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You’ve finally done it! You’ve started your business or revamped your service to satisfy your target customer. All you need now is to get the word out.

Your business has a quality product or service for a competitive price that would find remarkable success — if only your potential customer base knew about it.

So what the heck do you do?

We’ve had many posts in the past about the rise of inbound marketing and the fall of outbound marketing. (You should check them out here — they’re pretty awesome if I do say so myself)

But the sad Achille’s heel of inbound marketing is that if you lack a Internet presence or Internet marketing base, any results require quite a bit of time and work. (Work that’s totally worth it, by the way.)

This means that if you have an event or marketing message that must get to potential customers that you lack access to quickly, some old school, outbound marketing mixed into your inbound marketing might just do the trick.

But the key to using the dark side to maximize your return on investment is understanding how it works. Wrapping your brain around the terrain that your about to risk your hard earned money.


Many outbound marketing services are based on the number of ‘Impressions’. The number of ‘Impressions’ normally impact the price of the ad space.

‘Impressions’ are simply a form a measurement for the average number of people viewing the piece that your ad is on or in. A term for a person seeing your ad.

Everything from billboards to publications utilize this as a method to dictate the value of the advertising spot. They will generally tell you how many impressions your ad gets.

But don’t be disillusioned. Just because a magazine or bus-stop ad claims 500,000 impressions doesn’t mean that your ad is seen by 500,000 people.

It doesn’t mean 500,000 people have read or even paid any attention to it what so ever.

It just means that the publication or ad space has a standard of 500,000 or so people as possible traffic. That many people may go to the page with your ad on it.

Publishers don’t have any true or honest way to tell you how many people see your ad. All they can do is estimate by how many publications are printed and mailed.

Alright, it’s a gamble…so where should I place my bet?

Outbound Marketing is a Gamble

Typically there are several local magazines and newspapers in each market. One of the most common questions I hear is:

“What do you think about advertising in this or that publication?”

Don’t be fooled by beautiful covers or hard sell sales reps. Every publication has a rate sheet which tells you the cost of different size ads, the amount printed, it’s distribution, print requirements etc.

The first thing you should determine is how many publications are printed and distributed and whether your target market is even relatively interested or could be reached through the publication itself.

Often publications vary considerably in distribution compared to their rates. The ads are often very close to the same price but their distribution may vary considerably.

If you had a budget of $1,000 to run an ad, rather than invest in a publication that distributes to 10,000 people, it would probably make more sense to go with a magazine that distributes to 40,000.

You will have a chance of 30,000 more people seeing your ad. Out bound advertising is a numbers game. The more impressions your ad gets, the higher the chance of return on investment, ROI.

Outbound marketing is truly a shotgun approach to marketing your business.

Shotgun Approach to Marketing

Print advertising, TV, Radio and even some types of Internet ads are considered outbound marketing.

You’re forcibly pushing your product or service in front of someone, and hoping they just so happened to be in the market for your product. You’re also hoping that you’re not upsetting them too much with your gorilla warfare methods of advertising.

You’re also slowly, and I mean very slowly building your brand. This is, typically, a very expensive proposition.

Step into Your Potential Customers Shoes

Try to think of you yourself as a potential advertising consumer. Think of how advertising effects you.

A local magazine is distributed to your house in the mail. You see it on the kitchen counter and, if you have some time to kill, you pick it up and page through it. The first ad you see is the inside front cover.

It’s a real estate ad. You just refinanced and there is no way you’re going to call because you simply are not in the market. You recognize the Realtor because he is in the publication every month.

The next page is a watch, a really nice $7,000 one. Though you admire it for a second, you move on. You just refinanced your house. Another thing that you’re not in the market for.

Then there’s an article about some dentist, you turn the page again. There’s an article about a new Asian restaurant, you’re interested and start to read about it but your phone rings, you answer it. You forgot you had an appointment so you throw your new magazine on the counter and head out the door.

Your spouse comes home two hours later and sees the magazine open to the Asian restaurant. Asian food isn’t your spouses thing, so they close the magazine and proceed to toss the whole thing away.

If the magazine is distributed to 20,000 homeowners, there are 20,000 scenarios just like that one. A situation behind the life of every magazine copy printed.

In another case someone may have turned to the inside front cover and seen the Realtor’s ad. He’s seen it several times before and feels a bit familiar with the brand. He sees an photo of a house that looks very attractive a a great price. He calls the Realtor and a sale results.

The realtor might have run the ad 5 times to make one sale. If he sold a million dollar house and made 5% he got a good return on his investment.

If you’re going to invest in outbound marketing, 7 secret steps:

  1. Make sure you get the biggest distribution for your investment.
  2. Make sure you negotiate your rate. Publications will very quickly come down on the price for a commitment.
  3. On publications, and really any print, be sure to get straight to the point. Be sure to get your marketing message bold, quick, and understandable. If they are truly interested, a potential lead will inquire more about you and your business through a phone call or on the internet.
  4. Remember that local magazine publishers are always looking for content so try and get them to throw in an article about your business or service along with your ad service. You’ll have to write it for them, which is to your benefit anyway.
  5. Put some thought into your ad. Have it professionally done and add an incentive, coupon, or special.
  6. Don’t forget to provide a method for the viewer to get more information about you.  Make sure that you have a phone number or a website address on the ad that’s easily recognizable.
  7. Think about utilizing new technologies like QR codes. Linking them to pages on your website that would be the most effective for the certain demographic of the publication. A page that will provide the greatest value to a potential customer. Converting the lead into a client.

Remember it’s all about making an impression.

Do you need help designing your magazine or outbound marketing ad? We can help you! Come on by for a cup of coffee and lets discuss you, your organization, and your product or service.

Contact Us Today

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About the Author

Xavier Cimetta

Xavier Cimetta is part owner and the head Designer/Front-end developer at Cimetta Design, Inc. As an entrepreneur and work-a-holic, his mission is to help fellow entrepreneurs & businesses design beautiful brands, websites, packaging and experiences to reach their goals.

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