Dan Clark of All-Pro Pool and Spa Service in Boise received an email announcing he was upgraded to a better ad in a specialty golf directory for the Treasure Valley.
Confused because he never agreed to an ad in the directory in the first place, he wrote back to the salesperson asking for more info.
I didnt hear back from them, but I let them know that I wasnt interested in participating in the directory, he says.
The ad was for the Golf of Boise, ID, featuring Crane Creek Country Club, Hillcrest Country Club, Plantation Country Club and Meadow Lake Village. All four are private golf courses and facilities.
A quick call to all of the courses revealed none of the managers were aware of the sales promotion. All denied participation in the directory.
Buyers should beware when it comes to soft-sell advertising pitches made in the Snake River Region this week. Elite Exposure Marketing of Boca Raton, Fla., sent emails and is following up with calls to businesses making offers to discount the prices on advertising if they act immediately and provide payment.
Specialty or niche opportunities reach targeted markets. Unfortunately, they present fraud opportunities.
When considering niche advertising, consider working with companies or publications you trust or have read. If you decide the offer is truly a good buy and a unique opportunity to reach potential customers, get a written detailed contract detailing distribution locations or circulation, date, frequency, and final-copy appearance approval.
Ask for sample copies, review other clients advertising, and obtain a written guarantee regarding cancellation and/or advertising misprints. Confirm the brick and mortar addresses and contact information both of the solicitors company and the publisher. Research businesses with Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.
Consider the following:
Verify the type of organization selling the ad. Even though it might have a name that sounds good, the publication could be something different.
Do not hesitate to ask for additional info about the publication. How many copies will be printed? When will it be published? Will it be available to the kinds of people your business wants to reach?
If the publication is sold by a school, community, civic or charity group, ask how much money returns to the organization. Does it all go to printing?
If you decide to purchase an advertisement, ask for a copy of the draft and a final published version.
If you received an invoice for advertising space without having placed an order, you are under no obligation to pay or respond.
I should also mention phone book advertising in this discussion. Ask how the phone books will be distributed: by mail, door-to-door or through advertisers business locations. Often, the advertiser is the person responsible for distribution.
And, even more frequently in todays electronic world, ask questions about printed versus electronic publication. A number of directories publish electronically exclusively with no printed versions.
An offer good today can wait until tomorrow, so dont be rushed into a publication that may not reach your clientele.
ROBB HICKEN Chief storyteller for the Better Business Bureau serving the Snake River Region