Tips for Marketing Your Agency: Which Advertising Medium is Right for You?

With today's fast-paced, competitive society, more and more businesses as relying on the power of marketing to increase brand recognition and elevate their companies into the public eye. 

To help you make the best possible decisions for your agency, we will identify the most popular forms of advertising and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each to help you determine which advertising mediums best suit your business.

Getting Started

No matter what form of advertising you're considering, you will need to have a firm grasp on which markets you'd like to target. 

You'll need answers to the following questions:

o What product(s) do you want to advertise? Health insurance? Auto insurance? Financial planning?

o What age group(s) do you want to target? Senior citizens? Young adults?

o What type of clients are you looking for? Consumers with few claims?

Identifying these factors from the outset will help you to make better informed decisions when buying advertising spots. 

Television Advertising

It's no surprise that most businesses want to advertise on television—according to the A.C. Nielsen Company, the average American watches four hours of TV each day, the equivalent of two whole months a year—making it the largest media outlet of them all.

Other advantages of television advertising include:

o Ability to reach a greater, more diverse audience

o Targeted markets can be easily reached by proper ad placement

o Greater possibility for creativity-ability to incorporate sound, sight, color and motion to engage consumers

o Gives product near-instant validity and prestige

Because of these valuable benefits, television is one of the most expensive ways to advertise. A spot during primetime hours (8:00 PM until 11:00 PM) can cost 10 to 30 times more than a radio spot during drive time! 

In addition to the cost of buying a spot, other disadvantages of television advertising include:

o Cost of hiring an ad agency to plan and shoot the commercial

o Cost of running the ad multiple times

o Consumers have grown to expect interesting, high-quality commercials; anything less could actually hurt your business

o Competition for viewer's attention amid other elements in his or her environment

But despite these drawbacks, if you have the budget to incorporate TV advertising in to your marketing practices, most experts agree that it's worth doing. 

Due to the complex nature of television advertising, you will probably want to consult with or hire an agency or representative to help you. Your representative will guide the creative direction of the ad, pinpoint the programs between which to run your ad(s), and help you determine whether to run the ad on broadcast television or cable television.

When it comes to advertising on television, it's important to shop around and find the best fit for your business—and your budget.

Newspaper Advertising

When it comes to print ads, newspaper advertising is one of the best ways to advertise your agency. Because nearly all households receive a newspaper through a personal subscription or newsstand, newspaper advertising is a great way for your agency gain consumer recognition.

Other advantages of newspaper advertising include:

o Ability to reach different demographics by placing advertisements in different sections of the newspaper

o People expect to see ads in the paper—some even look for them

o Large variety of ad sizes to correspond with various budgets

But, like all other mediums of advertising, advertising your insurance business via newspaper does have its disadvantages:

o Newspapers are generally read once and thrown out

o Smaller ads can look nonexistent on large pages

o Ads have to compete for the reader's attention with all other ads on the page

o Print quality may distort graphics and photos in an unfavorable manner

Keeping both the advantages and disadvantages of newspaper advertising in mind will help you make better decisions about the ad(s) you wish to list in the paper. 

As with television advertising, you may wish to consult an ad agency or copywriter to help you design your ad. The newspaper's ad sales department will probably try to convince you that the paper can do the layout for you or set your ad in a pre-formatted template. Be advised that these "prepackaged" ads are not typically catching to the eye—which won't help bring in new clients. Paying an outside agency to help you with the ad is likely to be worth the money.

Newspaper space is typically sold by the column and inch, which is commonly referred to as the "inch rate". The inch rate may well differ from paper to paper, so be sure to shop around.

Keeping the inch rate in mind, you can then decide which ad size you'd like by looking at the existing ads in your local paper. Simply measure the length and width of the ad—if an ad is two columns across and six inches down, it would be a 12-inch ad. You can then multiply the size of the ad by the inch rate to get an idea of how much the ad will cost you.

Other tips to remember:

o Because paper circulation is greater on Sundays than the rest of the week, you'll likely pay more to run your ad on Sundays

o Always specify what section of the paper in which you'd like your ad to appear

o Keep ad content short and descriptive

o Always give a final approval before the ad is run

Outdoor Advertising

While outdoor advertising used to be contained to large signs and billboards, businesses have expanded outdoor advertising to include benches, electronic signs and public transit systems—gaining popularity as an affordable advertising medium. Unlike television and newspaper advertisements, outdoor advertising is not voluntary to the consumer.

Other benefits of outdoor advertising include:

o The public can't throw out or turn off outdoor advertising, resulting in a true "captured audience"

o Frequency is easily achieved by consumers driving or walking by the ad(s) on a regular basis

o Proven to boost the effectiveness of other types of advertising, such as print ads

Truly effective outdoor advertising makes use of bold colors, simple backgrounds and to-the-point text, which can present quite a challenge. 

Other disadvantages of outdoor advertising include:

o On average, outdoor advertisements only catch two to three seconds of the consumer's time

o Messages have to be both concise and interesting to resonate with the consumer in those fleeting seconds

o Outdoor advertisements are typically purchased in three-month chunks, which may not be beneficial for short term advertising needs

As with television and print ads, you'll most likely want to consult with or hire an outside advertising agency to help you build a campaign that best suits your agency and the products you sell. 

Start Building Your Brand Name Today. 

Recognizing the benefits and challenges of advertising your agency is the best way to minimize the risks of using these mediums. Ultimately, you'll have to experiment with these forms of advertising to determine which is best for your business!