For those that are not aware, two radio ads introducing people to Linux and our services/non profit recently ran on KLBJ AM radio in Austin Texas.
The results were surprising in part...some of them confirmed wide-held suspicions about computer users in general.
Some of them fostered thoughts of running knitting needles through my eyes...
What follows is our analysis of those ads and some potentially important information that may prove useful for anyone wanting to do what we did.
The ads were scheduled to run multiple times during the week and weekend. The 30 second spots would run during the week and the 60 second spot would run exclusively during the Kim Komando show. It ran once an hour for the duration of her program.
In total, there were just at 100 ads played for a two week period. We had scheduled a month to do this but budget restraints just did not allow it. The first surprise is that our web traffic did not jump like we anticipated. People chose to call us and talk rather than visit a website and get their information. Those that did visit the site were there for a short period. noting the duration of visits and pages clicked on by the visitors...they went to the "contact us" page or to get the phone number.
The fact that many chose to call instead of reading a website for information, at least to me is telling. As well, Thomas Holbrook of freedomwareproject.org graciously placed our ad on The Oracle Broadcasting Network online radio site. To date, we have fielded four inquiries from that ad. One sale pending the upgrade of his current computer.
We fielded 179 phone calls, 63 emails and 4 personal visits of inquiry from the ads. There are three categories in which I have placed these communications.
Cautious and curious.
Interested but skeptical.
Should never be allowed to touch a computer without professional on-site guidance
The first group comprised the largest and ranked at just over 62 percent of the calls. Their questions were probing and showed sincere interest but almost all of them asked more about the legality of Linux than they did the efficiency of it. Once the Free Software concept was explained to them, caution dropped significantly, especially when they found that large corporations were involved with the effort. Many expressed concern that there seemed to be "no one at the helm".
We explained this to them to the point of becoming a potential and unacceptable time sink. Some but an obvious minority, thought that a loose-knit group of thousands of developers is superior to one company holding the reins.
It was this group that purchased our services with the exception of one.
The second group, the ones that I identify as skeptical, were so for a reason. The 60 second ad produced the majority of the calls. 83 percent of them to be exact.
The skepticism stemmed from the 30 second ad. I will take direct responsibility for this particular failure.
The trick was to encapsulate the essence of Linux, or the benefits therein within 30 seconds.
It was kind of like trying to fill a pillow with goose feathers using a fork.
I wrote the ad, thinking that if people knew what the various EULA's allowed Microsoft and third-party vendors to do in and to their computers, it would prompt them to investigate further. As well, I did not proof the final and consequently, there were some untrue things stated in that 30 second ad. "all the software you will ever need is free".
A third grader can pick that apart. My bad....
The skepticism stemmed from that ad.
"No one can do that to my computer", said one email. "It's illegal and Microsoft didn't get where they are today by breaking the law."
Where do you go with that? Espeically when your phone has three calls waiting on hold.
You simply guide them to the EULA and wish them luck.
The third category made me sincerely consider large amounts of narcotic pain medications.
All of them, to the last one, thought Linux was a "program" they could run on Windows and solve these problems.
Question from us: "Did you go to our website and read about Linux and the advantages?"
Caller/emailer: "No, I just want to know how to get this free program"
Response from us: "Linux isn't a program, it is a different operating system. It is designed for security and ease of use."
Caller/emailer: "A what?"
Response from us: "An operating system. Microsoft Windows is an operating system, Linux is an alternative operating system that will stop the problems you are currently having with your system now."
Caller/emailer: "OK, then I want to install that program on my computer. Will I still be able to play online poker?"
And no, I didn't want the narcotic pain medication for pleasure purposes.
I thought it would dull the pain when the knitting needle penetrated through to the eye socket.
It was during these little talks that I sincerely wished that spontaneous combustion was a common occurrence...my end or theirs...
Either way would have provided the desired relief.
In all, we made six sales. out of all the calls and email inquiries we received, there were six sales. However, there is a fairly well-known employment agency that is working with us to migrate 30 percent of their clerical machines to Linux. That isn't sealed yet but should it become so, these ads, from our perspective, would be a success.
An interesting side note...four out of the six people that hired us to install Linux on their home computers were female.
As it stands now, even in my most delusional of days, I cannot present this grand experiment as a success.
Monetarily it failed. When you recover less than half of what it cost to run the ad, it just plain didn't work.
Now, had we run the sixty second ads exclusively...would the outcome be different?
We think so...we simply didn't have the money to find out. As well, maybe running fewer ads during the week but stretching them out over a 30 day period might have been more efficient.
So...the forkable ads are out there for whoever wants to use them. We may try it again with the 60 second ad at a later date, but for now...we are chalking it up to experience gained and moving forward.
knit one - pearl two...
Sunday, October 04, 2009
blather and mumbling provided by Unknown at 9:42 AM