Advertise more to fewer people |

Advertise more to fewer people

Kelly CoffeyVail, CO, Colorado

It would be nice to have the resources of Proctor & Gamble or Nike to saturate the market every day in every advertising medium. Unfortunately, the rest of us cant do that because of budget restraints.Instead, we need to play it smart when it comes to placing our ads. With limited advertising resources, we need to ask the question: Should I speak to as many people as possible, or speak to a few people many times? This quantity-or-quality dilemma can also be summed up as frequency versus reach.The key is to understand the differences between frequency and reach. Then you can figure out how to put them to use to accomplish your goals. Frequency is the number of times your ad will appear. Reach is how many people will see one of your ads. For example, if 5,000 people hear your radio ad five times, your reach is 5,000 people. Your frequency is five times.Its a common perception that the more people you reach, the more will buy your product. Therefore, why not advertise once everywhere you can? Youre bound to hit every person in Eagle County, right? But will that one-time ad turn any people into customers?Take Robert. He knows he needs to retire his old cell phone and get a new one. Hes been putting it off as his busy life gets in the way. He hears a radio commercial for your cell phone store, and although it reminds him that he should get a cell phone, he doesnt act on it because hes too busy. Nor is he particularly inclined to buy it from your store over a local competitor or a website.As he continues to hear your ad on his favorite radio station, he starts to plan on buying a new phone. Your ads become more memorable to him, and he starts to develop a loyalty to your store. At some point, after hearing your ad a number of times, he finally takes action, stopping by your store on his way home from work. How many times did Robert need to hear your ad? It takes an average of nine impressions (one person seeing your message once) to convert someone who had never heard of you into a paying customer. You have to win his trust.To make matters worse, only one out of every three ads that person sees will register with him. That means you have to expose someone 27 times to your message before he will do anything. Pretty bleak, eh?Dont lead 100 people only partway down the sales path (high reach, low frequency). Rather, lead 10 people all the way to the sale (low reach, high frequency).In order to stretch your budget, think about what advertising mediums are most likely to reach your target customers. Hit your target hard there. Keep your frequency high in the mediawhere you place your ads. As your business grows with the new customers, you can then afford to increase your reach. Kelly Coffey is the founder of Harebrained Marketing, a firm that specializes in connecting local businesses with local customers. Reach him at or 926-0888. For more marketing tips, resources, and to sign up for his newsletter, visit

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