Newspaper ads in community newspapers

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Dec 17, 2006 3:57 am

Howdy,



I'm wondering if anyone has success with putting down ads in local community newspapers as a way of drumming up business?



I'm thinking of purchasing a 3 month run for a 4x4inch advertisement.



Any thoughts on


Advertising copy
Graphic design


Include personal photo?
Ads that you've liked or disliked.

I know that one of the local AMP reps does newspaper advertising, but
he uses an ad from the national office, and frankly its not a very good
one. (The one about AMP having the most CFP's)


Dec 17, 2006 4:34 pm

For my area, South Georgia, it's an expensive proposition with little return, so I don't do it. (Maybe it's because we have a low rate of literacy.) I receive a better response from direct mail. However, you might just try the ads in your area for a few months to gauge your ad response rate. Who knows, it might work.


Also, contact your wholesaler to see if they would kick-in some of the cost. However, they're probably going to require you run their ad. But running their ad (with your name inserted) might be cost effective for you.


The secret to marketing in this business, is to try most anything, at least once (but never for long term), and be able to measure the response rate. If it works, then you can commit to long term marketing.

Dec 17, 2006 5:21 pm

Thanks Doberman,



Part of my action plan for 2007 was to do more advertising, and
especially niche advertising. I plan to put ads the alumni magazines of
the local universities, yearly program for the symphony/ballet and so
forth.



Part of me is having some gruesome thoughts about running a "Disasstisified with your financial advisor" campaign.



The wholesaler idea is a very good one, I'm glad you thought of it.



I'm also wondering if anyone has had sucess with plugging target date retirement funds or if any other themes resonate.

Dec 17, 2006 7:28 pm

Muni bond fund-type ads work well around tax time, since everyone is already thinking about taxes.


Also, take a cue from the major advertisers in Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, etc., and advertise with the same theme that you see in these publications. Investment companies have multi-million dollar ad budgets and they have conducted extensive market research. If you see a bunch of "target-date" retirement fund-type ads, then it must be an opportune time to advertise with that theme.


In addition, if a company in your area announces a major layoff, you can advertise with "401k rollover" themes. If the market is tanking, you can advertise "broker CD's", new issue bonds, and/or value-oriented funds. So on and so forth... 


Dec 17, 2006 9:28 pm
doberman:

Muni bond fund-type ads work well around tax time, since everyone is already thinking about taxes.

That's a very good idea. Could be good for a seminar as well. One
thing that is very interesting is that a few municipalities are issuing

muni TIPS that are inflation protected.


Muni MMF's/VRDN's are also a good choice for conservative investors.


[quote]Also, take a cue from the major advertisers in Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, etc., and advertise with the same theme that
you see in these publications. Investment companies have multi-million
dollar ad budgets and they have conducted extensive market research. If
you see a bunch of "target-date" retirement fund-type ads, then it must
be an opportune time to advertise with that theme.


All very good ideas. Something I do already, but should redo as
well. I used to keep a scrapbook of all the finanicial ads that I
liked, to get a sense of what worked.


Unfortunatly most of the ads I'm seeming are the classic Image ads
(Look for the right lighthouse etc) or touting performance and
morningstars.


[quote]In addition, if a company in your area announces a major
layoff, you can advertise with "401k rollover" themes. If the market is
tanking, you can advertise "broker CD's", new issue bonds, and/or
value-oriented funds. So on and so forth.


All very good ideas.  Broker CD's make for obviously good ads.


Could you describe any thoughts on advertising value
funds/investments. (I'm guessing its best to use a wholesalers
materials). This is my natural investment style. I'm seeing alot more
interest in dividends, so its very easy to suggest buying equity
income/utility funds.


I've found that value funds appeal to a sophisticated investor
group, often people who are willing to handle investments by themselves.



Dec 18, 2006 12:44 am

Ok that was a productive time at B&N looking at "money" magazines.



Seems like is being promoted these days is.


Target Date funds
Asset Allocation funds

Oddly, I'm not seeing companies promote things like gold and REIT funds, so maybe perfomance chasing is dead?  
Dec 18, 2006 9:33 am

I advertised in our town's newspaper for 6 months straight. It is published twice a week, and every other Saturday I had an "article," and I ran an ad the other Saturdays.  I received NO response from this. I then picked a pool of a few hundred names and mailed them something with my picture on it (postcard, flier, newsletter) EVERY month (ie, a Drip campaign).  I didn't hear anything the first few months, but after about four months the calls started.  It wasn't a flood, but over about 10 months, I got 3 nice clients out of it.  I would have had a real nice client, but when I was at Jones I couldn't compete with a managed ETF lineup at 1.25%/yr (I can now), so I lost the business.


Again, not a homerun (not even a triple or a double), but that worked better than newspaper advertising. I would guess that a decent list targeted to your market that you drip on monthly with direct mail will pay for itself faster than an ad in the paper.

Dec 18, 2006 10:00 am
AllREIT:

Ok that was a productive time at B&N looking at "money" magazines.



Seems like is being promoted these days is.


Target Date funds
Asset Allocation funds

Oddly, I'm not seeing companies promote things like gold and REIT funds, so maybe perfomance chasing is dead?  




My guess is that you would have more success advertising yourself and what you can do for people, rather than advertising products.

That being said, I also think that newspaper advertising is mostly a waste, because the majority of the people reading the ad probably aren't even qualified to be clients.

Dec 18, 2006 11:00 am
mktsystms:
AllREIT:

Ok that was a productive time at B&N looking at "money" magazines.



Seems like is being promoted these days is.


Target Date funds
Asset Allocation funds

Oddly, I'm not seeing companies promote things like gold and REIT funds, so maybe perfomance chasing is dead?  




My guess is that you would have more success advertising yourself and what you can do for people, rather than advertising products.

That being said, I also think that newspaper advertising is mostly a waste, because the majority of the people reading the ad probably aren't even qualified to be clients.



Yep, and that's before you even account for the fact that newspaper circulation is declining nationwide because more and more people are getting their news from the internet...

Dec 18, 2006 2:19 pm
now_indy:

I advertised in our town's newspaper for 6 months
straight. It is published twice a week, and every other Saturday I had
an "article," and I ran an ad the other Saturdays.  I received NO
response from this. I then picked a pool of a few hundred names and
mailed them something with my picture on it (postcard, flier,
newsletter) EVERY month (ie, a Drip campaign).  I didn't hear
anything the first few months, but after about four months the calls
started.  It wasn't a flood, but over about 10 months, I
got 3 nice clients out of it.  I would have had a real nice
client, but when I was at Jones I couldn't compete with a
managed ETF lineup at 1.25%/yr (I can now), so I lost the business.

Again, not a homerun (not even a triple or a double), but that
worked better than newspaper advertising. I would guess that a decent
list targeted to your market that you drip on monthly with direct mail
will pay for itself faster than an ad in the paper.

Ok, I've never done direct mail like this. But this does sound like
a good idea. (Almost all my business is referal based, but I would like
to grow a bit and meet new people, and then mine them for referrals.)



How exactly do you go about doing this as an independant? (I really know nothing of direct mail)



I'm thinking of a postcard with my photo and little bit about managing
investments to reach their goals. Then on the back I would have check
boxes with broad topics, and a place for them to put their contact
info.


Dec 18, 2006 3:57 pm
joedabrkr:


Yep, and that's before you even account for the
fact that newspaper circulation is declining nationwide because more
and more people are getting their news from the internet...





I wouldn't be so quick about that. The community newspaper business is
doing well. It's the larger national city papers that are taking it on
the chin. No one wants to read papers like the NYT that make up the
news or trumpet a viewpoint that 75% of the populations doesn't share.



But even then for example in major cities the "Metro" is doing very
very well. Look at GHS as an example of a profitable newspaper company
focused on community papers.



I'll keep looking into this, but I think I'm going to investigate
direct mail as well. At the very least, a run of 1K post cards
shouldn't be too expensive and they would be useful to have in any
case.



Has anyone tried advertising in alumni magazines, and if so did that work?

Dec 18, 2006 4:25 pm

I've done a fair amount of newspaper ads w/o much luck (and a lot of cost).  I ran a 4x4 ad once and my assistant never even saw it paging through the paper, and she was looking for it!  Do you ever notice ads when you're reading the paper, other than when your contemplating running an ad yourself? 


However, in a small community with a true local newspaper you may be able to become "known" by running a regular ad.  Here are a few tips if you decide to go this route:


1) If you are expecting a direct response, your only hope is to run a rate of return (CD, bond, muni) and hope it peaks a rate shoppers interest. 


2) If you don't run a rate, then your goal should be long term name/brand recognition through regularly run ads.   


3) Run the ad in the same place every time, in a place where people can't help but see it (banner at bottom of front page, right next to a popular regular column, etc.).


4) Put your picture on the ad and either run the same ad or keep the same look to the ad.       


Dec 18, 2006 6:36 pm
vagabond:

I've done a fair amount of newspaper ads w/o much luck
(and a lot of cost).  I ran a 4x4 ad once and my assistant never
even saw it paging through the paper, and she was looking for it! 
Do you ever notice ads when you're reading the paper, other than when
your contemplating running an ad yourself?





I'm a little weird so I do notice ads. This comes from some background in market research.



However, in a small community with a true local newspaper you
may be able to become "known" by running a regular ad.  Here
are a few tips if you decide to go this route:

1) If you are expecting a direct response, your only hope is to run
a rate of return (CD, bond, muni) and hope it peaks a rate shoppers
interest. 

2) If you don't run a rate, then your goal should be long term
name/brand recognition through regularly run ads.   


3) Run the ad in the same place every time, in a place where people
can't help but see it (banner at bottom of front page, right next to a
popular regular column, etc.).

4) Put your picture on the ad and either run the same ad or keep the same look to the ad.


Absolutely right about keeping an ad in the same place and position.
When people are in an information gathering mode they will notice it,
as it is more familiar.


My goal is to become known in the local community above and beyond
my referral networks. I also thought about advertising the playbills
for school plays at affluent local high schools and some other idea's.
I just so much prefer the idea of warm/hot leads.


But the more I think about it, the more it seems that newspaper ads will have a low ROI if any.


For rate hunters, I guess I could do a promotion based on REIT
preferreds. These are alot of fun because the yields are high and they
are safer than they look as REITs must pay dividends. After a few
afternoons of research, you can have a nice little book of preferred
preferreds, and sell the hell out of them. "Higher dividends are
calling. Don't hang up!"


Most folks don't know about preferred stock though.


A professional photo will make sense and I'll need it anyways for my postcards.

Dec 18, 2006 8:26 pm

As for direct mail, I read about Ken Fisher's first direct mail campaign. It was in the mid-90's and he spent $5,000 on it. But the mailings did not consist of your typical business letter; but rather, an extra large, fancy envelope with professional stationary and brochures inside.


Apparently, it was a roaring success. Ken now has $4 billion in assets.


I have received his mailings and they are professionally done. The large envelope sticks out like a sore thumb, so you're tempted to open it, just to see what's inside. (Keep in mind, that part of his success at mailings come from recognition of his name from his regular column in Forbes and tv appearances, as well.)

Dec 18, 2006 9:42 pm
doberman:

As for direct mail, I read about Ken Fisher's first
direct mail campaign. It was in the mid-90's and he spent $5,000 on it.
But the mailings did not consist of your typical business
letter; but rather, an extra large, fancy envelope with professional
stationary and brochures inside.

Apparently, it was a roaring success. Ken now has $4 billion in assets.


I have received his mailings and they are professionally done. The
large envelope sticks out like a sore thumb, so you're tempted to open
it, just to see what's inside. (Keep in mind, that part of his success
at mailings come from recognition of his name from his regular column
in Forbes and tv appearances, as well.)


Wasn't it his Dad or Granddad that said stocks had reached a permanently high plateau in 1929?


This could be a very good idea for a prepack mailer to have ready to
send to warm leads. I would hate to think of the expense of makeing and
sending these out unless you had a really golden list. Perhaps
ML/GS/UBS/MS's current account list would justify it.


Guess I'll have to apply to Ken's website to see what his mailers look like.


Something similar happened to me in college as an undergrad. I was interviewing for a position at a very prestigious company.
The recruiter was a big donor to the department, and I even won a
scholarship named after his parents. I thought I hit it off well at the
interview.


Two days later I get this beautiful FedEx Overnight Envelope, the
tag said it cost $15.06 to mail it to me. This could only mean one
thing. So I treat myself to extravagant meal at the local vietnamese
joint (I ordered an appetizer to go with my main course).


he FedEx Envelope was my lovely dinner companion. After finishing
desert, but before paying the bill. I opened up the envelope. Inside
was single sheet of 100% cotton paper with the companies logo as
watermark.


Rejection!


I felt so sour for the rest of evening. But it was clear I was dealing with professionals. 

Dec 19, 2006 10:51 am

If its possible you could always run an ad targeting a specific service ( providing individual stock advice for example. This has been a lost service in the last few years. Also what dob said about looking at what Barrons is advertising is also a good idea. Of course banging the phones still works in some cases. The avg rate of conversion is 1.5 to 2 % . The way I look at is for every 100 calls you make ,you should find you 1-2 clients. They are out there . Cold Call every day maybe 100 at the most , community papers and a few other things and you are on your way.

Dec 19, 2006 2:31 pm

Help with picking stocks for the long run could be a very good theme.
But I wonder if most people who own single stocks would be too
self-directed to want full-service account.



I've found that Money/Kipligners etc to be consumer focused than
Barrons. The latest issue of time magazine had several ads from
Insurance companies hawking mutual funds. Probably as a front for
annuity sales.



Getting a telephone headset is also a plan for 2007.

Dec 19, 2006 3:08 pm

I ran some ads for a while w/CD rates.  Got a few calls but no new money.  Probably a waste of money in retrospect. 


Regarding the ad format, etc., you probably have preapproved ads to use on you system.  If not, I would imagine whatever you come up with will have to be ok'd by your compliance dept.

Dec 19, 2006 5:38 pm
Pandale:

I ran some ads for a while w/CD rates.  Got a
few calls but no new money.  Probably a waste of money in
retrospect. 





Hmmm, that the sort of thing, where I would think if you stuck to it it
could break even or develop value. Just getting warm incalls is a good
thing.



Problem is the local banks here are competing for deposits to say
nothing of etrade, and national banks so it's hard to show dramatically
higher rates.


Dec 19, 2006 8:19 pm

One way to trim mailing expenses is to use MF mailers. But first, determine what "theme" you want to use for your mailers, i.e., "tax-exempt bond" funds, "target-date" funds, etc. Then select your favorite fund and call the wholesaler to have them print the mailers for you - FREE OF CHARGE, of course. The wholesaler may even help with the postage, but don't get your hopes up. 


However, be forewarned, that the response rate is slim and none. Calling the mailing list, a few days after the mailers have been sent out, might improve your response rate.


Also, one cheap way to market yourself is to visit the library and bookstores, placing your business card in those books that might be checked-out by your target market. Or even better, hang around the investment section of the library/bookstore handing out your card to anyone who looks for those kinds of books.