Despite all the hoopla about internet advertising, old-fashioned print ads can still produce solid results, as long as you understand how to use them effectively. That requires a familiarity with their advantages and disadvantages, and knowing how to get the most bang for your buck.
Here are four types of print advertising to consider for your marketing plan, and what you need to know about each option:
Pros: They still command a sizable audience, and provide instant access to a diverse segment of the population.
Cons: People 30 and under are less likely to subscribe to newspapers. Pages also tend to be fairly cluttered.
How to get the most out of newspaper advertising
For starters, if you’re advertising in a daily, make sure to place your ads in editions going to specific zip codes likely to reach your targeted customers. In addition, don’t pay for a costly full-page ad. According to Rodger Roeser, vice president of Justice & Young Advertising and Public Relations in Cincinnati, Ohio, it takes about 17 times for a reader to see an advertisement before it registers. The upshot: It’s best to use your dollars to pay for more frequent, smaller displays of a quarter-page or less. To make sure more people see the ad, try to have it placed so that editorial content is wrapped around it. And, make it simple. “The more focused the message, the more impact,” says Jay Lipe, president of Emerge Marketing in Minneapolis and author of Stand Out from the Crowd: Secrets to Crafting a Winning Company Identity (Kaplan Publishing, 2006).
Chances are, smaller newspapers will be better bets. You also might find that a daily isn’t the best choice. For example, many cities have weekly community newspapers that, according to Roeser, tend to attract more female readers. The upshot: If your product or service is aimed at women, then it probably makes more sense to advertise there.
Expect to pay from $2 per column inch to $400 or more, depending on the newspaper’s circulation.
Pros: The production quality is generally much higher than newspapers. You can also hone in on a more finely tuned market by choosing magazines aimed at specific vertical markets.
Cons: They’re more costly than newspapers–anywhere from $2,000 for a full-page color ad to six figures, depending on circulation and demographics of readership. And if the magazine is a monthly, there may be a long lead time for delivery of your ad in advance of publication.
How to get the most out of magazine advertising
Most small businesses should eschew general-interest magazines in favor of highly targeted publications that focus on your customer. That can mean consumer publications aimed at anyone from golfers to cat owners, or business-to-business magazines. “Otherwise, it’s like using a nuclear bomb to kill an ant,” says Roeser. Lipe, for example, points to the maker of retail displays and fixtures that recently advertised in a magazine specifically for fixture manufacturers. In a period of several months, according to Lipe, the company achieved its goal, landing at least three accounts with Fortune 1000 companies. Remember, as with newspapers, frequency is more important than size.
And don’t forget to look for value-added programs. Many magazines will allow advertisers to speak at or attend seminars or trade shows they sponsor. Nikki Campbell, president of Campbell Consulting, a marketing firm in Pittsburgh, participates in a career fair put on by a local magazine in which she advertises. The publication gives her free exhibition space.
To find magazines that address your target market, visit the Magazine Publishers Association and get their Magazine Handbook.
Yellow Pages Advertising
Pros: Costs are lower than magazines or newspapers. And customers are conducting an active search for a service.
Cons: Generally, customers under age 35 head online, instead of turning to the Yellow Pages.
How to get the most out of Yellow Pages advertising
Generally, Yellow Pages ads are effective for less pricey services, and products considered commodities – plumbers or hardware stores, for example. If your company fits the bill, there’s one key rule: size matters. Since you’re only paying for one ad once a year, you should consider paying for a bigger display likely to attract more attention. One tip: rates charged by independent Yellow Pages publishers are about half those produced by the top telephone companies, according to Simba Information in Stanford, Ct. The average rate for a quarter-page ad in a book published by one of the top twenty-five publishers is $15,289.
Pros: These methods are generally low cost.
Cons: Usually such methods are not suitable for businesses targeting a broad area.
How to get the most out of off-the-beaten-track advertising
Many communities produce a wide range of non-traditional print publications, such as directories or calendars. For businesses aiming at a highly local clientele, for example, community calendars might be a good choice. Campbell recalls a car wash that recently paid for four ads, each with a coupon, printed in the local calendar. The business ended up redeeming 300-500 coupons a month. “You have to know your customer’s mindset,” says Campbell. “If they’re the type of people who look for coupons, the daily newspaper might not be the best place to reach them.”
While internet advertising may be getting most of the press these days, don’t discount the value of print advertising in your marketing mix. There are plenty of opportunities for small businesses and startups to take advantage of print advertising as they formulate a marketing plan.
Anne Field is a freelance writer for StartupNation.