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Advertising…..a difficult proposition these days

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich, RLC Design 10 Comments

Last week I had more folks walking through the door about advertising then I’ve had in a long time.

“Act now for Christmas advertising space….only xxx hundred dollars.”Get on my Prescott website for xxx hundred dollars per year…..”  Etc, etc, etc.

This morning one of the folks who popped in last week and interrupted me with clients popped in again.  I was in early again prepping for a meeting with a client, and fortunately had the time to talk with this individual.  The whole spiel was run through, and after departure I checked out the web advertising space that we spoke about.

Watching my own web stat growth, Google Ranking, Alexa Ranking, and a few other stat services I subscribe to, I know where I stand in the Internet world.  And I know where I stand when it comes to searches on Prescott, Giclee’, Arizona, and the rest of the stuff that I’m involved with on a daily basis.  You know what?  I’ve got an excellent web presence.  Imagine if I tried pushing it further……it would be even better.  And yes, I understand SEO.

So, looking at this person’s site this morning I was left scratching my head.  Why would I want to advertise on a relatively new web site that’s not ranked by Google / Alexa / et all?  Doing a few simple searches the site in question never came up in the first few pages of search results.  If anything, his site would have some luck advertising on my site.  Seriously, traffic comes in here.  Maybe I should pitch that idea to the next person who comes in to solicit advertising dollars from me.  “Hey, your site has no traffic at all, maybe you’d like to advertise with me……”  🙂

All this led me to thinking about advertising and my personal business.  For next year I’m going to be approaching the advertising budget in an extremely different way……

  1. My best advertising is my client base.  New print clients come in here because someone told them about the giclee work I do.  They come in here because another artist has shown them the work I’ve done for them.  And I owe my clients big time for helping me to survive.
  2. Random walk ins.  They become clients, and then feed into my #1 form of advertising.
  3. This blog and my website also drive traffic into the gallery and print shop.  In the past year I’ve added well over 20 clients because they’d been following this blog, or found my primary website on the giclee work.
  4. Gallery mailers ranks 4 for me.  When we do an event and send out invites to folks who’ve signed up on the gallery list they do show up.  So direct event promotion gets us good turn outs.  It doesn’t mean that new clients are added, but it does bring back our regulars.
  5. Being part of the 4th Friday Artwalk pays off.  The group is well organized, and reasonably priced to be part of.  It drives folks to us once a month, and you always know it’s working when people walk in with the Artwalk flier in their hands.
  6. Print advertising, which we’ve done a good deal of, is the last source of clients.  I’m here to tell you, for the thousands of dollars spent on it this past year I’ve found almost no return.  The bulk of walk ins to the gallery are exactly that.  Walk ins.  They didn’t read in this or that local publication about the gallery.  Instead they happened upon us, or they found us in the Artwalk brochure.

Just yesterday I was reviewing my books.  Been in operation a year now you know.  And a lot of money went out on advertising that just didn’t yield any results.  The money would have been better spent on direct mailers, more web work, or just hanging on to it and paying myself.  Lessons being learned.

That can’t be good for publications that make their living on advertisers.  Sorry to say, but my strategy for next year will not involve major print advertising.  Don’t even think about TV or Radio advertising.  We experimented with that after first opening, and it yielded nothing except some expensive bills.

I think new media, like the net, really will impact organizations that make a living off of advertisers.  Those of us with actual web presence don’t need to do anything more than continue building that presence.  And beyond paying Google or other search engines per click, I don’t see that a lot of spending needs to occur.

Of course, I’m in a specialty business.  But from my personal lessons of the past year, I’m going to keep my advertising dollars in house.  I can do a better job for less, and occasional mailers cost very little and reach an interested market place.  The growth of the new customer base will continue to come from where it has previously.  Other satisfied customers.

Comments 10

  1. Funny, Liam and I were having a very similar conversation about advertising… as we happened to be addressing 2,500+ postcards.

    We keep getting asked to buy lists and get listed. The truth is, we sell the most when we “sell to the sold” or rely on ourselves or our customers to generate new business. No, we can’t be everywhere, but we’re not interested in talking to everyone… just our slice of the audience.

    Those sites that charge for a listing seem so archaic in Internet terms… they prey on business owners who know they need to “get on the internet,” but don’t know where to begin.

    Here’s Liam’s post from this morning about snail mail marketing
    .-= Corey T´s last blog ..Irish-American Roadtrip Rendezvous =-.

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  3. Whenever I’ve been involved in some venture where I have to think about advertising, I always go back to the same principle: What sort of advertising do *I* pay attention to? Radio? TV? Pffff. I have enough music in iTunes to run continuously for 15 days without a repeat. Why would I ever listen to radio? Other than DVD’s, etc., TV hasen’t really exist for me for nearly a decade. But if I sign a guest book, then get a postcard or flier inviting me to an event I’m there.

    Best part: the postcard/flier is essentially free compared to radio or TV.

    (“Print”? What is this “print media” of which you speak? 😉

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    You know Ric….Print Media. Newspapers, fliers, magazines….Remember those?

    Heard about govt subsidies to Newspapers? Just read about that this morning on the net….didn’t read it in a paper.

  5. LOL. Just barely. I have this repeating nightmare of me trudging through a Michigan blizzard carrying a 1,276-pound bag of cheap paper covered in greasy black ink that smelled like tar and permanently stained my skin and clothing. I’ve been in therapy for years now…

    The subsidies to print news are a repeat of Mohair subsidies. It only took 35 years after the military stopped using the stuff to get rid of the subsidy. So in 2047, to great fanfare and political posturing and 35 years after the last printed newspaper is delivered to my 99-year-old grandfather (who will call to complain that it was 20 minutes late and wet), Congress will take the bold step of ending subsidies for print newspapers….

  6. Hmmm . . . why would you listen to radio? Local news and happenings. Music on the iPod is fine, however. The beauty of radio is that it directs people to your mailers, or other avenues of advertising that you’re doing. Don’t argue with me!! I’ve been doing this for 25 years and have studied other media at great lengths. That’s why I’ve always stuck with radio, especially in smaller market situations. It’s called “Top-of-the-mind-awareness”, or subliminal. Eventually the message gets through and people act. Also, radio goes most anywhere, even the shower!! Its made me a good living, and I won’t work with just anyone, especially with those who only want to “experiment” with it. Remember . . . radio IS word of mouth. =)

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    Apologies Kathy, been away from the computer for the day. Things don’t get posted until I approve them. A day of appointments, meetings, medical stuff, and evening meeting at the plaza.

    But you’re posted now.

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  9. That’s okay. I thought I saw the first post there, then it was *poof*! Gone. Anyway, it’s okay not to listen to radio for the music. I have an IPod full of that, but I do like to hear what’s up locally. And, after this many years in radio, I do have the courage of my convictions regarding who it can help, and who it can’t. We have Sirius in the Jeep. 😉

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