The world these days is a fast-paced place. As such, businesses are hard-pressed to find consumers willing to slow down long enough to hear what they have to say. But that’s exactly what most of them need—new customers who will stop and not just consume their message, but digest it. That’s what marketing is all about. Lucky for advertisers, in a world of high-speed media there is still one place consumers turn to in order to chew more slowly over stimuli: Magazines.
Despite the proliferation of content on the Internet, PDAs and mobile media, people still like to sit on their couch and flip leisurely through magazines. That’s a good thing for small businesses because:
1. Consumers expect and even enjoy ads when they’re in magazines.
2. Half of readers take action on magazine ads.
3. Magazines let advertisers target niche markets more efficiently.
4. Magazines reach a more affluent demographic.
5. Magazines are passed along and read multiple times, offering advertisers added, long-term exposure.
Narrow your options
When it comes to magazines, the options are endless. There are trade magazines, with which you can reach just about any special interest niche you desire, and consumer magazines, which allow you to reach a broader demographic of general interest readers. There are national magazines, regional magazines and even local magazines. Consider your goals and budget and choose wisely.
Pay attention to readership
Magazines’ greatest advantage is their ability to connect you with your ideal consumer—someone of a particular age, race, income or gender, or someone with a particular interest or hobby. Before you purchase ad space with a title, then, study its circulation in order to make sure that its readers are also your customers.
Design for attractiveness
Many consumers who buy magazines don’t necessarily read them; instead, they just look at them. It’s important, then, to create an eye-catching, image-oriented ad with both good copy and pretty pictures. Use bold colors and an interesting layout to make the most of your marketing investment.
Consider bells and whistles
Magazines offer advertisers a unique opportunity to make their ads more creative, more engaging and more persuasive with special, though admittedly expensive, enhancements. Instead of running a small, two-dimensional advertisement, businesses with the budget and desire can buy inserts, business reply cards and gatefolds, and can sometimes even arrange to include small product samples.
Magazines are built carefully, designed with deliberate real estate for editorial and advertising alike. The front and back of the book typically contain shorter articles, regular departments and product endorsements while the middle of the book—the feature well—usually includes the magazine’s longer articles. Examine a few issues of a magazine to decide where your ad most makes sense and try to negotiate appropriate placement.
Keep your eye on ROI
Magazine ads have been proven to improve marketing ROI across a broad range of product categories. Avoid investing in a magazine ad unless you are ready and able to measure its success.
- Magazines are often produced several months before they’re published. As such, be prepared to create and purchase your ad early with substantial lead-time.
- If you sell an especially cool product, or a really unique service, consider sending a sample with a press release to relevant magazines. They may decide to feature your product or write about it, which translates into free magazine advertising in the form of legitimate editorial content.
- The greatest disadvantage to magazine advertising is its high cost. Magazines, however, typically offer advertisers one-time, three-time, six-time or 12-time annual rates. Buying ads at higher frequency is more effective and can save you money.
- Magazine ads tend to improve a company’s image; the higher-quality production and paper often lends your product and brand more credibility in consumers’ eyes.
- Many national magazines offer regional advertising sections; purchasing a regional ad often costs less but still gives readers the impression that you paid for a national advertisement.
- If your ad budget is small, consider purchasing a direct response ad, one of the small ads that magazines often reserve space for in the back of the book. These are typically small black-and-white ads in which advertisers can make targeted sales pitches to readers who are looking for them. These ads are less expensive and offer businesses a way to reach consumers who are using the magazine to shop.