes something like this: The CEO of a large company was flying on a commercial jet to NY for a meeting, and a reporter asked him why he spent so much money on advertising when his company had a near monopoly on the market. In other words, it would seem he really didn't need to advertise because things seemed to be going so well.

The CEO answered the reporter with a question: "What would happen to us today, if this jet we are on had no fuel?" The reporter correctly answered, "Why we would crash of course!".

The corporate boss then responded "The why would I want to cut back on advertising, unless I want my company to crash? Advertising is the fuel the keeps my company going".

Advertising takes many forms. But to imagine running a succesful business without advertisising is counter to common sense.

You have to watch where you put your money though, and if you have to rely on a partner for anything you are on dangerous ground, but that is another thread. You will learn the painful lessons about partnerships soon enough on your own, so good luck with that.

In Cincinnati the single fastest way to get your name out is on The Knot's website. Yes there are those that will knock it, and the brides from The Knot are notoriously cheap shoppers, this is all well known, and please do let's not turn this into a debate about The Knot. But when you are new, your return on investment is usually quick if you have a great website and product to demo.

My first ad on the Knot brought me a paying customer the very FIRST day my ad ran on their website, and my first year in business I did 35 weddings, all of them from The Knot's website. Cost? About $150 per month.

It takes time to build a business, and to quickly build a customer base, you will need to advertise somehow. Facebook is a form of advertising, and so is blogging, but how effective is it. How will people find your blog? Search engines take time to build significant results, as you are not the only one out there fighting for ranking.

The second place to look is for the wedding magazine handed out to jewerly stores in your area. Ads in that are usually cheap, but the results take longer to work than online, but once it kicks in it really pays off big time, but again, it is not overnight.

The large glossy magaziines that you see in the grocery stores are effective, but expensive, and they take up to a year to pay off as well.

Look for your local competitors online, find the ones you most want to be like, and do what they do. It is really quite simple. And I bet while your parnter doesn't want to spend on advertising, do you think he would want to split the income from the jobs you receive? I bet he would.

After you have got an online presence and search engine ranking, you can cut back on you advertising if needed, but in the beginning I don't see any way around it.

You are wise to consider advertising. But don't assume that if you plunk down $1500 on a print ad you'll see business from it soon. that takes time. You need an online ad that links directly to you site, that is how you start.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 03:02 AM   #9
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Jeff, no-one could disagree with your advice except that paid advertising (which is what the OP asked about) isn't the only form of promotion. My answer reflected our philosophy in the age of the Internet' We may not take paid advertising but, just as your story advises, we promote like hell, constantly, but not in print, in fact, especially not in print.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 03:33 AM   #10
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Hey Philip

Well done you are now a "trustee" with 1000 posts... give yourself a gold star!!

I find that the only online directories that really work are ones with a forum!! I'm on weddingswa.com and you can interact with the brides (as well as having an ad there) More importantly, forums have heaps of "guests" who just read the posts BUT they can still click on your link. For some reason, Google loves forums too!!! Do a post on DVInfo and it's in Google faster than lightning which is good for business.

No printed ads for me either!! Totally useless IMHO ...be it flyers or newspaper ads. Leaving brochures in Bridal Shops seems to generate very little (unless it's your wife/sister/aunt who owns it) as they tend not to promote you very much so brochures simply lie on the counter unless there is a reasonable financial advantage for the shop owner!! I suspect that a good TV ad would be awesome except it would probably swallow 5 years of your profit!!!

Chris
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Old May 8th, 2011, 04:29 AM   #11
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Chris, thanks, I hadn't noticed - if I'd not taken my "holiday" from posting for the reasons you know about I'd reached this dubious level sooner. I say dubious, because although I can claim age on my side, such loquacity might be regarded as having too much time on our hands! Mind, now I look and see there are even loftier "stations" for writing huge numbers of posts, I'll probably rest here for a long while!

I didn't want to get into how we promote because I regard that as privileged information, but I was happy to respond to what I certainly regard as a complete waste of time, print.

In any case, as any pro knows, all promotion, including advertising, isn't a fixed skill but a dynamic, changing range of options. What I am certain about is that any promotion must point to and give access to a quality demo pack - ours is now two disks and three brochures. It's the clincher every time.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 06:18 AM   #12
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Regarding printed ads, this is how it works here in my area, at least with the Bridal Planner found in Jewelery stores here.

I signed up for it. It had been heavily recommended by my mentor. The ad guy warned me it would take 6 months to work, but I didn't really hear him.

So the magazine comes out, and I get nothing, I mean nothing from the ad. I know because I always ask every customer where they found me.

The months go by, but nothing happens. (In the meantime the Knot is bringing me lots of buisness).

This Bridal Planner is only published every 6 months. When it's time to renew, I tell the guy forget it, it doesn't work. He told me to wait and see, that I would regret not sticking with it, and that come the fall I would actually start seeing result from my ad.

Sure enough, I didn't renew, but almost three months after the issue I was in expired, the phone calls started coming from the printed ad, just like the guy said. It was the strangest thing ever.

The magazine guy explained that the magazine gets left lying around, and somehow it is the older issues that do the job, not the new ones. It is weird, but it was so true.

As others have said there are many types of adverstising, but the fastest are online. Printed ads will work, but are more of a future investment in business, and a bit expensive.

Printed ads are passe and old school, but as pthers have said, if you advertise wisely online, you don't really need printed ads, particularly if you are cash strapped.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #13
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Re: How has advertising in print or online ads helped your business?

Hi there, I'm new here so please bare with me.


Every promotional method has it's good points and it's bad points, and a lot of it is down to the way it's targeted and executed.

The key thing to look at is the return on investment (ROI) of any marketing.

Blogs (sorry Chip!) and social media are very much excellent promotional tools.

For example, you could have your entire online presence as a facebook page (free to make)
you can get tools (free) to add in your own HTML and video's. You can even hook it up to your domain name.

You could run a promotion whereby you give a free wedding package - to win people have to post a short video telling their love story and have it voted on (liked) by the most people.

This will engage potential brides and have them encourage their friends and families to visit your page, you could even tie it up with offline media such as local newspapers 'Company are looking for Area's best love story'

Again it's not really what you do, but more how you do it, if you venture into social media then don't get fooled into chasing 'friends' - one person who buys is worth 1000's who don't.

Advertising and promotion is all about creativity, and there are plenty of low-budget ways to get your message out there.

Traditional advertising just can't compete with the cost and reach of the internet.

Last edited by Chris Dodd; May 8th, 2011 at 12:37 PM. Reason: added a bit!
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