Offline Ads – Traction Channel #6

Offline ads include TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, yellow pages, billboards, and direct mail. All of these can be utilized at almost any scale, from local campaigns to national ones. They are used by billion-dollar brands like Wal-Mart and by local teens looking for babysitting gigs. Even today, advertisers spend more on offline ads then they do on online.

  1. Offline ads can be easy to test. For as little as $300, you can put out a radio ad in a market you’re targeting and see how it performs. Billboards are the same way, you can buy space for a few hundred bucks a month, or rent one in a more prime location for many thousands.
  2. Demographics of each advertising medium are the most important factor to consider when making an offline ads purchase.  You should be able to answer many of these questions by asking for an audience prospectus (sometimes called an ad kit) from whatever company is selling the ad inventory.
  3. Cost of an offline ad depends on its reach. A billboard in Times Square goes for much more than one in the middle of Ohio because more people see it. Most offline advertisements work similarly. To run cheap tests you look for remnant advertising-ad space that is currently being unused.  Buying remnant ad inventory can work across most offline mediums, not just in print.  Buy a small ad in a niche publication and give it a test.
  4. Tracking offline ads are much harder to track as compared to online ads that have tracking built-in.  Successful offline tracking involves the use of tools like URL shorteners, unique web addresses and promotional codes to measure effectiveness. Examples: From the Traction book-Create flyers that link to flyer.  For direct response ads you can provide unique coupon codes.
Print Advertising   This encompasses magazines, newspapers, the yellow pages, flyers, direct mail, and local directories. It is 2nd in what companies spend the most on. TV is the most.
  • Magazines are nearly 7,000 different magazines in the US, ranging from commercial publications with millions of subscribers to small trade publications with hundreds of readers. There are three general magazine categories:
    • consumer publications that appeal to the larger population (these are the ones you see on newsstands and in grocery stores),
    • trade publications covering a particular industry or business,
    • local magazines that you’ll see for free along sidewalks and near grocery stores.  The key is understanding the demographics, circulation, and publication frequency of each magazine.To get this information, just ask the magazine for their ad kit (also known as a media package, media kit, or press kit). Or, use the magazine handbook produced by the Marketing Publishers Association to find magazines that appeal to your target market.
  • Newspapers share many characteristics with magazines. They are published on both a national and local scale, the pricing is largely based on the circulation of a given paper, and they allow you to choose the type of ad you want in the paper. Its demographic definitely focuses on 30 yrs and older.
  • Direct Mail entails any printed advertising message (ads, letters, catalogs , etc.) delivered to a specific group of consumers through the postal system.  Here are a few good direct mail tactics for direct mail:  Provide a self-addressed envelope to increase recipients, have an offer or clear action you are asking recipients and look into bulk mail options to reduce price.
  • Local Print Ads include buying space in local publications; church bulletin, community newsletter, coupon booklet, flyers, directories or calendars. It is possible to test print advertising because of its reasonable cost, just a few hundred dollars can expose you to thousands of people in a targeted area.  Ads in the yellow pages are also inexpensive.
Billboard Advertising has three main companies: Lamar, Clear Channel, or CBS Outdoor. They are the power players in this $5.8 billion industry. If you want to get a sense of what is available in a given area, go to the websites, then contact local carrier.  Cost anywhere between $700- 2,500 per month.  Ads in Times Square, on the other hand, can run you $ 30– 100K per month.  A downside is that people usually can not take immediate action, but can build awareness. Transit Advertising is placed in or on buses, taxis, benches, and bus shelters.  Most ads of this kind can be effective as a direct-response tool because people in transit are a captive audience.  Check out a company that specializes in these ads like, Blue Line Media. These media agencies can help you figure out where to advertise, how to create a memorable transit ad, and how to best measure and optimize such a campaign. Radio Advertising is priced on a Cost-per-point basis (CPP), where each point represents what it will cost to reach 1% of the radio station’s listeners. The higher the CPP, the more it will cost you to run an ad on a station.  This cost also depends on which market you’re advertising in, when your commercials run, and how many ads you’ve bought with that station. To give you an idea of what a radio ad costs, an ad running on a station for a week is often $500 –1,500 in a local market and up to $ 4,000–8,000 in a larger market like Chicago.  If scaling your radio buys, satellite radio is another place to consider. With over 50 million subscribers, SiriusXM can help you reach a lot of people with just one advertising relationship. TV advertising is often used as branding mechanisms. Most of us remember famous Nike, Apple, or Wendy’s commercials. When you consider that 90% of consumers watch TV, and the average adult watches 26 hours of TV per week, this is an offline channel that must be considered.  Using animation as opposed to live actors for the TV ad’s creation is a lot cheaper.
  • Usually TV ads are very expensive, but over the last few years it’s become possible to advertise on TV without spending so much money.  Local TV spots on one of the 1,300 + TV stations in the US can be an effective and reasonably priced way to make an impression.
  • Buying TV ads is a rather opaque process that involves a lot of negotiation, as there are no rate cards in the industry like those in print advertising. Thus, for larger media buys, you will likely want to hire a media buyer or agency to handle the many sellers out there and to ensure that you get a quality spot at a fair price.
 Infomercials are basically long-form TV advertisements. Seen by many from the Snuggie to ShamWow, and all sorts of knives, vacuums, and workout products. They can work surprisingly well. For example, they were the main growth engine behind the rise of P90x and its $400 million in sales.
  • Infomercials can cost anywhere between $ 50,000– 500,000 to make. They can be 2 minute infomercial shorts or the more traditional 28 minute episodes. These ads are almost always direct response: advertisers want people to see it, then visit a website or call in to take advantage of a special offer.
The key is to first run cheap tests by to targeting local markets, then scale up to regional or national if warranted.  Resources ]]>