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Hard copy advertising?



7:54 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am a newbie...so please forgive me if this has been covered. :-)

Has anyone had success with advertising their e-commerce site in niche magazines?

I am having a debate with one of the owners regarding where to best place advertising monies. I say advertising online would be better since the business is only online at this point. He wants to advertise in niche magazines.



7:59 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Listen to him (or her). But be prepared for one heck of a huge bandwidth spike and then a drop back. This assumes, of course, that you have a very attractive premise and an ad that can sell it...and that your niche isn't already saturated.

But, there is no reason not to do both.



11:17 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My advice to anyone would be to advertise online only where you can measure the Return On Inventment (ROI), and tweak what you do in real-time to ensure it remains positive. Advertising online with affiliate programs and PPC can be measured to show the cost and the benefit to the business.

In one of the industries I'm involved in, the companies that advertise in magazines and newspapers tend to be the ones that go bust! You can keep spending more and more on adverts and have no real idea of what effect its having, and the sales rep will keep saying you keep just need to be in a few more editions to get the right effect and it will all turn round etc.. Generally, it won't.

Unless you have a very special offer or a totally unique product that you can put at low rate in a niche magazine and can afford for it to generate *no* sales, then stick to spending your advertising "budget" online for now until you can justify spending money on unmeasurable "branding"..



11:57 am on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I am web only and I advertise in niche magazines. I don't get a huge spike when the magazine comes out (I wish!), but it brings in new people who don't spend much time on the web and/or who don't have a computer. Also, I have gotten more customers from a little 1" ad in the classified section of a medium-sized magazine in my niche than I got from a 1/6 page ad in a small but more targeted magazine. The little 1" ad costs twice as much as the 1/6 page ad but it is worth it.


1:14 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It depends on the industry. I advertised in a niche trade magazine for retailers looking for wholesale accounts and got a good response to it. With wholesale accounts, they expect to be asked a lot of questins to establish their identity so I can easily find out where they found out about my site. I have toyed with advretising in some more retail oriented magazines, but it is harder to track retail sales back to the source.


1:17 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

julesn is correct in that tracking is essential. We use a different toll-free for every advertising option so that we know what ad is producing. This is a little more difficult when directing visitors to a website. We track by a simple question during checkout since it's more imortant for us to brand with our main URL.

If you can't track it in some fashion don't do it.



5:10 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've been taking part in the same discussion on a different forum, one for uk businesses. The general consensus was that offline advertising wasn't so good. Partly you have to explain to the owner that to get an actual response the customer must sit down, with the magazine page and type in the url. Do you think they are interested enough to do this. I believe in some instances they are. I have done so when looking for furniture and am about to do it for some short story competitions - so if your niche is a hobby, rather than say, an office stationary company, then it might work.

As part of the other discussion someone posted the following figures and so I've pasted them in below, I think the original source is an advert but please remember the source here is just another forum discussion:

Some Of The Most Reliable, 3rd Party Sources Available
According to a Forrester Research Media Field Study, getting a loyal audience in the first place is best done by Search Engine Placement.

According to Georgia Tech's Graphics, Visualization And Usability survey, 84.8% of Internet users use search engines to find websites.

In a recent ActivMedia Research study, Search Engine Positioning was ranked #1 website promotional method used by ecommerce sites.

Search engines create more awareness about websites than all advertising combined ó including banners, newspapers, TV and radio (as reported by IMT Strategies, a division of the Meta Group).

And look what was found in a recent issue of Target Marketing Magazine...
Top Ways Websites Are Discovered"

Banner ads

Targeted email

TV spots

"By accident"

Magazine ads


Random Surfing

Search Engines


6:04 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

B2B may have more traction than B2C. However, I would exhaust the online channel first, then go offline. Expect the offline advertising to be more brand building than convertible traffic generation.


4:21 pm on Jul 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think advertising of the particular site depends upon the targeted customers and the particular market segments; it also depends upon the demographically set-up, style and culture of particular area.

When millions of online advertisements are flooding into the ad market, it is practically very difficult to choose a cost effective way for an advertisement. You shall agree that Plenty of cost to the advertisement is going waste might be due to wrong media selection or many different factors involving it. Itís really sad.

Hence implementing a traditional method of advertisement is not bad as it's still most cost effective way to promote your business.

Usually magazine has a shelf life at least for 15 days to 30 days, the readers come back and read it again and again, each time they read your advertisement are exposed to them.

Overall I think that the idea of advertising in niche magazines might be cost effective way to promote your business.


3:09 am on Jul 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I tried it a year ago, blew $1500 on a full page ad. The ad was rushed and didnt come out at all how I wanted. I didn't see any increase in sales. Although I got maybe 20 calls over the course of a few months from people who read that magazine and wanted me to send them a catalog because they don't have a computer, or their computer is broken... And I don't have a print catalog.

I'm not saying I will never try print ads again, but this is just one bad experience.


11:25 am on Jul 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think it is better to spend less per issue and have more issues come out with your ad in it. Repetition familiarizes people with your biz, makes you seem more legit, and people are reminded, "Oh yeah, I wanted to call them." I have a running ad for $100 in every issue (bimonthly) and I am getting a decent response from it. What's especially important to me is that I am getting customers who don't use the Internet very much, if at all.


5:30 am on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes repetition is very important to sustain your presence in particular advertisement campaign. However its also necessary to calculate the CPM and ROI.

For determining the actual cost for your target market you should implement this formula to avoid wastage on ad cost.

CPM= (cost of advertisement*1000) / total circulation

Thereafter you can asses the further cost factor which can apply for the target market circulation as below;

CPM-TM = (cost of advertisement*1000) / interacting target market

CPM- cost per thousand, TM- trade market.


5:25 pm on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am glad to see other people are having the same debate...thank you all for the validation that I am not totally insane! :-)

*If* we do go with the magazine advertising I will be sure to track the ROI.

Thanks agin for the input.


5:45 pm on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Although there is value to hard copy ads, in our experience they don't tend to pan out even in niche mags (yes, we track results and have repeated ads, tested the creatives, etc).

Just my 2 cents:

1. Make sure you can afford the ads even if it pulled zero (yes - zero) sales. Most ad reps hint "2 million readers, if 1% are interested, then it's 20,000 people, if 0.1% then it's 2000 people." Well, most likely it'll be much less than that)

2. Negotiate and negotiate hard - ask for remnant space. Most mags will have them, and it's considerably cheaper. Never settle for rate card rates.

Good luck & let us know how it goes!


5:14 am on Aug 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm a wholesaler, strictly B2B. My product happens to be a good one for flea market resellers, so I advertise in free little flea market newspapers. The ads are cheap enough that a single purchase out of 10,000 readers pretty much breaks me even.

I like to buy the smallest ads possible in as many different relevant, targeted publications as I can find, rather than big ads in fewer places. I call it the "Little Bombs" campaign, and it evolved out of the limitations of having to make the most of a tiny, tight ad budget. I see no need to change that strategy now by going for full page ads or whatever. If your audience is into what you offer, I figure they'll take notice, regardless of size.

If not, maybe you need a more appealing product... Ideally your product line should be self-evident and pretty much sell itself, so your job is only to bring it to people's attention and let fate take care of the rest. It's up to you to make as creative and eye-catching an ad as possible within the size constraints, that's all; it's your creative challenge. I also negotiate better on-page positioning, and a lower rate, by using full advance payment for one year as the bargaining chip.

Ad people try to tell me repetition is the key. Whatever. If their circulation is by subscription to the same base every month, I only hit once and maybe I might do it again one year later. I'm off to find virgin territory, fresh new eyeballs. I think I smell a rat when they feed me that old saw about repetition -- consider the source.

My product sells well at the mid to high range too, so I also advertise in trade publications aimed at regular retailers. Particularly effective was this twist: instead of another print ad on one of the magazine's pages, I printed 25,000 glossy cardstock full-color cards and had them blown in. Customers get to take away & stash the card for later reference.

For contact info, all my ads list only the website name, plus some kind of 'check us out' call to action. The ads don't show a phone number, so I don't get any phone calls requesting a paper catalogue (I don't have them anymore, and good riddance).

All in all, I believe that for me, print advertising has been quite effective.


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