What is The Perfect Way to Advertise?

‐ January 8, 2014

bigstock-Modern-Business-Concept-40987330Business managers and executives ponder the question of “What is the best way to advertise my business?” They have tried many advertising mediums with mediocre to dismal results. If there is a perfect way to advertise your business, what is it? If there were a perfect way to advertise for your business what would it look like?

You would be able to reach your best prospects with it.

It would be easy to buy and use.

It would be easy to track response.

You would make more money than you spent on it (AKA, ROI).

There is such an advertising medium.

That medium is Direct Mail Marketing. Here are the facts:

  • The United States Postal Service regularly and dependably delivers the mail to 99.99% of the population.
  • Everyone receives their mail and looks at it, even if just for a second.
  • Direct mail is personal.
  • Direct mail allows you to target exactly the people who are the best prospects for your product or service with no waste.
  • Direct mail is trackable.
  • Recent studies have shown that direct mail still provides a higher return on investment (ROI) than any other marketing medium.

We sell direct mail programs, so you would expect that I would be tooting the direct mail horn. But for the above facts, direct mail is one of the most effective advertising tools you have at hand. Direct mail for most businesses should be a no-brainer, but direct mail is still not the only part of your marketing program. Direct mail is not good for image advertising, that purpose is best filled buy television advertising. Brand building is a combination of PR + Image + Direct Response. The purpose and best use of direct mail is to direct the response of interested prospects causing an increase in sales.

If you want to grow your sales you are going to have to develop a mix of media that you can reach and influence the best prospects for your business. Direct mail for most businesses should be an important part of their media mix. Direct mail can take many forms: post cards, letter mailer, note cards or check mailers. These all allow you to suit your approach to your prospect’s life style.

The following is a short highlight of the strengths and weaknesses of some of the other media choices you have:

Newspapers & Magazines – Newspaper is a good tool for promoting sales events. The costs versus the circulation numbers are out of proportion due to decreasing circulation and readership.

For a newspaper to be solvent, 65% to 70% of space has to be devoted to advertising, making for a lot of clutter and reader distraction. Most people are getting their news and current events online.

The readership of newspapers across the country has gotten older over the years. If you are targeting older prospects, using newspaper marketing can be an important part of your media mix.

Television Commercials – There are hundreds of different choices for TV viewing. Commercial loads on most stations are 10 – 12 minutes of commercials per half hour. The trend in recent years has moved toward shorter commercials, 15 seconds in length, which means there could be as many as 15 – 20 commercials per break. The heavy number of commercials is a key factor in channel surfing, which means it makes it more difficult to actually reach viewers. When was the last time you sat though and watched all the commercials?

Production costs to produce a commercial can cost as much as the air time to run the ad.

The plus points on television advertising is that if you get a well produced commercial and target the programs you purchase you can generate good results. Television has the ability to bring a message to life. You can purchase by program and target your audience by demographic. Cable TV allows you to target not only by demographic, but geographic area. Cable TV can be less expensive than broadcast stations and in recent years, audience has shifted from broadcast to cable. If you are considering TV you should carefully research the choices available to you.

Radio – is similar to television in that there are many choices for listening. iPods, MP3s and other personal listening devices along with commercial free satellite radio have given people more options and make it difficult to reach people.

Having said that, radio is still a better option than other mediums due to its portability and potential to reach customers closest to time of purchase. Combined with low production cost, when radio is properly used, it can be a powerful tool to increase sales. A well-produced radio commercial can be interesting and memorable. Radio for a lot of businesses should be part of the media mix. Radio can be used to add repetition to your marketing. Purchased properly, you can reach a large volume of potential customers often and regularly.

Email Marketing – Yes, email marketing was supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Email sent to existing clients and prospects (like this email) works well. But when you try sending a mass email to a bunch of people you haven’t already established contact with– a couple clicks of the mouse and any future emails from you will go directly to the spam/junk mail folder. Like other forms of marketing email can be an important tool, but for most businesses, email marketing is not strong enough to create expansion. Its best use is to stay in touch with customers and prospects with information that will benefit the recipient.

Social Media – can be an important part of your marketing. By its name, you have to be more social and less sales-ey in your approach. It is very good for networking, generating interest and driving traffic to your web page. Some business types can greatly benefit from using social media. For most businesses social media is part of the marketing mix– not the sole answer. To be effective, you have to have someone employed full time to keep up with postings, tweets and profiles.

Internet, Pay Per Click – can be a very good source of leads for most businesses. Your results will depend on how you are set up to convert the leads you get. The downside of this is that there is so much competition and marketing on the Internet it can be very difficult to capture and hold the attention of a prospect. The Internet is the Wild-West and to a large degree is still evolving. It should also be part of your marketing mix.

The best answer for most businesses is a media mix. Your advertising will be effective to the degree that you have the big three in your advertising. The big three are as follows:

1. Identified Audience: Know who your best prospects are and have selected the media or mediums that can target your best prospects.

2. Targeted Message: By knowing your customer and best prospects you have created your message so that it appeals to the buying motives of them. People buy a product or service because they perceive that it will benefit them.

3. Consistency: 90% of your results equal what you say times how many times you say it. Despite what some may try to lead you to believe, you cannot time the market. Which simply means that you never know how many people will be in the market to buy your product or service in a specific period of time. But, over the course of several months, there will be a lot of people who will be in the market.

When you advertise consistently you do two things: (1) you create awareness and familiarity and, (2) you increase the odds that prospects will call you when they need your product.

If you would like more information on how direct mail can help your business, contact us!

Mark Hale


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