Advertising in the Local Weekend Insert?

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Lisa B

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Hi there, I am consider trying an ad in the weekend newspaper insert for my immediate area because many locals are still shocked to learn there is a juice bar right here. It is not a coupon book, but more of a local events and happenings section of the Sunday paper. Lots of restaurants and local business advertise in it. Has anyone ever gone this route and found it helpful? It would cost me about $270, or $143 for a package of 6 ads (one ad every Sunday for month and half). Doesn't seem like much, but when you have newspaper, radio and online marketers calling every day I have to pick and choose who gets my pennies.
 

djbaxter

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That doesn't sound bad, especially the 6 ad package (depending on the circulation of the paper).

Worst case scenario is you get yourself a tax deduction. :)
 

djbaxter

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Advertising expense.

It's possible it's different in the US but I think that's pretty standard. It's a cost of doing business.
 

djbaxter

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Really? Check first. Maybe US tax laws don't allow that as a deduction. In Canada, entrepreneurs get a lot of tax breaks.
 

Lisa B

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I will be checking. In fairness to CPA, I didn't give him much time for turnover, lol!
 

Lisa B

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I am trying to follow up on my posts. This one is tough to call. My weekend town insert has run twice. I also have been in three high school sports flyers. I ask all my customers how they find us (response: facebook, referrals, yelp, google, driving by, yard sign...) I have not heard from flyer or insert folks at all. I did not do a coupon, so it seems to be inconclusive.

We are having a better month over every other month this Summer, although October should be a slower time for a juice bar. I did so many initiatives over the summer, I think they are starting to pay off collectively. I feel like I am trying with all my might to turn the Titanic, lol. Fortunately- I do think I have stumbled on a brilliant idea that I look forward to writing about later. Send me good vibes!!!

Also ONE of the two closed businesses next to me finally opened for business and brings their existing following. The other place on the other side STILL not opened. :( They too should have a following, so I pray they open soon!!
 

roneidaselva

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Certain types of people read the newspaper in each particular region. Before you even begin your advertising campaign, look at the trends provided by the Newspaper Association of America and determine which group you're trying to reach. The average newspaper page is actually quite large - and basic black text is almost unnoticeable.
 

Lisa B

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Wow ronaeidaselva, I did not know about the Newspaper Association of America as a resource. Yes, I do feel the weekend ad was a bust unfortunately. And I think I just said "Hold my beer!" by shifting over to ValPac coupon envelope mailer for 6 months. I will let you know how that goes.

I can say, the last 6 months our store has been steadily busier. Most of those new customers when asked how they found us (we are hard to find) say "google", yelp, facebook, a friend referral, or just driving by for the past year and finally decided to stop in.

Whatever it is- I am praying it sustains while I attempt to switch focus back to bookkeeping- I am woefully behind because I took off that hat to sort of save the store.
 

Lisa B

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Well, to my surprise the Valpack coupons have actually been coming in! Not in droves, but enough to gain some new regulars (multiple sales vs single sales) and to motivate long time customers to make a visit again.

On the contrary, I recently tried advertising on the back of receipts at a local supermarket. This, a complete dud so far. My husband had insisted it would work better than the Valpac mailer. They have basically been running concurrently, yet not one receipt coupon has come in 2 months.

Overall marketing overhaul follow-up: Last summer you may recall I did a major marketing business plan. I reassessed what I was doing, tried about 30 new things from door hangers, to network group memberships, to social media strategy and much more. Looking at my follow up post above from October 2018 (a year later now) every month since then has been significantly stronger in sales, making up last years losses and exceeding both years impressively month over month.

We try to ask every customer how they found us. Most feedback I get from customers- they found us on:
  • -google and yelp (organic- I do not pay for their advertising because it is so expensive but I do update regularly, monitor closely and follow up on all reviews) I add photos to both and create "posts" on google often to improve our online presence.
  • -IG (I post regularly and occasionally boost posts with decent local geo targeted success)
  • -facebook (I cross post from IG and also -rarely-separately boost posts which I am usually disappointed in the reach)
  • - events - I go out into community and pop up at events whenever I can
  • - drive by - we do not get a lot of drive by traffic because we are inside a plaza that is off road and not well known AND our storefront and sign are quite small and physically set back between two businesses. In others words, you do not see us unless you have for some reason driven into our plaza and parked in front of us. We have used the aid of yard signs (one strategically placed in front of nearby Starbucks we often move and rotate these signs) and a flag sign and tent sign at our door.
  • - networking groups and referrals- we try to make every experience personal, customized and memorable. Because the community is filled with people experience health and weight loss problems customers who benefitted from our place share us with others. Doctors even send patients to us.
Last year, those 2 businesses on each side of us were closed which killed any bit of drive by and foot traffic. Because their boarded up windows looked like part of OUR business -we have no windows- many passersby also thought we were closed. I did a press release, posts and put up a BIG we are open banner with balloons. Still, by end of 2018 we had tanked about $20K.

My spouse did a lot of handy work to improve the experience inside our business. From building banquets, digital menu boards, photography (a local marketing guru told me to make every picture look like the food is headed for your mouth!), a picnic bench out front and a new work space to improve our flow.

Also, there is great value in videos and "social proof". So I capitalize on food critic videos, testimonials, etc. I need to do better at posting videos as an authority on health and wellness. This has been non-existent and will be my focus in 2020.

As we approach the end of 2019 I can report a rebound and growth of over $40K so far. In my business $40K is still just a drop in the bucket. But as a restaurant we are about to celebrate our 3 year anniversary in 10 days. That is unheard of for many new food and beverage establishments. Especially a independent/non-franchise. So I do feel as though we are going in the right direction.

Why am I sharing that in this community? Because many of your responses to my inquiries had been so helpful and positive. And to say PERSEVERE and TRY EVERYTHING with calculation and persistence.

One of those 2 businesses on either side of us has closed again, sadly. Every time I saw the owner he was scratching his head as to why THIS franchise location was failing so badly. He rarely posted to social media. This posts were not personal. The signs were logo oriented vs foodporn (foodie term). I hinted to him that marketing creativity and persistence is imperative. But he did little marketing and outreach and little to improve the ambience of their much bigger noticeable spot to improve customer experience (felt like a huge cafeteria inside). Praying our next neighbor brings some promotion power with them!

We faced many personal and financial obstacles over the last 3 years. I do not know what our fate will be, but I do know that either way I threw EVERYTHING I had at this and never let up!
 

djbaxter

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That's excellent news, Lisa B!

Congratulations and special kudos for doing everything right, including and especially tracking source of new customers. Data breeds better decisions! :)

And check out Lisa's Facebook page for both how to set up a great Facebook Business page and how to promote a small business in the community:

 

Lisa B

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Thank you DJBaxter! I still have a mountain of work to do. I refer to and update my marketing plan regularly. I meditate for ideas as well, which is quite helpful for creativity. I think about a particular challenge and kind of mull it over in my mind like a Rubiks Cube, lol. I often get a fantastic idea to act on or expand.

Marching onward! :)
 

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