5 Key Tips for Effective Newspaper Advertising
Print media advertising, especially in newspapers, has both its pros and cons. On the one hand, you can generate a lot of leads and exposure with newspaper advertising. But on the other hand, the response rate you get can be less impressive than with online advertising, for example.
But of course, when you’re just starting a brand new business or looking to make your current business even better, you should try out every advertising method. Print media advertising is still very effective for many small businesses, and it might work well for you. The key thing to remember is not going all out in one form of advertising until you’ve tested it first with a smaller investment of money.
1. Consider How Advertising Costs Are Calculated
How the advertising costs are calculated will influence your decision of where to advertise. For example, in newspapers, ad space is sold by the column inch. The rate you pay for that inch can also vary depending on the specific ad classification. For instance, if you’re advertising in a service directory, that should cost less per column inch than an ad in a regular editorial section.
Another thing to keep in mind is that pretty much every newspaper gives discounts for contracted advertisers. The specific discount depends on how much ad space and volume they commit to for the specified contract year.
2. Select the Best Newspapers
It’s usually expensive to invest in national and regional print media advertising. On the other hand, community and local newspapers are less costly. In addition, they might allow you to take a more focused approach to your advertising.
After all, if you offer a local service, then it’s definitely more logical to focus on the local community and their newspaper. That’s because the people in that community will be more likely to read their local paper than a national publication.
While many people read national print media, it’s not worth investing in unless you have a bigger budget, it’s your target audience, and you know what you’re doing.
That isn’t to say that reaching out to a large number of people is a bad thing. On the contrary, metropolitan print media advertising can work well if your product or service is exceptional enough to stand out and pull in people from that particular metro area.
3. Look at What Your Competition Is Doing
Your competitors are likely spending their money on some form of print media advertising. If they are also in your local newspaper, that means your advertising efforts could potentially be diminished. You’ll be competing with them for your customers’ “mind share.”
The lesson here is this: don’t put all of your advertising eggs in one basket. Instead, diversify your advertising efforts, i.e., have a presence on both print media and online. You should also have a backup plan for when the space you’re in becomes too crowded and/or less profitable.
4. Learn to Write Effective Copy
Now that we’ve talked about the key tips for getting started, we’ll discuss the specifics of how to create an effective ad. Of course, there’s a lot to cover in this subject, and copywriting is a skill in itself (which is why good copywriters get paid well). First, however, we’ll go over the basics here. But make no mistake, these points are crucial for success in print media advertising.
The first thing to do is create an attention-grabbing headline. It could be a carefully crafted headline for what you offer or simply an eye-catching phrase. However, if you want to use phrases, avoid slang and controversial terms. And keep your headline short and sweet. A long headline will seldom grab anyone’s attention.
The Body Text
Now for the actual copy (body text) – it will need to be long enough to support your message, but no more than that. How do you know how long to make it? Consider what kind of business you are or the specific product that you’re offering. Suppose it’s a business product or a technical product. In that case, a longer copy works better because it will come across as more informative.
Now, the advantage of shorter copy is that it creates more room for images and graphics. This combo works well for industries involving fashion, lifestyle products, and home décor.
This is the nitty-gritty of what your messaging will actually contain. A powerful technique that works in print media advertising is using comparative advertising phrases. These are phrases like “You’ve experienced the rest. Now try the best!” However, you need a solid product or service to back up a statement like this. Your offering should include obvious advantages over your competition (some of whom might be advertising in that very same column or section).
Benefits, Benefits, Benefits
Next, you need to highlight the benefits of your product or service offering. Why should they buy it now? List your reasons or product/service benefits in the body of the copy. Put the emphasis on the customer and not yourself. For example, use “you” instead of “we.” Use bullet points to mention the key attributes.
Get The Sale!
And now for the closing section. This simply needs to include the essential information that’s necessary for you to get the sale. I.e., your contact information, business address, phone number, website name or URL, etc. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customer to act on their purchasing decision.
5. Consider Free Newspaper Advertising
Finally, we’d like to wrap this up with a few closing tips.
If your product or service offering is more downscale and low-cost, then consider just advertising in a free newspaper to start out. However, if your offering is more upscale, then stick with paid print media advertising.
Even if you fit into the latter situation, you should still stick with a lower budget for your first advertising campaign. Test things out, see the results firsthand, and you’ll get a better sense of how effective your advertising actually is. If you’re inexperienced, the last thing you want to do is recklessly blow all of your ad dollars.