In a world that’s filled to the brim with new media, it’s easy to forget about the old. But traditional media is far from dead. In fact, for small businesses in particular, it’s still very much alive. That’s because tried-and-true methods of advertising tend to be more affordable, more accessible and oftentimes more effective. And nothing is more tried and true than newspapers.
Sure, they’re not always as flashy and interesting as newer forms of advertising, and they’re certainly not as “cutting edge,” but newspaper ads work, and they’ve been working for more than a century (the first full-page newspaper ad appeared in 1878). Here’s why they might work for you:
1. Newspaper ads offer you wider and more frequent exposure.
2. Consumers tend to be more receptive to newspaper ads; they expect them and sometimes read the paper especially for them.
3. Newspaper ads are convenient; you can buy ads and make changes to them quickly and easily.
4. Newspaper ads are more informative; there often is more room for important details, such as prices and phone numbers.
5. Newspaper ads are more affordable; there are a variety of sizes to fit anyone’s budget.
Define your objectiveThere are many types of ads for different objectives: A business card ad says who you are and how to find you; a sale ad informs the public about special deals and discounts; an advertorial is an ad that looks like a news article and highlights your business’ expertise in a certain subject area; and a spotlight ad calls attention to a particular product or service.
Choose a newspaperThere are numerous options for companies that want to make their mark in newsprint. Your city’s daily newspaper is just one of them. Others include local weeklies as well as regional and alternative papers. Consider high school and college newspapers, too, as well as trade newspapers and weekly shoppers.
Choose an ad size, rateNewspaper ads are generally sold by column and inch. They come in many shapes and sizes, and there are typically many options for any sized budget.
Select position, scheduleWhere your ad is on the page is key; outside positions are ideal because readers will see them as they’re turning pages. Also important is in what section of the paper your ad runs; advertising in special sections, such as food or business, presents a unique opportunity for target marketing. Finally, before you publish your ad, you’ll need to decide when to run it and for how long; buying for frequency will save money and boost exposure.
Write good ad copyThe best newspaper ads are short and descriptive. You’ll need words compelling enough to grab readers’ attention and persuasive enough to make a sale.
Design an attractive adThere are several things to consider in designing your ad. You must decide, for instance, whether your ad will be full color—which costs more—or black and white. Keep in mind that clean, uncluttered ads are most effective, and that ads in which product images are placed near the inside of the page are strongest.
Measure ROIAn ad is worthless if you can’t prove that it works. Make sure you have a means for measuring your ad’s effectiveness.
- It’s important to understand the disadvantages of newspaper ads, as well. Keep in mind that newspaper ads are generally read only once, printed in poor quality, must compete with other surrounding ads and may get lost on copy-heavy pages.
- Be careful not to overlook details; be sure your ad includes your company name, logo, address and phone number, as well as any other important information.
- Add your Web site address to every ad you publish in order to drive traffic there.
- Keep your audience in mind; newspapers are a great way to reach older customers, but might not be the most effective means for connecting with younger people.
- Many daily newspapers publish several editions for local communities; save money by running your ad only in select editions.
- When you’re deciding when to publish your ad, keep in mind that circulation tends to drop on Saturdays and climb on Sundays.
- Always remember to proofread your ad; ask the newspaper for a review copy prior to publication.
- All newspapers have Web sites. Consider extending the reach of your ad by purchasing online banners to accompany your print efforts.