back home

Think clearly about print advertising

Written by Justin on October 18, 2009

Note: I originally posted this on strongcaster.com, but thought I would post it here as well, with a few modifications

Derek Sivers has a great story on his blog about a musician who booked an ad in a magazine in the hopes of converting 1% of the magazine’s readership into sales.  In this case, 1% would have translated into 10,000 CDs sold.  The result?  4 CDs sold.

He ends with this line: “He forgot there was a number lower than one percent.”

This story reminded me of when I owned my own retail shop.  We would place a full-page ad in the newspaper (with a coupon), hoping sales would just poor in.  The newspaper’s circulation was 20,000, so a 1% conversion would have meant 200 new customers.  But sure enough, only a handful of new people would walk through the door.

Circulation means nothing without engagement. This is one of the reasons the newspaper industry is in such trouble; for years businesses would throw money at advertising and hope it would make a difference.  The problem is that, often, it didn’t.

This isn’t to say that print doesn’t have a place; there are many factors to consider, including the size of one’s target market, ad design, etc…  The difference is that online you can measure engagement:

My recommendation for businesses with yearly marketing budgets of $500-$5,000 is to spend the majority of that money building engagement online.  When you compare it with print advertising, you will get a much better return on investment.

A newsletter for makers

2017

Stories and inspiration for independent makers.
A newsletter for product people, developers, and designers.

No spam. Unsubscribe anytime. Powered by ConvertKit
Awww yeaaah! Looks like you're already on my mailing list! Have you subscribed to my YouTube channel?.