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Do newspaper ads really work?


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01-11-08: Crazedkook Wrote,

I have been approached by the local papers to advertise in their respected papers, But I am not sure if it is really worth the money. So my question goes to you who may or may not have had expeirance in this area, is it worth putting weekly adds in the paper or is it a waste of money?


doingitall said:

I am in a rural area served by a few smaller newspapers. I have not had much success with weekly ads. A waste of money for me. What I have done that works is an insert in the newspapers. I have inserted a flyer (like the Target ads, but not so fancy) an 8.5x11 sheet, black printing with a colored paper, double sided. I list my services, other pertinent information, have some pictures, my logo big and bold, my phone number big and bold, and I have included a coupon for $ off or % off. I encourage people to make copies and put a copy in their glove compartment so if they ever need assistance away from home they have my info in the car. I print "make copies......" bold so they see it. I have found this to be pretty cheap, about 10 cents per insert (6 cents per for inserting, around 4 cents to get printed). It has worked pretty well for me...............

Gary Sienk said:

If you have a local paper, do they put accidents and pictures of accidents and incidents on or near the front page? Has your company ever done an accident where the causality made the paper but not your company? Try this, talk to the ad exec. and see if you can make a deal whereas every time a picture of your trucks make the papers where you can see the name and/or number, you will run your preplanned ad of the same size as the photo the following day. Do you see an advantage?


Crazedkook replied:

Thanks guys, I think I am going to do it just to keep and get my name out thier and maybe they might remember my name when it comes time and I am also thinking of doing a tip of the week type of thing related to breakdowns and keeping themselves safe on the side of the side of the road as a public service message.


Wade200 said:

I could see a get to know or look what we can do type deal maybe (maybe once a year), but I don't think running a continuous newspaper ad will do much for business.
Daniel Wade
Jefftow said:
John, I have read some good ideas here and have another for you.

I'd place my ad in the newspaper just to keep my name out there, even when I was the only towing company in town, I wanted the public to know they had me available, not just the police.

Anyway, when the football season rolled around I'd make sure she put my ad OPPOSITE the first sports page. It doesn't have to be a big ad, either, just unique.

Same strategy when anything seasonal happens, put my ad OPPOSITE the first page of that topic.

Theses ads are not going to get you results like BigLots running an ad on toilet paper, but what you are doing is keeping YOUR name in peoples minds.

Weboslh said:
The only people to respond to an ad in the paper for me , were other advertisers. Yep. Not one..... count them.....not one person ever responded to one of my adds... Our area is approx 100,000 people.
Concordtowing said:
Save your money and buy note pads pens things that you can put in your costumers hand you would be surpised at the people that will keep a small note pad or pen in thier car if you live in an rea with lots of frost on windshields the plastic strapers work well gotta have one in the car and bingo there is your name every frosty morning If folks see your name enough they will remember you For me the newspaper ads didn't work plus they would choose where your ad went I didn't have a say so in the matter.
JohnMarsee said:
After 7 years of running ads, I close my account out last week. I add the cost broke it down and figured what I could make or lose. As you notice I closed the ads. I have won readers choice for the last 6 years and have taken out ads to play on that but I really don't it had any responce.

The Best I've heard or seen was my Trucks, keep them clean and park them together when your eating Lunch if you get the time. They can't but to help see 5 trucks in one parking lot during lunch or so. Better Yet, take off down the road across town all together and they say wonder what's gona on! The phone begins to ring asking what's happen.
Oklatom said:
I advertise consistently in the service pages of the weekly paper. Price is right, and I'm currently the only listing under "Automotive" section. Since it only comes out once a week, everyone buys it. More than once I've been told "I couldn't find your card, but them I remembered I had the paper in the back seat, and found you."
Crazedkook replied:
Well here is the update for me anyways the newspaper has not brought in a dime it was more a waste of money I have done it for a month and a half and not one person has got me from the paper. All my cash call customers have been becouse of word of mouth, freind of a freind, found my card at the laundrymat and best of all for me, they saw one of my trucks and remembered my name. Well live and learn I wont make that mistake again in the future.

Thanks to everyone on thier advice and keep it safe out there.
Annettemcd said:
I do two fairly unique types of print ads which work for us.

One is a mileage chart for the highway which we serve. The highway has mileposts and runs between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska. My mileage chart lists landmarks with their milepost (distance from Anchorage), distance to Fairbanks (our closest point of major services), and distance from us. It is handy to have, so people pick it up and put it in their glove compartment. It folds in half with our ad on the other side. That way if they do need us, the information is there is their glove compartment, plus they know where they are! Placed in visitors' centers and gas stations, even travelers pick one up as they are driving through the area.

The other thing is a wall calendar which I mail to regular customers and local businesses in my area which may be large in size, but actually has a population of less than 3,000. I often see our calendar hanging on wall in various places and it stays there all year. Some people collect them, so they will have each year tacked on top of the year before. For 2008 I could not find a commercial calendar with a towing theme that I liked, so I contracted with a local cartoonist for our own cartoon (I will try to figure out how to post a copy, but basically, it shows a winter scene with mountains and trees in the background and the back of a guy who is looking under the hood of his truck. His pants are around his knees and his broken belt is laying on the ground. The caption reads: "When it gets this cold, be careful to not get stranded by the side of the road with a broken belt..." I had the artist add a speech bubble over the guy's head which says, "Time to call Parks Highway Towing 1-800-478-TOWS.") It works. This was actually a cartoon which the artist had in his files and was just modified for our use. Some people did laugh and say, "You sent me a card with a guy's bare butt on it!" Like I said, people keep the calendars around all year. We also pass out wallet size calendars for the same reason. I have handed them to people and watched them open their wallet and put the card in.

I took a marketing class and the instructor called towing an unsought business. We can not convince people to get their car towed by having a good ad. Our ads have to be there when the customer needs us OR be so memorable that the customers remember that we exist and look for our phone number when they need us. The second reason is why our trucks are rolling ads and should be our most important advertising.
Towwind44 said:
Generally, if you can't measure or monitor the response to any advertising you do, you'll never know what your return on your investment is/was. Don't waste the money. Print/radio/tv etc. almost never works (in this business) except to generate responses from other advertisers.
Brian Bell said:
We opened up in June of 06' Started out advertising on the New and Only Christian radio station in town for $13 a day I think.. Within a few months there was another nationwide christian radio station added locally. After 18 months of supporting Christian Radio we had only received 1 call from the ads.... So although we want to keep christian radio here we were trying to kill two birds with one stone and get advertisement while supporting the station. Anyway we decided to pull the plug on radio and try a Billboard on the Interstate....It was put up the week of Christmas and as of today I have received many phone calls about my billboard but NO TOW CALLS due to my billboard. This year the phone book messed up my ad..ok butchered my ad.. So it will be year before that can be fixed...Right now we are sponsoring the Local arena football team but nothing there yet.. Did I mention that I tried the Newspaper the first year for the Black Friday sales paper holders.... I'll humor you the ad had my name and pics of the trucks but the caption said "We're There When You Needs Us" ....They just want your money after that THEY DON'T CARE!!!!

Here is what works... The phone books (not sure if they are worth the price though)
and where I am gonna put all my future advertising ROLLING BILLBOARDS with tow tags.
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We have been in business over 37 years. Many years ago, we found that newspaper advertising did not pay off even when a discount coupon was included. Today, few people buy newspapers so your ad base would probably be poor.


Telephone book advertising worked well for many years, but most phone books have become thinner and are distributed only to customers who have home telephone lines; as a result fewer people receive phone books and those who do, rarely use them. Cell phones have taken over the market.


Internet advertising works great if you have a well placed ad. We have an excellent website that appears among the top three listings when people search for "Towing near me" or "Towing Hampton VA"

Our internet listing and website were designed by a well known company. The key here is to have a good company design your site and you pay them for all listings. Paying for listings by many companies is very expensive and cumbersome to manage. 


    Ed Johnson, Coliseum Towing Service, Hampton, VA. 23666

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