View Full Version : Advertising Review - Derby's Pet Fence

Steve B
12-24-2008, 12:26 PM
Here are three different ads to review - all for Derby's Pet Fence. They are all quite different - you're welcome to pick apart each one, or just let me know which style you think would be most effective.

Derby's Any Questions Ad (http://www.derbysfence.com/ads/B&W%20ad%20for%20roundabout.pdf)

And a completely different style ad for Derby's also.

Derby's Half Page Coupons (http://www.derbysfence.com/ads/halfDerbysPetFenceNov08.pdf)

And a third one to compare.

back cover (http://www.derbysfence.com/ads/BACK%20COVER-DERBY%20PET-2008-03.pdf)

12-24-2008, 12:54 PM
Don't have much time steve, off to the airport shortly. I think the top link is more effective. Even if you have an ugly dog, people are proud of their dogs The middle coupon one seemed to busy to me. I'm a dog person and also have a boxer which some might think is an ugly dog (although he's show quality). There is a reason cute kid commercials work. I'd say, go for cute.

Gotta go. Just a quick opinion.

12-24-2008, 04:31 PM
To me the first ad isn't very compelling. It's the same old copy I've seen a million times. It's well done, but I don't know that it would make me want to call and order a pet fence.

I like the middle one. It's colorful and coupons are always useful particularly in this economic climate. I especially like the bit about the rescue pets. I think that's a nice touch.

I'm with Bill on the third one. Even people with ugly dogs think they're cute. Plus isn't the middle picture on that ad a pig? I get that you're going for funny, but I'm not sure if you get there, and you do risk offending some potential customers.

I'd say my favorite is the second one.

the goat
12-24-2008, 10:48 PM
I really like the middle one, coupons are great. What I really like is the discount and donation for people who adopt. Personally, if I was in the market for a dog fence and saw that, you would get my business even if I didn't adopt my dog.

That offer gives me a sense that you are a thoughtful operation, whether it is a marketing ploy or a genuine gesture towards animal rescue is of no consequence. (I am leaning towards the latter) Either way you are doing something that helps a great cause. That's commendable and in my eyes says a lot about your company.

Steve B
12-25-2008, 06:14 AM
Thanks The Goat. The Rescue Dog Program is a win/win/win/win (me, new owner, rescue group, dog). I'm happy to give up $75 to get a job (far less than most other things I pay for to get a job). My local competitor stole the program literally word for word from me. I took that as the ultimate compliment and I'm glad he didn't try to outdo it by adding a little more. You'd be surprised how few of the Rescue Organizations take advantage of it (I give them a supply of certificates to hand out with the dogs that get adopted).

Good feedback so far - keep it coming.

12-25-2008, 12:01 PM
Steve, I too like the one with the coupons and the sense of caring with the rescue dogs...what a great way to reward those others that care enough to bring a resuced dog home.

On a personal note, we rescued our King, springer we were the last chance for him as in his first year he had two homes, the next 12 years he was a huge part of our family...he passed this last Memorial day weekend and what great memories he left us with...but King not here today to chase the gift wrap will be much different :(

Thank you for caring! :)
Merry Christmas My Friends!

Steve B
01-04-2009, 09:02 AM
This has been helpful to me - any more opinions?

01-04-2009, 03:16 PM
The middle one is my favorite as well. I do like the black and white ad too, though I'm not sure the black and white adds anything so I'd probably make it color.

I agree about the last ad. Instead of saying ugliest dogs how about meanest dogs or something like that. Ugliest will likely just come across as insulting.

Steve B
01-04-2009, 04:14 PM
The B&W was for a newspaper. It didn't get any response - but, neither do most of my print ads.

01-05-2009, 10:05 AM
In that case using black and white makes sense. How often have you run these ads. If it's only been once or even twice you probably can't expect much return. I think more repetition will be needed before seeing a return.

Looking at that ad again I'm not sure if the text at the top (The Best...) does anything. The picture of the dog will clearly pull people in, but it's only at the very bottom of the ad that someone reading would know what you're offering. They might have turned the page before getting to the bottom.

Instead of "The Best..." maybe you could ask some questions that lead people toward the bottom of the ad. Or maybe the statements could be more specific. "The Best" is generic and hard to believe since many people make the same claim.

Steve B
01-05-2009, 06:44 PM
I've run the first two several times each in our magazine that is mailed out to 20,000 homes every other month. I had some success with them, but not enough to justify the cost.

The "The Best" ad was run only once in a newspaper style magazine. With Zero phone calls it was hard to justify running it again. Even if I tripled the response, it would still be zero! I don't know if it was a bad ad, a bad periodical, or bad timing - but, it's hard to keep throwing $500 down the tubes.

01-05-2009, 08:31 PM
If you did get some response with the Magazine ads maybe that means improving the ads will lead to a greater return.

With the newspaper ad it's hard to know what was the cause of no response. However most advice would be you need to run it a few times at least before you can really measure the response.

Hey, maybe you can quadruple your response.

01-09-2009, 09:13 AM
can you share with me (in pm form) what your ad costs were for the different media. Maybe I can make some suggestions.

Steve B
01-09-2009, 10:37 AM
Sure- I send you a PM later today or tomorrow.

01-10-2009, 03:20 PM
Just a thought ... what about using some statistics of how many family pets (dogs) are lost each year and how your product can help prevent this tragedy? Maybe use a format similar to a lost dog poster. Pet owners love their own dogs, but also are empathetic to other people and their dogs. This might grab attention and make people think.

Steve B
01-10-2009, 05:39 PM
That's a great idea. I'll see what I can come up with.

01-30-2009, 09:39 AM

I agree about the comments on the rescue dog program - it immediately struck me (a dog owner who ONLY gets a 'hound from the pound').

I have a couple of comments/suggestions:
- The key benefits (at least to me) are; GUARANTEE, RECHARGEABLE collar and RESCUE DOG program. I would stress them hard. I'm a dog owner and these are all the things that appeal to ME. I would stress them hard (did I say that already!)
- Training - no mention of if easy/hard to train a dog, this would be a big concern as a dog owner
- Safety - somebody made a comment on this
- Price - compare it to the cost of a traditional fence (I would 'guess' most owners are considering both - we did, not sure if this is true for everybody)

Would speak to your past clients and ask them what made them pick you/buy a fence, find the common theme and sell it - BTW you can disguise it as a "we're following up to make sure you are happy" call which should increase the perceived value of your service.

Also took a look at your website and I have one immediate recommendation: I would add some free report or something ("FREE Report on How EASY it is to train your dog on OUR System" or something like that) to get people's email addr's then drip on them to convert to buyers. (PM me and I'll add it for free in exchange for a testominial!)

Good luck


01-30-2009, 12:04 PM
Great suggestions Jem. I'm quite familiar with Steve's product and service so I know for example that the training is likely easier than your concerns and I know the fence and collar are safe. Price? I'm not actually sure how they compare to a traditional fence. But I also know the site and marketing materials probably could do more to highlight the information and make the answers obvious to potential customers.

Steve B
01-30-2009, 08:54 PM
Good suggestions. I agree the training is not addressed very well on the website. I can easily make comparisons to traditional fencing. The costs are very favorable (about 10-20 cents on the dollar).

FYI - the training is 7-9 days of two sessions a day for 10 minutes each. I do the first session on day 1 and I come back for the first session on day 3.

Thanks for the review. I'm always willing to add to the website. Honestly, I think I my have too much on there and may need to find some stuff to take away.

01-30-2009, 10:45 PM
Steve we could do a few basic articles on training your dog. In all honesty it would make a perfect topic for a blog if you want to add one.

Burn Creative
01-30-2009, 11:24 PM
I think the ads can definitely use some work. Also, getting business through advertising takes time and is almost never accomplished by running an ad once or for just a small amount of time. It takes a consistent effort for it to start paying off.

01-30-2009, 11:56 PM
It takes a consistent effort for it to start paying off.

Very true. You really have to plan to send out an ad or series of ads from the start. Sending them out once is just spending money.

Steve B
01-31-2009, 05:51 AM
I have run a series of ads consistently for three years in one market to the same group of people via the same publication (covering 130,000 homes). In another market I did a series to the same people via the same publication for two years (20,000 homes). The best I've ever done with print advertising was break-even on any given individual ad - overall the profit generated has not covered the cost. Perhaps it has gained some indirect sales from name recognition, but it's impossible to measure that. Print advertising is a tough gig in this economy. The better returns on my print advertising was at the beginning of those cycles - perhaps because the economy was better or perhaps due to diminishing returns.

Steve B
01-31-2009, 05:53 AM
"I think the ads can definitely use some work" - Anything specific?

Despite what I've said above, I can't give up on print advertising - so I'm curious which style of the three I posted you prefer.

Steve B
01-31-2009, 07:48 AM
I just wrote some contect for a page I'll dedicate to training on the website. I already have a lot of content about the hardware, the features, the cost, and my company. It only makes sense to dedicate some space to one of the most important parts of the service. The training really is a major difference in what you get when you pay a professional versus doing it yourself. I probably haven't pushed that enough.

Steve (VG) - you can check your e-mail in a few minutes.

I'll never have a Blog because I don't have the time or enough content to update it often enough. I can probably only generate 2 or 3 interesting things a year. I do, however, plan on submitting some articles to local newspapers. I wrote one yesterday about the importance of walking your dog that I'll submit. I also may try to help out some local Home Owner Associations with articles for their newsletters. I published one once before on-line, but all my business is local so it really doesn't help me much.

01-31-2009, 09:13 AM
Steve, I've never used a pet fence (although I'm considering it for this rodent of a Yorkie I have, Boxer is fine). Having said that, I've talked to several people recently who had their dog break through an electric fence. The Dog Whisperer even had that mentioned on one of his shows.

I suspect that it happened because of a improperly trained dog or the collar wasn't properly attached. Just a guess though.

I do have a shock collar that I use for training. To those that aren't familiar, the current trend in using shock collars is to use extremely low voltage levels to train things like come. It's just slightly annoying to the dog, no pain. Additionally, I find that the vibration mode works just fine now. No shock

If you do use a blog or tutorials, a good site to copy in style is (hmm erased it from my favorites). He's a famous trainer of shepherds. A ton of video clips on his site as well as he sells training videos. I think he is in Colorado or there abouts as well. Might live next to VG.

His site is something that could peg you to his videos. The dogs are amazing. Maybe some youtube stuff linking to your site would work?

Just an idea.

01-31-2009, 11:34 AM
Steve I did get your email. I'll get you a reply sometime today or tomorrow.

I'm wondering how do you target your list. Your ads always seem generally good to me. I know they can be improved here and there, but they generally seem good enough to generate more of a response than you seem to get.

You're sending the ads to the same people consistently, which should start to generate a greater response over time.

Maybe the list isn't so targeted. Is the list made up of dog owners. There's no reason to send the ads to anyone who doesn't have a dog and maybe people thinking of getting a dog. If you're sending to a list of people that includes many non dog owners that would certainly increase your costs without increasing the return.

Steve B
01-31-2009, 11:35 AM
billbenson - PLEASE have these people call me! - Just have them reference that they know you so I know why someone from out of town is calling. I'll help them over the phone. I've got 1,200+ dogs contained with only one failure. The one failure would have not been a problem except I wasn't as experienced in the training back then. The success is ALL about the training and a properly fitted collar. Although my hardward and installations are superior to most systems, the cheapest system out there will work just as well as mine with the right training.

I'm happy to keep any dog safe. Not to mention I'm bored right now since the ground is frozen.

Steve B
01-31-2009, 11:38 AM
VG - those publications are pretty much blanket advertising to the better zip codes in my area. I'm hitting those homes at less than 2 cents a piece. To do a targeted list to homeowners drives the cost up to $1.00 a piece (since it would have to be direct mail etc.).

I think it's just the nature of the beast and our economy right now. Not to say an ad can't be improved however.

01-31-2009, 11:55 AM
Yeah, if it costs you more to build the targeted list than to send to the untargeted lists it probably doesn't make much sense build the more targeted list. You might want to think of a way though to take that into account when measuring results. For example if you sent to 1,000 people and get 30 responses, but you know only 30% of the population you sent to own dogs then your return is really 30/300 or 10% instead of 30/1000 or 3%.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I do think a blog would work well on your site. The topic is one with plenty to write about and one that people are always looking for. While you'd be writing to a log of people who naturally wouldn't buy a fence installation, you would sell more to people in the area and there are other ways to monetize the blog without hurting the fencing business. It would also be a great way to pull in more search traffic.

02-01-2009, 03:28 PM
I 100% agree with vangogh (Steve?).

I ran some quick analysis on your position in the search engines and got this:
Keyword Google Yahoo MSN LIVE
Louisville invisible fence 5 4 4
Frankfort invisible fence 7 5 1
Lexington invisible fence 101 30 4
Jeffersonville invisible fence 21 1 3
invisible fence 150 99 -
Louisville invisible dog fence 1 2 4
Frankfort invisible dog fence 9 3 2
Lexington invisible dog fence 10 8 8
Jeffersonville invisible dog fence 2 2 4
Louisville invisible pet fence 1 2 2
Frankfort invisible pet fence 5 2 1
Lexington invisible pet fence 3 7 3
Jeffersonville invisible pet fence 1 1 3
invisible dog fence 92 - -

I would guess that jives with your web statistics. you have a great base to build from and could easily move up in the rankings on this with a little work.

I know you would get a lot of traffic outside of your geographic area but I would assume there is some referral system in place to refer business to other invisible fence providers around the country - failing that good old adsense!

02-01-2009, 04:15 PM
That's what I was thinking. I know a blog would pull traffic from outside the area and those people aren't going to buy a fence from you, but you would also be gaining more local traffic too who might buy a fence.

Even those outside the area would be valuable. Someone in Montana might still have family and friends in Lousiville. Someone in San Francisco might have a blog that links to your posts increasing the rank of the page both locally and nationally.

There are also ways to profit from the more national visits. You can work out referral programs with other pet fencers in different areas. We could show an ad for an LA fencer only when a visitor arrives from LA. You could show a different ad for a fencer in Baltimore when a visitor is from Baltimore.

You don't have to adopt every possibility, but there are many different ways a blog can help and you may like some of them.

I know you don't think you could find enough to write about, but I bet you can once you get started. As you blog more you'll be able to see new ideas. I won't lie though. It is work and it does take time to run a successful blog.

Steve B
02-01-2009, 10:33 PM
Interesting idea about taking advantage of national traffic. I'm independent - so there wouldn't be any referral to other companies. Invisible Fence is my main competitor - and I would never refer anyone to that company no matter how much money I would get (seriously). Maybe somewhere in the future, but right now there is just no way I will have the time to keep up with a blog and keep it interesting.

Today, I submitted an article that I wrote to 50 local rescue organizations and vets. Two have shown interest already and will publish in their newsletters. It's like an old-fashioned "blog". Considering it's Sunday, I may still get a few more responses this week. I'll submit the article to local papers also and see what happens.

Thanks for that analysis jem. If you were local - I would also show up (usually #1) for most of them under Adwords. I like showing up twice on a page - so I'm all for improving my page ranking with organic hits also.

02-02-2009, 12:18 AM
I wouldn't expect you to send business to Invisible Fence.

I thought maybe there would be other people like yourself across the country. I would assume there are. Maybe there's a way you could all recommend each other since you're really not in competition with each other. An affiliate program could be set up so you each make a little something for the recommendations and now that I think about it maybe you could be in charge of the affiliate application and collecting a little something when anyone in the network recommends anyone else. Your cut for running the affiliate program.

Not sure if any of that sounds interesting to you, but it popped into my head so I thought I'd share.

02-02-2009, 06:28 AM
Steve_B I'll definitely send any inquiries your way. I'm trying to remember who said their dog broke through the fence. Might have been my neighbor. In any case, I will certainly give them your referral.

Different question, do you have trouble with the collar irritating the skin of the dog?

Steve B
02-02-2009, 08:43 AM
Different question, do you have trouble with the collar irritating the skin of the dog?

No trouble as long as people remember to take the collar off every night. It should be off for at least 8 hours a day.

Steve B
02-02-2009, 08:47 AM
Steve - I guess that could happen someday. But, the ones that I would recomend are all independent, so there is no way to get us organized or even find out about each other. Through my supplier I've been put in touch with a guy in Michigan, Minnesota, and North Carolina. It wouldn't really be effective unless I had hundreds that I could refer to.

The better bet would be for me to sell some products nationally that don't require installation or training (remote training collars, dog doors, etc.). There are too many retailers doing this that I probably wouldn't be able to effectively compete. And, I'm just not interested in that kind of business - it just doesn't interest me.