Advertising on a Budget — Part 1: Using Print to Drive Traffic Online

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This is the first article of a three-part series. I decided to try

something a little different and illustrate the marketing

challenges of a small business. I’m using one of my clients,

PrescottWeddings.com (you can read more about PWC,

including a testimonial from the owner of PWC, on my Web

site, http://www.writingusa.com)

PWC is an online resource guide for couples planning their

weddings. Along with a ton of information for brides and

grooms, the site includes a resource guide where local

businesses can advertise their products and services.

We launched PWC in November 2001. Like many start-up

businesses, PWC didn’t have much money for marketing.

Yet we had two major challenges (three counting the limited

budget):

1. PWC had to attract two kinds of target markets to the site

— advertisers and couples — essentially at the same time.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, we had to appeal to each

group even though one was dependent on the other —

advertisers wanted brides and grooms logging onto the

site, and brides and grooms wanted a complete resource

center.

2. Several bridal print publications had come and gone in

Prescott — and had burned their advertisers while racing out

of town. Businesses were understandably hesitant about

sinking their money into another bridal venture.

Armed with those challenges, we went to work. Now, just

over two years later, PWC enjoys well over 40,000 hits a

month and has increased its advertising base by over

600%. On top of that, PWC is well on its way to establishing

a reliable brand in not just Prescott but throughout Yavapai

County.

So how did we do it? A great Web site with great content (but

more on that in a later article) plus three main marketing

strategies:

1) Using print to drive traffic online

2) Thinking small

3) Frequency, frequency, frequency

I’ll cover number two and three in the next two articles. Today

we’ll talk about number one: Using print to drive traffic

online.

The cornerstone of PWC’s marketing program has been

print advertising, more specifically monthly advertising in the

local newspaper. Print advertising is an excellent choice for

many businesses — from small to large. In fact, it’s not

uncommon for small and medium-sized businesses to

build their advertising program around print.

The strength of print advertising is its flexibility. Print

publications come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They

can appeal to a broad readership or a narrow one. They can

be published every day or once a year. This variety gives you

a lot of flexibility in fitting print advertising into your

campaigns.

You can also track print to a certain extent (coupons in

newspapers for example). Print is physical, allowing your

customers to carry something around with them.

However, print’s weakness is also its strength. It’s a visual

medium only, so it requires more effort and interaction from

your audience to make an impact (they need to stop and

read it).

In the case of PWC, we chose monthly advertising in the

local paper as the foundation of our marketing program. We

decided upon the local newspaper because it has the

broadest reach. Prescott isn’t big enough to have its own

evening television news, so the newspaper is the best

vehicle for local news.

If you live in a big city, the local newspaper may not be

practical because of cost. In that case, you may want to try a

niche newspaper or magazine, like a business or lifestyle

journal, or maybe a regionalized newspaper. In Phoenix for

instance, the Arizona Republic is the main newspaper, but

all the cities around Phoenix, like Scottsdale and Tempe,

also have their own papers.

Because PWC is a Web site, there’s an assumption we

should be using only online methods to advertise. Online

methods are good, and PWC does use them, but they only

take you so far. Print is a part of the “real world” — something

you can touch and pick up, not virtual like a Web site. Print

has also been around a lot longer, and carries more trust

with it. We found by using print, some of that trust and “real

world” essence rubbed off, making PWC seem less

anonymous and more like a “bricks and mortar” business

(a business with a store front).

Also, since we were trying to drive local traffic to the site, it

made sense to advertise locally rather than attracting

people from all over the world. But even with our local

advertising, we still have a substantial number of visitors

from around the state, including Phoenix and Tucson, as

well as all over the globe.

The point of our marketing program was to advertise

regularly so we could both build the PWC brand and drive

traffic to the Web site. Yet it was essential to keep our costs

down. So we leveraged our monthly newspaper advertising

to stretch our marketing dollar as far as we could. More on

that and how we “thought small” in Part 2.


Source by Michele Pariza Wacek

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