There are many print options for marketing and the final decision depends on the market you’re targeting: if it’s business-to-business, the trade press should be your destination; if it's business-to-consumer and you want to reach a local audience, nothing beats the local paper and free sheets. Magazine advertising also depends on your market – if you’re selling a niche product, a specialist magazine will be more effective than a general one. However, if you're aiming for the mass market, a general interest magazine should be your first port of call.
Many believe paid-for magazines and newspapers are more effective channels than free ones, as the consumer has shown commitment by purchasing the publication. At the end of the day, it comes down to which you trust: the free paper that lands on the doormat, or a publication that is established and paid for. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules – the only real way to test the theory is to test the market.
As with all advertising, you should start small and see if the ad sales pitch matches the reality. If there's a good take-up following the ad, you can move things up a notch but if it doesn't work, put it on the back burner. You may be able to negotiate a discount by biding your time and waiting for the sales team to come back to you. Additionally, a failed first attempt can also be a good way of getting a discount second time around.
Print advertising costs are based on the number of colours in the advert, its size, and the number and profile of the readers of the publication. You get discounts for advanced bookings and for booking a number of adverts at one time, with the costs varying from tens of pounds to thousands.
Online marketing is similar to print, particularly when it comes to advertising on websites. If you're looking for local customers, local sites are best. Likewise, if you want to target the B2B market, go directly to niche trade sites.
With websites, advertising costs depend on the advert size, the number of blocks of 1,000 impressions the advert takes up (aka CPM), and where on the site the ad is placed. You will be quoted in pounds per CPM and for a large, busy site you will need to buy big: prices can vary enormously. The actual advert design depends on your ingenuity and the size of your wallet. Static banner advertising still works, but you can use tools like Flash to create interactive advertising, or incorporate video into your ads.
If budgets are tight, affiliate marketing is a cost-effective, online advertising opportunity, as you only pay for your advertising if it's successful. An affiliate advert can be a banner or a logo – or even a link through to a page on your site – which is then used by publishers who sign up to the affiliate scheme. If an end-user clicks on the advert or the link and buys something from your site, you pay a percentage of the sale to the publisher, normally a month or so after the sale.
Search is another cost effective way to advertise, as you only pay when someone clicks through, and the effects are instant. It's like a customer tap: switch it on and you get clicks instantly (as long as your advertising is compelling enough), or switch off the adverts and your customers disappear.
With search you are restricted to text and basic graphics for your advertising but unlike online, you don't pay for an advert view – you only pay when a user clicks on the advert, which is known as cost per click (CPC).
The costs for search vary from tens of pence to tens of pounds: the amount you pay is decided by your marketing budget and the search engine bidding system. This looks at millions of adverts and places the most appropriate – and highest potential earning – adverts in millionths of seconds. Your payment depends on the search terms (aka keywords and key phrases) that you want your advert to appear next to. For example, if you sell deckchairs, relevant search terms could include ‘seaside’, ‘garden loungers’ or ‘garden furniture’. When someone performs a Google search for ‘garden furniture’, if your advert is appropriate and your bid is high enough, your advert will appear. However, you will only be charged if the user actually clicks on the advert.
Television advertising is no longer the expensive deal it once was. The sheer number of channels on cable, fibre, and Freesat and Freeserve, means each channel has to work harder for every viewer and they can no longer charge a premium just for existing. However, while advertising costs have come down, entry costs are still much higher than in other medium. Producing a television advert is still expensive, which is why many advertisers look to animated ads to provide a solution – there are no actors, no casting and no expensive film crews to pay.
Exact costs for advertising depend on the numbers of viewers watching the programme, and the time of day. Peak viewing times are in the evenings so this is when adverts are most expensive.
Radio advertising is particularly popular for businesses looking for a local audience. Unlike television you can't fast forward through the adverts, and if you have an arresting slogan or tune in your advert, listeners – and potential consumers – will have it running around their heads all day.
Costs for radio advertising are generally low: a script, an optional jingle and a voiceover performer are all you need. Exact costs will depend on the listenership, the time of day, and the programmes the adverts feature in.
Peak times are different to those on television: the morning and afternoon commuter shows are the most expensive times, and any time between nine and five in the working week is liable to be more expensive than the evening.
For more information on sales and marketing see our Saatchi and Saatchi Masterclass.