For whatever it’s worth: here’s a copy of an ad that my firm is currently putting out in one of the local papers down here in the Florida Keys.
I realize there is a fine line between blabbing on endlessly about yourself and trying to help other folks out, but in case the ad below helps spark any ideas for anyone else considering running something in a local paper, here ya go.
Hopefully the fact that for some strange reason in the little circular portrait below I look like a nuke went off in my lap makes it a little less self-promotional than it might otherwise be. The real version of the ad is pre-nuke. And, again, my firm is located in the Florida Keys, which I hope explains the “Jimmy Buffett” reference.
Advertising and marketing your firm and your fund are huge subjects to get into, and I am in many ways still dialing in on the best way to do it. I plan to put much more emphasis on online marketing for my fund in the future, and I’ll pick up on that theme again soon. When I do, someone please remind me to talk more about local economies of scale and the costs of acquiring new investors. Until then, some notes on the ad itself, for what they’re worth:
1 – I am a cheapskate, particularly when it comes to advertising. Thus, this ad will be small when it prints in the paper (2 columns by 4 inches across) and in black and white. We don’t need no stinking color. It’s going into a small circulation paper in what is by far the wealthiest area of the Keys. (Think Forbes 400.) By agreeing to run an ad twice a month for a full quarter, I get a rate of about $325 per month (I only advertise seasonally). And yes, it’s painful to spend. I try to convince myself it’s an investment, but it always feels like an expense. Newspaper ads are probably the least effective thing I do in terms of making the phone ring. However…
2 – People in town notice them. I hear about people’s impressions of these ads at the grocery store, gas station, local restaurants, etc. So, prospects don’t pick up the phone when they see the ads, but they have been good for me in terms of getting attention in the anecdotal sense. I hate that those sorts of results are unquantifiable, but it is what it is. I just try not to spend a ton on these ads.
3 – I have tried many different approaches when creating the ad itself – everything from including performance charts to giving away a free report. There is no magic formula. I’d lump this particular ad into the “brand-building” category, as opposed to, say, direct response. It’s also a very legitimate topic to debate whether I should be spending any money on “branding” at all, and instead be focused just on gripping, grinning and selling…but, well, that stuff exhausts me.
4 – That the ad looks kinda simple and cheap is okay with me. I really want to just get on the radar screen of the “millionaire next door” kind of investor…not the type of guy who is impressed with flashy full page color ads of a couple staring solemnly at a sunset or something.
5 – This is not an ad I ran through my compliance guys or lawyer ahead or time. There really was no need to. When it comes to advertising performance of a Spoke Fund®, though, different ball game. More on that later.
Any other thoughts on traditional advertising?