How well does print advertising work?

In the days of old, having your ad on TV was pretty much the cream of the crop. In terms of efficacy, it was followed by billboards and somewhat tied to print advertising – newspapers, magazines and pamphlets.

These days, much of the advertising world has moved online, along with most of the Western world. Many people now prefer to watch and read stuff on the web over traditional methods of getting content, so it stands to reason that the internet is also where you’d want to advertise. But what about print advertising in present day? Can it still compete with cheap and convenient online ads?

What to know about print advertising

The first thing to keep in mind about print advertising is that it’s going to cost you. The more respectable a publication is and the larger its readership, the more they can charge the advertisers to display the ads – this is how the business world works.

If you’d like to have an ad in a newspaper or magazine, you’d better be sure it’s the right kind of ad and the right kind of paper. As an Oriental rug cleaner in Florida and not a big company with endless pockets, you won’t be able to afford a ‘perpetual’ campaign where your ad will be a mainstay in some paper or magazine.

Instead, you’ll have to pick your time and place to get the most out of your ad. It’s not too different from running an online ad campaign, although it’s a bit trickier and with less guaranteed results.

That being said, the fact that online ads are so plentiful is also what makes them less effective. Having your ad in print will help legitimize your Oriental rug cleaning business to an extent. For starters, it’s likely that your competitors(if you have any in your area) aren’t using print advertising. Done right, it will give you the kind of advantage you might need to expand your client base. Speaking of…

Targeting your demographic

Yet another thing that’s much easier to do online, targeting your demographic in print can be a bit difficult. Whereas online you can literally choose the age group and location of the people to whom the ad will be displayed to, in print you’ll have to think outside the box.

You should have a good understanding of exactly who reads the paper or magazine before beginning your print ad campaign. Being an Oriental rug cleaner, many of your clients are probably middle aged and middle to upper-middle class. Going from there, ask yourself: what kinds of magazines and newspapers do these people read most often? As a blunt example, you’ll probably get a lot more from your print ad in a local business paper than you would from one in a celebrity gossip tabloid.

Other than magazine and paper ads, you’d also do well to print some pamphlets and have them featured in strategic places that your client base hangs around. Since you probably won’t be dropping these out of an airplane or helicopter, a courier dropping these in mailboxes of the right homes is your best bet, followed by working with some local businesses to have their waiting rooms ‘conveniently’ feature your pamphlet.

Does it pay to use Yelp advertising?

If you’re an American using the internet, you’ve probably heard of Yelp. It’s one of the new online sensations – a free-to-use ‘aggregate’ that creates a page for any type of business and then gathers user reviews for it. Depending on the state of your business and your interactions with customers, this will either prove to be a very good thing or a very lousy one.

Yes, Yelp is free to use and even free to have your business listed, but everyone’s gotta make money somehow. Yelp owners do this, unsurprisingly, by offering paid-for advertisement to any and all businesses looking to get ahead of their competition. But does it pay to use this compared to some of the more traditional ad types like those on Google or Facebook? On a sidenote, the fact that we can now refer to some online ads as ‘traditional’ really shows the 21st century is well-underway. Moving on to Yelp…

Dealing with the competition

Perhaps the thing that separates Yelp ads the most from similar ones is how aggressive the incentives for advertisers are. You see, your direct competitors can actually advertise on your own business profile page(and heavily so). It doesn’t take much thinking to figure out what happens when someone checks your page with a few bad reviews surrounded by local competitors whose ads look slick and inviting.

This creates a kind of necessity to use Yelp ads just to level out the playing field: your competition is going to be using these invasive methods on your potential customers, so how can you afford not to do the same on theirs? And so, Yelp’s business model starts looking almost brilliant thanks to how ubiquitous the site has become.

The bottom line is: if your local competition is using Yelp’s ‘full service ads’ that are being displayed on your page, you can’t afford not to do the same. But there’s more to the business savvy of Yelp’s owners: you can actually pay the site to remove competitor ads on your own page. It’s a perfect microcosm of the business world – the company with the bigger budget will likely come out on top in the absence of too much negative feedback.

How useful are Yelp’s methods to you, though?

If you’ve been dealing with competitor ads on your Yelp business page and feel your profits have been suffering because of it, you can bite the bullet and pay for their removal. But how important are your own Yelp ads and does it pay to use them?

Yelp displays ads pretty much the same way most other sites do: relevant search results are ‘complemented’ by paid advertising in the niche. Here’s the kicker, though: Yelp ads are quite a bit more inconspicuous than most other forms of advertisement and often come off as a natural part of the site, at times making it hard to distinguish between regular and advertised results.

This fact alone makes Yelp ads worth some of your time and money, even if just to try them out. Start a campaign and closely monitor the data and statistics of your business – soon enough, you should have a good understanding of how much Yelp advertisement is doing for you and can adjust your investments accordingly.

How to get your business listed for local listings

The abundance of places on the web where you can quickly list your New Braunfels business free of charge almost makes having dozens of local listings a necessity. The more listings you have online, the easier it will be for people to find you and learn more about your company. Exposure is rarely a bad thing, and you’ll definitely want to err on the side of having too many listings rather than too few, even if there aren’t too many carpet cleaners in the area competing against you.

Despite Google’s popularity, some still prefer to use other search engines or focus on other sites for their listings. Because of this, you can’t afford to have a Google Places listing and think that’s that – make sure your listings reach out to everyone in your area, regardless of their preferences.

Business Listed For Local Listings

Here are some of the most popular pages for local listings along with their features and what you need to do in order to get in there:

  • Google Places: The biggest of them all, listing your business on Google will probably get you the most results and should be the first thing you do to expand the online presence of your business. You’ll also get added on Google Maps which is absolutely imperative, not to mention that the whole process is free and takes just a few clicks and keystrokes.
  • Bing: Similar to Google in that it’s free and easy to register on, Bing is less popular but no less important when trying to get more clients. Bing Places also let you add media that provides a glimpse into the workings in your business, which is always a big plus.
  • Yahoo: Despite dwindling popularity, it’s not uncommon for search boxes to default to Yahoo, making a listing there equally as important. Yahoo Local Listings are notable for having monthly subscription options that let you build on your business profile and get featured in dozens of others listing pages.
  • Yelp: The top review place, Yelp features free listings with an easy method of claiming your business and also lets you interact with customers through individual reviews once you’re there.

Other than the big four, there are various other listings places you’ll want to get included in. Pages like Foursquare, YellowBot, White Pages and Yellow Pages are examples of places with listings that also include premium services meant to help you get more recognition.

If you’re unwilling to take money out of your budget just yet, there are dozens or even hundreds of relevant free sites that will gladly list you as soon as you can prove that the business is yours. Since New Braunfels isn’t the biggest city out there, so you should have no problem covering every place that lists local carpet cleaners, as well as some encompassing a wider area.

Not forgetting the actual Yellow Pages

As outdated as a phone book might seem, you still can’t afford not to make yourself available to anyone who might need your services. The truth is that quite a bit of people in a certain demographic aren’t yet accustomed to online searches and will sooner use the physical version of Yellow Pages. Even if it looks like a relic, having your local business listed there is sure to help you gain a bit more legitimacy and land you a few extra customers who might not have internet access or prefer to do things the old-fashioned way.

How to use YouTube videos to promote your business

Lots of people prefer watching videos over text or pictorials due to how engaging they can be for the viewer. On the other hand, the trick with videos of any length is to have a person watch from start to finish without getting bored. Attention spans have never been shorter with all the abundant online distractions, and video makers have had to adapt in order to survive.

If you’re a small business, you probably don’t have too much money for advertisement of any nature and could use every free boost you can get. One of these ‘boosts’ comes through YouTube videos – they cost nothing to upload and show to the entire world, can include virtually anything in their content and are often easy and inexpensive to make. So how can you use them to promote your business?

Using YouTube videos for your own benefit

If you run a local business of any kind, you probably take pride in your craft and your ability to do things right. Why not showcase it on YouTube? As a local business offering a service, one of the most effective ways to use YouTube videos for your own gain is to provide an inside look into how you do things.

In your videos, you are the master of your domain, which means you get to choose what stays and what goes. Emphasize the strongest points of your services, whatever they might be. Is your equipment more modern than that of your competition? Be sure to upload videos on the YouTube page of your business that explain this. Do you feel your methods are more intricate and produce better results than those of your competitors? Go ahead and make a step-by-step video that shows why your customers will be in good hands.

Similarly, you’ll want to ‘conceal’ any parts of your business that could use improvement. If you’d like help with this, you can work with someone experienced in video recording and editing to help you pick the right locations, angles and form of narrative that will make everything appear to be out in the open, even if it’s not.

Boosting your online presence with YouTube videos

Too many businesses underestimate the positive impact that a proper YouTube page can have on their conversions. People want to know how things are being done before doing business, and what better way to gain insight than through an explanatory video? The YouTube page for your business should be slick and professional-looking but also friendly and engaging for the viewer – don’t hesitate to give screen time to the best speaker in your employ.

Afterwards, it’s a matter of spreading the word and letting people in your area know that your YouTube page has things to see. Twitter updates are one way of doing this, as is including the YouTube link in various forms of online advertisement.

Since YouTube lets you closely monitor viewer statistics, you’ll soon gain a greater understanding of who watches your videos and why, letting you run better ad campaigns and self-promotions.