Profitable Conservatory Marketing – Chapter 8

Welcome to chapter 8 of the RPS Software guide to profitable conservatory marketing.

Introduction – Marketing is a PROCESS

Often, people think of marketing as an event, such as placing an advert or exhibiting at a show. However, marketing is about relationships with other people. This lasts longer than a simple advert or single event and is all about regular communications.

The more often you communicate, the more your customer is likely to trust you and the more likely they are to buy from you when they are ready. There is much more about this throughout the chapters of the book, and in the individual sections which we are releasing now for people to download.

In this eighth chapter we concentrate on Advertising.

To some people, marketing and advertising are the same thing. Hopefully, by now, you realise that advertising is just one of many ways to market your product. I’ve left this until later in the book, because a lot of the ideas presented earlier work in a similar way on paper.

Advantages

One of the advantages of advertising is that it’s relatively easy to do. Simply design an ad, speak to a magazine, and the next week, it’s there in print or on the internet.

If you’re advertising locally, it’s one of a small number of ways to target the local population as a whole. If your niche is geographically wider, there are many specialist publications, such as the vintage car magazines I mentioned earlier.

Disadvantages

Lots of people use the local press. This doesn’t make it a bad idea in itself, but you’ll need to be quite smart about how you do it. It can also be quite expensive, but I’ll tell you a few tricks to deal with that in a moment. It can be hard to test though this is not an insoluble problem.

AIDA

As it was originally created for paper-based direct response marketing, our old friend pops up again.

Your Objective

Before you place an ad, it’s worth thinking for a moment about your objective. Are you seeking people looking for a conservatory now? Or are you just looking for potential future customers?

Normal Ads

One of the first mistakes which most companies make is talking about themselves, and worrying about their logo, which sadly, no-one else seems to care very much about. You need to talk about your customer, so present the advert as a combination of pain and solution. On the following page is a really simple example[1]:

Doesn’t look like an advert, does it?

[1] This might not seem realistic, but one approach would be to offer to replace the customer’s conservatory roof with one of the many solid roof products now becoming available, which offer much better thermal properties than a traditional conservatory roof.

Fed up with your conservatory feeling like an ice-box?

Conservatory Too Cold in Winter?

Many people who bought a conservatory a few years ago are now realising that, whilst it is great in the spring and autumn, it can cool down far too quickly in the winter, meaning that you can only really use it for a few months of the year.

Recent developments in technology have meant that new materials are now available to make your room more comfortable throughout the year. Upgrading may be less expensive than you think due to substantially reduced heating costs.

Why not find out more by taking up our free conservatory assessment during August – we’ll survey your current room and make a series of recommendations to help you decide on the best course of action.

There are a couple of things to note about this. Firstly, it’s written in a very readable serif font (Times Roman). Books and newspapers use this because it’s easy on the eye, and people tend to associate it with news rather than advertising.

Comparing this with the AIDA formula:-

Attention: a large area of the ad is taken up with an interesting image of a freezing woman as people are drawn to faces. The ONLY point of it is to draw the reader in. Likewise, the headline is designed to attract the reader to a problem they may well be familiar with.

Interest: The headline and the first paragraph talks about the customer’s problem.

Desire: The next paragraph then briefly explains a possible solution, and makes an offer of a free assessment which could solve someone’s problem.

Action: The customer is clear what they need to do next: call or visit the website.

We would use a different 0800 number for each ad we run, and a different web-site address. This means we can record how many people have responded to the ad, and how many of them became customers as a result of it.

It’s all more work than just asking a graphic designer to “design an ad”, but the up-side is you now have a true marketing test which you will be able to evaluate accurately.

Advertorials vs Normal Adverts

As I mentioned earlier we are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day of our lives. As a result we have got very good at filtering them out. As a result, advertisers have started to shout louder at us to get our attention, using bright colours, large fonts and so on.

Generally, we are much more receptive to stories than people shouting “Buy this now”. The idea of an advertorial is to present your sales message as a story, typically in the form of an article. But you may be asked to use the word “Advertisement Feature” at the top of the page. An advertorial will typically be laid out just like any other story in the paper, including photos with captions.

The ad above is a “half-way house” between a traditional ad and an advertorial, and rather than creating one here, I’m sure you have seen examples. I’d strongly encourage you to try one of these and Test It.

Buying Advertising Space

If you ring a newspaper and ask about adverts, they’ll give you a “rate card”, which is their idea of a joke, designed to nail small unsuspecting businesses.

Negotiate. One of my favourite techniques is to send the artwork with a message such as: “if you have a spare slot the day before printing, I’ll pay £X for you to publish this on a right hand page”. The sales people are probably all on commission and, if they have spare space, this is a bonus for them. Otherwise they’d have to find a way to fill the space, so you’re doing them a favour.

Also don’t get dragged into the “a run of 12 will cost you less”. These people are salespeople, and sometimes, very good ones, so hold your ground. Try one ad, even if it costs you a bit more, and Test It.

If this works for you, it might be worth considering talking to a media buyer. It won’t cost you anything, but they’ll take a cut of the savings, and will almost certainly save you money, though you may need to do a reasonable volume of ads before they’ll consider assisting you.

Ad Location

The position of your ad is critical. Generally speaking, front and back pages will get the biggest number of eyeballs, but balance this against the inevitable higher cost. If you get a position inside, always go for a right hand page.

Consider trying a small ad in black and white. If it works you can always make it bigger and upgrade to colour. Remember it’s all about ROI (Return on Investment), not just cost.