The Homesteader vs. Coupon Books

Why Advertise in The Homesteader versus a Coupon Service?

Business owners often ask why should they pay to advertise in a publication that has articles rather than a less-expensive “coupon” type program where they can “measure the response.” This is a great question.

Coupons are meant to be “Direct Response” advertising, where you can measure the response from the number of coupons you get back. Coupon services work well this way because many of the users look through the coupons to see businesses that they now visit and can save money. These services have no “shelf life” and are used or discarded. How useful they are in attracting brand-new “repeat” customers is questionable.

Many businesses shy away from giving out coupons. There was a “coupon craze” a few years ago where it seemed that everyone was clipping coupons, but many businesses realized that offering coupons turned into a vicious cycle. You needed to have coupons to attract business and then needed to use them again to lure back your coupon-customers.

Put another way: instead of building your business on loyal, repeat customers, you built it on people who only visited you because of the perception that you would save them money. This is a very short-term solution and it backfired for many businesses. Once they tried to convert their coupon-customers into full-paying customers, there was no loyalty. If they raised prices or stopped giving out coupons, they would experience an immediate drop in business. And if they continued offering their coupon, it lost effectiveness.

Offering a discount to introduce your business to a potential new customer is a good idea, but it only works if you can convert that visitor to be a future customer. And that means making the offer compelling and time-limited, not offering it to everyone but only the group you select, and providing value in the products or services you sell so that these new prospects become customers. (If you are more expensive than your competitors, offering a coupon will not be a good long-term solution).

Another type of advertising is called “Institutional” advertising, where you are trying to get your name and service out to the general public so that they are familiar with your business. When they need your products or service, they will know about you and you will be considered.

Publications like The Homesteader do not offer many coupons because most businesses would prefer to get full value for their goods or services. They realize that consumers are pretty jaded about coupons and may not believe that they are truly getting a discount.

With The Homesteader, you are reaching a “high end” market that is not necessarily focused on couponing. Our readers can be your potential future customers. They are not yet familiar with local merchants, and they are open to trying your business if you can make a strong initial impression. You can create that awareness inexpensively and grab a larger market-share of the newcomers in your town by working with us.

While we are not a “Direct Response” vehicle like the coupon services, since we have editorial and are developing a readership, we can be used in a similar way. Our First Contact Coupon Program is available to reach new homeowners during that first month, an important time when most people are settling in and haven’t made all those buying decisions. Along with your coupon in First Contact, you should also have an institutional ad to reinforce your presence and provide the benefit that The Homesteader can give you: building up long-term customers.

While The Homesteader may generate immediate response, think of us as a solution to replacing lost customers and finding new ones, and helping your other marketing efforts bear more fruit. Remember that new homeowners stay in their house an average of close to 10 years, so the impression you make now will generate results for years to come.

First impressions are important and with The Homesteader, you are in an editorial environment that reflects well on your business. The publication has long shelf-life because of the articles geared to new homeowners, so you get repeated exposure for your advertisement, and not a quick glance that people may give to a coupon-mailer.

Coupons may be part of your marketing mix, but don’t rely on them long-term to build your business. If you plan on being in business for the next five or ten years, have a five-or ten-year plan for earning and retaining customers!

For advertising information in The Homesteader, locally or regionally, call
(800) 941-9907.