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Adscene - What's it all about?

Find out what's happening behind the scene at the North Coasts' only English language print newspaper.

Now 3000 copies distributed every week!

Posted by Adscene at 12:7 on Mar 3 2010

No fanfare required - Adscene distribution now up to 3000 copies per week as of March 11 2010!

Hopefully more North Coast residents should be able to pick up a copy.

More distribution points to be announced soon.

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Adscene circulation going up!

Posted by Adscene at 8:34 on Feb 23 2010

The Adscene is pleased to announce that we will be printing and distributing more free Adscenes from this week.

This is in response to feedback from many people indicating they are missing out on the Adscene as the stands are running dry earlier in the week.

Also, we have many local businesses that are asking to be a distribution point, but we do not have spare Adscenes to give them.

From February 25, the circulation will be 2750 copies, rather than 2500, and we may increase it further according to demand.

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New feature

Posted by Adscene at 15:35 on Jul 22 2009

We're introducing a new feature which we hope you will all like - the Adscene 'PriceCheck'.

Every month we will take a sample of prices for some of the more expensive items from retailers along the North Coast and Santiago. The idea is to keep everyone updated with benchmark prices for items such as TV's, fridge/freezers etc, the sort of items you only shop for once in a while.

We know how much hassle it is going to all the main shops on the North Coast and then checking Santiago to see if the prices are better. And none of the stores here bother with putting the prices on the web or issuing decent catalogs, so you have to physically visit a store to check a price.

We've been buying a few items recently such as white goods, electrical items and furniture, and the difference in price for the same or comparable item can add up to quite a lot!

The time wasted in trawling round all the stores though is a bit of a bind - so hopefully the 'PriceCheck' feature should save you some time - you can go directly to the cheapest seller, or negotiate another seller down.

Hopefully it may encourage some of the local stores to price their products a little more keenly, when they realize that residents frequently avoid them and buy from Santiago.

Its your choice where you buy, but this should make price-checking a little easier.

As always, we welcome any feedback on this.

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Missing Adscene

Posted by Adscene at 12:12 on May 9 2009

Firstly, thanks to those who enquired as to why there was no Adscene last week. A small accident was the reason. No, it wasnít the Swine Flu.

Simple explanation: In a nutshell, using gym equipment wrongly doesnít do your tendons any good. And when those injured tendons go from your arms, through your wrists and into your hands, it makes it difficult (and painful) to use a computer keyboard and mouse!

Weíre still operating at around 50% efficiency, but then this is the DR!! (Only joking). We should be back to normal soon.

Meanwhile, keep sending us your emails Ė we might just be a little slower to respond.

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Ads that are unlikely to work

Posted by Adscene at 17:11 on Mar 30 2009

A few pointers that we come across time and time again. Please donít take offence if you think weíre alluding to you. We do try to give advice to advertisers when we think their marketing plan is unlikely to work. (Marketing plan Ė are you kidding!!!)

These points are well documented in marketing advice given by top marketers in North America and Europe. Weíre not making these up. Ignore them at your peril!

One-off ads Ė Although people see it, they rarely respond immediately. They often look in subsequent issues to find the ad they vaguely recall, then when they canít find it, call the Adscene directly asking what the advertiserís number is. We donít have the time to go wading through previous editions to help an advertiser who doesnít understand the basics of marketing and wonít listen to well-meant advice. If you are an advertiser thinking of placing a small one-off ad, donít do it! Youíd be better off using the money to buy a couple of Presidentes and enjoying them!

Cramming too much information into a small ad Ė White space can be your friend. When an ad is overly cluttered with too much text and too many points, the eye naturally avoids it. Maybe weíre all just a bit lazy, but your eye is drawn more to ads where the main point clearly sticks out, and there is enough space around it.

Saying too much Ė While your business maybe the best at this, and offer great prices, and the best service on the Island, and the biggest range of products, and so-on and so-on, itís usually too much to get across in one advert. You can get much more Ďbang for your buckí (effect) by selecting just one primary point and hammering it home. That way the ad will stick in peoplesí minds better.
You can always rotate ads, and promote a certain aspect each week.

Ads that never change Ė Consistency is good, but ads that never change lose impact on a customer base that sees the ad repeatedly. If you are mainly aiming at tourists of which there are a new batch every couple weeks, then this is not so important, but it's still worth considering.
Youíve all heard of Geico auto insurance? Now they advertise a lot, but rather than just say ď15 minutes could save you 15 per-cent or moreĒ, (or whatever exactly it is they say), they use a humorous scene to make the ad attractive to people who have already heard of Geico. Rather than subconsciously switch off and ignore the ad, you accidently allow yourself to be drawn in and avidly watch yet another Geico ad. Assuming you are eligible for Geico auto insurance, one of these days, you will call them!

Ads that donít move Ė No, weíre not talking about animated pictures, but rather, ads that donít move the reader to action. If your ad says for example, ďWe sell real-estateĒ, or ďWe are a restaurantĒ, it doesnít encourage readers to call you. Most people know there are tons of realtors to choose from here and a good selection of restaurants.

A good ad will make a point that will settle in the readerís mind and prompt them to give that business a call. For example, a realtor might say that they have some specific condos at an unusually good price point; or that they have a particularly motivated buyer; or they will pick you up from and drop you off at your hotel for viewings. Donít assume that all readers know this Ė they donít.

A restaurant can do well by explaining their unique aspects. Yamazato in Cabarete specialize in sushi. Their ad makes that quite clear, and if youíre partial to sushi once in a while, like I am, their name will be the first one that springs to mind. As their ad is in every week, their telephone number is easy to find.

Just saying that you are a realtor with lots of listings or a restaurant with a range of dishes is unlikely to get people knocking down your door. Make it interesting! Create a USP (Unique selling proposition). Say why people should try you out rather than your competitors.

Another idea which many different types of businesses can use is to include a discount coupon so you can track how many people have directly responded to your ad. You may have noticed that some advertisers are doing this. Why? Because it works.

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Will my ad get much response?

Posted by Adscene at 18:28 on Mar 29 2009

How long is a piece of string?

Iíll be honest here (as I always am!) and say some adverts will not get much response - Why?
An advert has to give people a good reason to call.

There are several different types of advertising that can work for your business and Iíll try to explain as best I can.

For some businesses, a simple and small ad in the classifieds will suffice. If you offer a basic service that foreigners (by this, I mean non-Dominicans) need and would expect to find advertised in the local paper, then a small ad will do. Examples would include Gregs Garage, who I hope wonít mind me saying gets a lot of response to his ad. All he really needs to say is that heís one of the few English speaking mechanics who knows what they are doing -  which from the feedback he gets - he is.
For Greg, taking out a full page ad every week would be too much. Heíd struggle to get enough jobs in to pay for it. But a small ad every week, gets new clients who then become repeat clients and recommend him to others. He wins Ė and so do his new clients.

A large ad works best if you have a special promotion and want to make an impact. In conjunction with special offers, which you can illustrate on the page, a large ad attracts attention. If itís well designed it will draw the eye and prompt the reader into action.

But remember, never expect people to call immediately they see your ad. Most people will see an ad, partially remember it and subconsciously store it somewhere in their brain. They probably donít need your product or service right at this moment, and even if they did, people are often busy or preoccupied. Normally the ad will be put to the back of their mind, and recalled later.

As an example, letís say you sell inverters and batteries. Most of us here have an inverter system and rely on it. Letís say that your inverter is exhibiting problems. Maybe the batteries are dying; maybe it doesnít always switch over quick enough. Now you see an ad in the local paper for a local company that installs and repairs inverters. Do you call them immediately and start the sentence with, ďIíve just seen your ad in the Adscene, andÖĒ?

Itís possible if the company was advertising an absolutely fantastic and unrepeatable offer - but normally thatís not the case. More typically, you would subconsciously (or consciously) make a note to call or visit that company when you next have time Ė which could be in several weeks.

Thatís why a one-off ad is unlikely to get much response. Assuming the readers noticed it, when they go back to the Adscene several weeks later to find the number or address, the one-off ad wonít be there.

If the ad says they have a small number of top brand inverters at $XXX (an obviously low price), and that next week the price goes back up to $YYY, then you will be more likely to call them.

On the basis, that the advertiser also offers repairs and installation, such a company should be advertising every week, with a prominent contact number. The ad doesnít necessarily need to be big, but it needs to be visible.

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Why canít I get a big discount?

Posted by Adscene at 16:41 on Mar 28 2009

We get asked this nearly every week, and ironically more by smaller businesses. I guess people are conditioned to expecting overly inflated prices here in the Dominican Republic. When you ask the price of a jeep on a forecourt here, the first price you will be given will be way over the top, and you are expected to knock it down.

With the Adscene itís different. We deliberately set all pricing to be as transparent as possible. Everybody pays the same prices for their ads, regardless of the advertiserís size. The only discounts are 10% for booking four weeks or more. The only way we could offer bigger discounts would be to set the advertising prices to be double or triple what they are now Ė then sure Ė we could discount!

But that would waste too much of your time and ours. If you canít afford 200 pesos for a small boxed ad, and want to spend an hour negotiating on the price Ė then Iím really not sure why or how you are still in business. If our ad prices were US$30,000 a page, and you wanted 4 pages each issue, I could understand you wanting to negotiate.

Please do yourself a favor. We donít discount ad prices for anyone. If you donít believe us, ask other advertisers.

If you are still convinced we are ripping you off, try going to a printer yourself and checking how much printing costs here. I can guarantee that you will struggle to print the same number of flyers for the equivalent price to your ad. Then you have to pay extra to get your flyer distributed into the hands of prospective clients. And then what do people do when they get handed a flyer? A cursory glance and it then goes into a pocket to be forgotten about, or thrown away.

With the Adscene, people purposely pick it up and take it home. Very often it then sits around their home or business for several days and other people peruse it as well.

Overall, a much cheaper and more effective way of getting your message in front of people.

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It seems we need to print more

Posted by Adscene at 10:15 on Mar 27 2009

More and more people over the last 2 months have been telling us that if they donít get to one of our distribution stands by Saturday, there wonít be any Adscenes left.

Weíve always been careful to raise the circulation slowly but steadily. In our view, it doesnít help anyone if we print too many, and there are some left over at the end of the week which donít get into the hands of people who want to read them. Thatís just a waste of paper and money. We started off printing 1000 copies, now weíre up to 2000 copies, most of which are gone within 2 days.

So we will be pushing the circulation up again to ensure that enough people on the North Coast get to see it each week.

Of course, when we print more copies we have to put the advertising prices up. The Adscene is free, so all revenue comes through the advertising. When we print more, the printing cost goes up in a roughly linear fashion. Inevitably, some advertisers balk at the ad prices going up, but in reality they are winning. If we print 25% more copies, and their ad price goes up 15-20%, then their ad gets seen by an extra 5-10% of people for free.

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Welcome to our blog

Posted by Adscene at 13:33 on Mar 26 2009

Welcome to our blog! Weíre hoping to keep you up-to-date with any new developments at the Adscene (the Dominican Republic North Coastís premier English language newspaper), and let you know what weíre up to.

When we started in May 2007, with a simple 4-page publication, we werenít sure what the potential was for a serious(ish) English language paper. Weíd heard that several had tried it before, and given up for whatever reason. Nearly 2 years later, and weíre now up to 24 pages and weíve doubled the circulation from 1000 copies to 2000 copies. When we started, each issue was rather sporadic - out roughly every 2 weeks. Now itís out every week without fail on Thursdays Ė unless we take a week off!

We appreciate any feedback, whether on this blog or by email, and weíll do our best to answer your questions.

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