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March 29, 2015


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Hi Isabelle

Your experience is typical of so many people i speak to. The sales staff can be very persuasive and the stats look impressive. The problem is it is difficult to measure the reality of how many people visit your website unless you use something like Google Analytics.

Some of my bigger clients now use dedicated phone numbers for each advert. As they go through the switchboard they get mapped back to Google Analytics even though the people concerned didn't go to the website .. technology is clever!

For smaller companies it is harder to do this .. but not impossible. And as you experienced it is easy just to ask/note where enquiries come from.

In your case I suspect Facebook ads would work much better than local papers or magazines. You can target very effectively and you can measure response by age, gender etc.

Isabelle McInally

Hi Stefan,

Another really good post. I'd like to add a little of my own experience to back it up.

I had resisted for many years to advertise into paying directories and magazines but decided to give it a cautious go last year. Directory A, called me with a "super deal": a 1/8th page advertisement for a whole year for just over £650 in three different areas with local numbers for potential clients to call and an online presence as well as the advert in their printed directory. I wanted to expand my market into new areas and decided it was probably the best option at the time, to target three distinct new towns.

To cut the story short, the advertising only got me three inquiries over the whole year, one by phone and two by email, which I successfully turned into clients. However, I only earned just a little more than half the money I paid for the advert.

The most interesting thing are the figures they sent me to back up their renewal request at the end of the year. I had apparently appeared in over 600 page inquiries that year, of which over 60 people had called me. This was "well above" the norm and demonstrated that my advertising was highly successful. I do not know how they get their figures from but I doubt that 59 people tried to call me while I was not there and never left a single message with my answering service.

As for Magazine B, I advertised over the whole of Scotland for half a year and got one call which did not end in any deal.

I would never go back into such advertising, not unless I have money to throw away. It might work for some particular services such as plumbers, chimney sweepers, gardeners... but it did not for me as a photographer.

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