One big ad or lots of small ones?

It’s an issue that small business advertisers face all the time. Should they spend their ad budget of $1000 for a full page in the local paper, or should they insert a small ad 10 times, for $100 each? While it’s true that a bigger ad gets better readership, it will reach each of its readers only once. The smaller ads develop what the advertising boys and girls call frequency — that is,  they reach prospects more than once.

Studies have shown that, in general, an advertiser will get better results reaching a thousand prospects 6 times, then he/she will by reaching 6 thousand prospects just once. In most cases, it’s frequency that makes advertising pay off.

The same principle applies to broadcasting and cable advertising. You can spend a limited budget buying a handful of spots on radio morning “drive time,” where the audiences are big and so are the prices. Or you can choose to buy many more spots on nighttime radio, where the prices are low (and where good deals can be negotiated).

I have always believed that any campaign should have an absolute minimum frequency of 5. And 10 or 15 is much better.

Spend those ad dollars wisely, and space your campaign over a reasonable period of time. The prospect who didn’t need what you’re selling last week, might well need it this week.

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