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02/16/2015

Print vs. Social Media

By Beth Hiltabidle, Marketing Associate, YBAA and Leah Hines, Marketing Specialist, Port of Ana Cortes

 

During a recent YBAA/CPYB e-SEMINAR, Leah Hines, Marketing Specialist with Port of Anacortes near Seattle, WA and Greg Mustari, CPYB, discussed the values and differences between print and social media and how to better market your company. 

Many brokerages rely primarily on print ads in local and national trade magazines, newspapers and circulars.  While this is still an excellent form of advertising, it has become a challenged source with social media quickly gaining focus.  There are so many options to promote your company through social media particularly with websites being interactive as well as, Facebook, and Twitter.  Leah says without a doubt social media is the new trend for reaching new and existing customers and is here to stay.  It is an excellent source of networking, and as a tool for communication with current and potential customers.

She also comments that online presence is one of the top ways to quickly create brand recognition.  The internet is the information highway for all ages.  Leah says that 73% of the U.S. is on Facebook and that 55 and older, is one of the fastest growing user groups on Facebook.  All businesses should have a Facebook page to supplement their websites.  Not so much for selling boats, but to help you sell your company’s personality as well as increase visibility to your website.  She recommends posting pictures and videos of happy customers taking ownership of their vessels, fishing tournaments with your boats, etc. And when possible, she strongly suggests infusing humor in your online communications…post a picture of a boat aground with the caption, “Looks like someone needs a new boat!”

Advertising online with links to your website can be cost effective for the high volume of traffic received to your website.  Before doing so, always ask a few questions to ensure your purchase will gain you viewers.  Don’t be afraid to ask how many page views are expected on their website over the duration of your ad.  Using the same mindset when purchasing print advertising, ask what the distribution (how many copies) is and what the circulation (where is it going) is. Your customers are great consumers and can help you reach your markets, be it print or web based, ask them what they read and what websites they frequent. This will also build trust among them.

When placing an advertisement on line you need to give it time and be sure to make your copy interesting. Consistency is the key in advertising, as it takes time to see response, at least 3 – 6 months to be able to evaluate your return on investment.  It is also important to increase the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to your website which will help drive more visitors (and potential customers) to it.  It is highly recommended to set up a Google Analytics account to measure the traffic to your website and learn who is visiting your site and how often.   Be wary of companies that want to sell you SEO (Search Engine Optimization), if you can’t call a local reference who can credit their results, think twice.

Print media is not dead!  Leah reports, “According to the Newspaper Association of America, readership is up 16%.”  It may not be the primary source anymore, but is mostly the introductory source for increasing visitors to your website. If possible advertise in the larger circulated travel & leisure magazines such as Southern Living, Sunset, etc.  An interesting fact, is that 72% of AAA members own a boat…maybe an ad in their magazine?  Remember a one-time ad is not recommended in any form unless you’re having a fire sale!

These are all just recommendations. The online options can be overwhelming.  What works for one business may not be the best for another. Leah recommends whether you market your brokerage through print or social media, always set targeted goals for marketing and be able to measure them using analytics, website traffic increases and phones ringing.  Bottom line, your strategies should focus on increasing brand recognition and new customers while maintaining existing customers which will ultimately increase revenue.  

To contact Leah Hines directly, call her at 360.840.6155 or email her at leah@portofanacortes.com.

 

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