Should your field service company bother with print advertising in 2019?By My Service Depot on Friday, November 9, 2018
In this high tech world, does print advertising still serve a worthwhile purpose?
When you conduct so much of your business online, offline advertising seems like ancient history. Should your company even bother with print media? Or should you go full steam ahead with online advertising strategies like SEO, social media, and pay-per-click ads, completely ignoring print media?
The answer depends entirely on the industry in question and its target audience. Here’s how to decide whether print media makes sense for your company.
Does your target audience use print media?
Your company should invest in print advertisements only if your target audience will see them. So, before you make a decision about offline marketing, first you must have a solid answer to one question; who is your target audience?
If you can’t immediately answer that question, start doing audience research and creating buyer personas (essentially demographic profiles of the kind of person who would buy what you sell). These activities help keep all of your advertising efforts on track.
Examples of Print Media Users
Unless you sell a service that caters exclusively to a younger age group (unlikely in the home service industry), a significant percentage of your target audience likely still uses print media.
For example, people of an older age still reach for the print version of the Yellow Pages when they need an HVAC company. People in higher income brackets and/or of a certain age still have physical newspapers delivered to their door each day, which means you could advertise in the classifieds or purchase prime advertising space next to articles.
On the other hand, younger people likely recycle the Yellow Pages as soon as it lands on their doorstep, because Googling businesses makes far more sense to the generations that grew up with the internet. Likewise, people in lower income brackets may feel that a newspaper subscription represents an unnecessary expense when they can get their news elsewhere.
As a service business, your target audience primarily consists of homeowners and landlords. This suggests that many of your clients fall into the category of “likely to use print media” due to their age. Next, consider your geographic service area. What’s the economic status of most of your clients? As explained above, this factor also influences print media subscriptions, such as newspapers and magazines.
Carefully Consider Advertising in Magazines
Speaking of magazines, perhaps you have daydreamed about having a glossy, full-page advertisement in a prominent magazine. You would probably feel like your company had “made it big” if you could accomplish such a feat, since those spots don’t come cheap!
But would such an ad waste your hard-earned money? Unless you choose the magazine itself with careful consideration for your target audience, then yes, it could easily serve you about as well as flushing money down the toilet.
Field service companies should consider advertising in local magazines versus national ones. Most major cities have several different local publications, from magazines to newsletters. National publications may reach a large number of people, but how many of them will actually live in your service area? Think specific.
Trade magazines represent the major exception to the rule in terms of avoiding national outlets. But field service companies must still tread carefully when placing advertisements here. Once again, you need to think about your target audience. Do you intend to have your advertisement reach homeowners who require your services? This audience probably has no interest in reading a magazine intended for service contractors. However, if you’re hiring HVAC technicians, advertising job opportunities in a trade magazine or member journal can help you reach prospective candidates.
Other Print Advertising Methods
Although print advertising can indeed represent an expensive investment, don’t get caught up in the thought that you can’t afford any print advertising at all.
For example, each of your HVAC technicians should carry business cards or even brochures. These materials make it easy for satisfied customers to share your company’s information with friends and family, or to easily call you again should the need arise.
Considering your local audience, you might even create brochures or flyers to hand out at local events. This grassroots advertising method cements your company’s name within the fabric of the community and uses printed materials to allow potential customers to carry your name home with them.
Don’t forget that you can combine print and online advertising by adding QR codes to anything you print. You can have the QR code lead to a special landing page with discounts or other special offers. Or, you could use the code as a painless way for people to get to your company’s Facebook page, which they can “like” in order to enter a drawing. You can even point the QR code to a specific URL (that’s otherwise unreachable) to accurately track the effectiveness and ROI of the ad.
You don’t need to appear in huge national publications to harness the power of print advertising. Start asking yourself, “Who am I trying to reach, and what printed publications do they read?” This question will lead you down the right path every time, even if that path directs you toward no printed media whatsoever.