Working with entrepreneurs, it never ceases to amaze me how many of them get taken for a ride when it comes to advertising. Like all businesses, when it comes to advertising companies there are the good, bad and downright ugly! The problem is that there are no regulative bodies governing advertisers. Nowadays anyone can set up as an advertising company, ranging from a local magazine to an internet marketing agency, but what do you really know about them?
Most entrepreneurs’ first point of contact with an advertiser comes via the telephone. Here you will be given all sorts of promises, from the number of readers their publication gets, or how high they can get you up on Google search results or the number of leads your advert will generate. But, can you really believe their businesses claims? How do you know if they are telling the truth? The answer is you can’t and you don’t! There is only one way to be sure that you’re not handing your money over to a crook and that is to do your own research!
The first thing you need to do is request a copy of the thing they want you to advertise in, whether it be a brochure, magazine, calendar, menu or whatever crazy thing they have come up with. If they don’t have one or it’s, “brand new” then be very wary. Personally if they were a new company, I would not use them.
The next thing to do is have a look for an advert which is similar to your business, but not in direct competition e.g. if I was a plumber I would look for an electrician’s advert. I would then contact the electrician and say to him that I was thinking about advertising in the magazine and does he get much business from it? I have used this method time and time again and have had numerous responses from “We get loads of business from it, our customers always mention the magazine” to “Oh my God, don’t use them, we are taking them to court!”. See why this method can be useful?
One thing is constant; I always get a friendly response and have even got business from the conversation. As long as you are not in direct competition with them I find people are willing to help and have even recommended other advertising companies they use.