Why I don’t bother spending money on TV or radio advertising

Posted on March 31, 2008. Filed under: marketing | Tags: , , , |

A couple of years ago I wrote a book.  As publicity for the book, I did almost three dozen radio interviews.  I was on big stations with big audiences.  I was on shows with big guests (one morning I was the guest immediately preceding Gene Simmons.)  Not once was I able to see an increase in book sales based on those appearances.

The local NBC affiliate featured me on their local show Evening Magazine (watch the video here.)

I am grateful for the publicity.  The bottom line, however, is that it didn’t result in more clients for the salon or more book sales.

I got the radio and TV spots because I ran an ad in RTIR, a publication that goes out to radio and TV producers.  I spent a fair amount of money on the ad, and if I gauge the effectiveness of the ad on how many spots I got, then I would say it was a success.  But if I gauge the effectiveness on new business or book sales, then I have to say it was a failure.

Advertising is an interesting game and I have tried to play it many ways.

What I tried that didn’t work:

  • Co-op advertising with Aveda in the newspaper (It cost a fortune and rarely produced results.  Perhaps it produced results for Aveda, but we didn’t see new business because of it.)
  • Slide shows at the movie theatre (The only people who seemed to notice were existing clients.)movies ad
  • Fliers left on door knobs and car winshields (I think people were more annoyed than interested.)
  • Coupons in bulk mailers –  i.e. Val-Pak (The only new customers we got were people who came just for the discount and did not become regular clients)

What I tried that worked:

  • CitySearch (We first started using this as our co-op advertising with Aveda.  They discontinued offering this as a vehicle for co-op benefits and it was one of the reasons we decided to stop being a Concept Salon.)
  • Chevy Astro Van (I bought a used cargo van for about $3000 and had vinyl graphics put on for another $3000.  We used it for business trips to supply houses, Costco and popular restaurants.  It was a moving billboard that we used for 10 years.  That’s only $600 a year…WAY cheaper than a billboard and I got to use it to haul things, too!  I stripped the vinyl off and sold it a few years ago and I still have new customers say they saw the van.)va

What it has all boiled down to (for me and my salon) is this:  What does it cost and does it work?  Some advertising makes me (the business owner) feel good, but doesn’t bring in new customers who we can convert to loyal clients.  That would be a waste of money.  If I want to spend money to make myself feel good, I would rather go to the spa and get pampered.  It’s a better return on my investment.  The only reason to spend money on advertising is to get more clients or to get the clients you have to spend more money.  Otherwise you are throwing money away.

What have you tried that worked or didn’t work?


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