#CommunityDialogue: So You’re Lookin’ to “Advertise” – Here Are Some Thoughts About Questions to Ask and Expect when buying from someone who’s selling.



Written by Carlos Contreras

“This installment of #CommunityDialogue is a tip of the hat with some tips for small businesses. We recently sat down with a staple in the community in terms of small business advertising: JohnnyBoards. They provided us with some thoughts on questions to ask and ones that business owners should be prepared to answer when discussing the purchase of advertising from a salesperson.

Advertising is tricky. Should you do online? Should you buy print advertising? What is reach? Who is my demographic? What is a brand promise? Questions upon questions – and we haven’t even got to the “real” questions yet…

Let’s do that. Here’s a quick reference to some questions you might ask when sitting across from someone selling you a bit of advertising. And – we’ve also included some questions said seller might have for you in return/conversation.

You might wanna ask:
What were some of the best ads you’ve seen and results?
Given your media – what are some of the worst ads you’ve seen as well?
These questions will quickly decide if the chosen type of media is right for you – does it fit your product, service, or clientele? Or is it just too much of a stretch…?

Do you have contract limits and terms? If so, what are they?
Are there competitors of mine who buy advertising from you on this same form of media?
If so, who and what do they normally spend?

These might seem like questions that are “out of bounds,” or “off limits,” the reality of the situation is, you’re about to buy something with hard earned money from a business you are attempting to continue to build – that goal and aim deserves and requires well researched, considered, and informed decisions.

Any agency selling you a quality service will be happy to answer these questions – in fact, it should lend to their credibility and effectiveness to show you such data.

As part of the conversation the seller may ask you some questions as well. Many folks need to determine if you are in fact the “decision maker,” or if the “deal,” is going to require another meeting and more time.

They may ask:

What does your “media mix” include?
This is in reference to all the avenues you use to reach your current clientele/customer base. It may include but not be limited to: referrals, promotional products, radio ads, outdoor ad placement, indoor billboards, websites, social media and more.

The questions above will often be accompanied by questions like:
How long have you’ve been operating?
What does your budget as an entire operation? And or does it currently include advertising? Being honest with your answers to these questions will allow a good salesperson to determine if his or her service can meet your needs and help you to grow your business. Questions about your “number” – the people you need to reach to consider an effort successful, are often tied to budget, but buying big, doesn’t always guarantee big numbers in return. When considering buying advertising it is important to take your time and make a sound decision.

In taking time on both sides – the seller might ask how long her or she should wait before circling back for an answer, and you have every right to ask how long their current offer is good for. It is a game, that should feel more like the beginning of a relationship/friendship, than something purely transactional.

When you’ve found this “media match,” you’ll know – and sometimes it takes time and trial and error. Note the helpful questions to ask and expect. Plan your budget now, and include a line item for advertising if your business doesn’t already have one. You’ll sure be glad you did.”