Local online ads persuade shoppers more than ads in other forms of media. That's the conclusion of a study released in April 2005 by the Dieringer Research Group. According to the report, How Consumers Use Media to Make Local Purchase Decisions, local online shoppers reported that the internet influenced at least seven of their purchases in the fourth quarter of 2004, while newspapers were an influential factor for just 3.5 purchases and local TV ads affected only 2 buying decisions. Although television and radio are considered informative, two out of three online shoppers specifically research local stores and services online.
Advertising on movie screens is now available to entrepreneurs in most communities nationwide. A study published in April 2005 that was conducted by TNS and sponsored by Screenvision found that moviegoers who saw in-theater ads were 44 percent more likely to remember them than consumers who saw ads for the same products or services on television. The two predominant sales units for cinema advertising are Screenvision and National CineMedia, and rates are based on a weekly cost-per-screen for advertising slides that are displayed during the pre-show. If your local theater has 10 screens, you may pay as little as $25 weekly per screen ($1,000 dollars per month) to reach all moviegoers who see every movie in that theater.
According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, Hispanic buying power is projected to reach $778 billion this year. And the Hispanic Opinion Tracker, a study published by People en Espanol in July 2005, revealed that Hispanics index high for the usage of beauty products and are major consumers of clothing and accessories. The report states that "56 percent of Hispanics love to shop vs. 39 percent of the general population." Entrepreneurs targeting the Hispanic market should focus on branding efforts, as Hispanic women are loyal to brands they know and trust, even if they cost a bit more.
Open rates have declined over just one year ago, according to data released in mid-September by ad serving company DoubleClick. Open rates in the second three months of the year dropped to 27.5 percent, down from 36 percent in the second quarter of 2004. Much of this decline may be due to new image-blocking measures put in place by e-mail clients and ISPs, which prevent e-mails from being read. The good news is conversions and orders per e-mail are up (about 28 percent and 18 percent respectively), making permission-based e-mail marketing a smart, effective tactic.
Advertising on cable television is newly accessible and affordable, thanks to major companies such as Comcast, which serves areas from Los Angeles to Miami and offers low-cost production for local advertisers through its Comcast Spotlight division. The advantage of cable TV advertising is that you can select programming that's of special interest to your unique target audience. From gardening and auto maintenance to history programming, viewers who are engaged in the shows they're watching are more likely to remember your spot. And advertising is available in zones, allowing you to reach just a part of a single metro area or several cities.
The Direct Marketing Association's 2004 Response Rate Report studied data on how 1,406 campaigns from 25 industries used 12 different media. Dimensional mail (typically in a box or tube) averaged a higher overall response rate than flat direct mail, pulling a 5.49 percent response rate compared to flat mail's 2.73 percent. The catalog industry average was 2.45 percent, and e-mail had an average response rate of just 1.12 percent, although its low cost made it index among the highest for return on investment. Entrepreneurs targeting highly qualified, small B2B audiences can successfully use dimensional mail to cost effectively get past screeners and make a strong impression on key decision makers.
Behaviors of the Blogosphere, a study by comScore Networks released in August 2005, revealed 50 million U.S. internet users visited blog sites in the first quarter of the year. These visitors were 11 percent more likely than the average internet user to have incomes of $75,000 or more, 30 percent more likely to live in households where the head is 18 to 34 years old, and 30 percent more likely to buy products or services online. In fact, the report showed the average blog visitor who shopped online spent approximately 6 percent more than the average online buyer. Together, these characteristics make blog readers an attractive target audience.
Novice media buyers often erroneously believe that frequency is the number of times a single ad runs. Instead, it's the number of times your unique target audience is expected to actually see your ad. For example, most of a magazine's subscribers won't see every page of every issue. That's why it's essential to advertise more than once to achieve a frequency of one--even if you're using a full-page ad--and continue advertising with sufficient frequency for your message to penetrate.
In the Consumer Intentions and Actions survey released in March 2005 by BIGresearch, seventy-five percent of consumers said they conduct online research before buying off-line. So if you're a brick-and-mortar retailer with an online presence, this underscores the need to make the shopping experience customers have on your website mirror the positive experiences they enjoy in your store. If you sell solely online, it's essential to capture and hold the interest of shoppers by providing in-depth information, on-site search, product photos, online customer service and multiple payment options. Incentives such as free shipping also work to ensure shoppers complete their purchases on your site.
Place-based media, or what the industry calls "alternative out-of-home," goes anywhere and everywhere consumers do. The best place-based media venues reach your prospects when they're in a position to buy what you sell or are in the right frame of mind to be receptive to your message. You can reach exercisers at the gym, businesspeople on their way to work or pet owners--by acquiring naming rights--on the local hiking trail. The options for place-based media are almost limitless.
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