I have advertised with a LOT of free sites, but I was wondering what kind of advertisement you pay for that you feel has really benefited you?
I was just now looking at the Facebook Ads and it got me thinking. As far as free advertising, nothing has done me better than Decidio.com. They are second in line from google as far as sending visitors to my website.
So what paid advertising has worked the best for you?
It may depend on how you measure success.
I was also a Decidio person and sending people to my website meant nothing to me unless they actually booked. The bottom line is that it's the $bottom line that counts.
I've lost count of how many advertising sales reps I'd kick out of my shop because all they could promise was how many people would look in the window (i.e. pop into my website). I measure success by how many actually opened the door and walked in to buy something (i.e. email me for info and book a sampling). I refuse to pay for window shoppers. I'll happily pay for walk-ins.
In an informal "survey" among various wedding vendors on Wedding Wire, all of them, without exception, said newspaper advertising was the WORST and biggest waste of money ever.
I would add to this putting an ad on a newspaper's online copy. I did this once. Got ZERO calls/results. ZEE. ROW.
I've experimented with various forms of paid advertising, and in my opinion, none of them provided much value. I agree with indydebi that newspaper advertising is a waste of money, and I would put yellow page ads in the same category. You may get clientele here and there from magazine ads such as The Knot, etc. However, it isn't enough to warrant the amount of money they demand for those ads.
I believe the best investment is to have a quality website and network with other vendors in the industry. Networking has proven to be more valuable than any paid ad. I would say 90% of my business comes from referrals (from previous clients, guests attending a wedding, other vendors/venues) and my website. I've decided to eliminate paid ads from my marketing for the most part other than one or two bridal shows and invest the money into quality marketing materials...website, brochures, etc. Social networking sites such as Facebook are also a good way to get your name out there. Word spreads without having to purchase a FB ad.
In my humble opinion, the best form of advertising is your website, face to face, word of mouth, then printed media, in that order.
I don't currently pay for any printed media advertising (ie magazines, the knot, PWG, other directory type listings). I do however barter my cake services for an ad in a local wedding magazine. One of the editors had us do the cake for their Christmas party for ad space, then just this past weekend we did his baby's baptism party cake for a 1/2 page ad.
I agree with the other posters, definitely use your $$$ to get your website to be the best in your area, then focus on your bridal show/face to face type advertising.
I kind of had a hunch you guys might say that. Business has been picking up all on it's own, without me really doing anything. ALL of my business comes from people seeing my site. Im lucky that it's highly visable for my area, always ranks at the top of most search engines, even over more established bakeries! I have had several referrals and repeat customers. So I guess what Im doing is working and I dont need to spend much money, huh? THat's good news. Im sure it will build up. I want to be to the point to where I HAVE to hire 2 or 3 employees. That would be nice to be that busy.
I had a great compliment from a past client today! A family member that was at the party fell in love with the cake I made, and absolutly has her heart set on having me make one for her daughter's first birthday. She has her HEART set on me! WOw. First time I got that compliment. Referrals are the best.