Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Advertising In Local Publications – Can It Still Work For Small Businesses?

The advertising legend David Ogilvy once said:

“I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”
So now, to local advertising. Yes, it can most definitely work, as today’s business marketing consultants will confirm, provided the publication has:

Sufficient readers in your target market
Ask for a media pack or profile of the readership before you make any kind of commitment. Focus on your target audience and the publication’s target audience. Is there enough of an overlap to strongly suggest you will get a good return on your investment?

Good distribution channels
Is the publication actively delivered to its readership or key influencers or decision makers? Or is it something people have to pick up from a shopping centre or train station? Is it a specialist publication which is only available on subscription? If so, how many subscribers do they have currently? Also you need to know how frequent the publication is and on what dates it is published, so as you can plan time-sensitive offers accordingly.

Engaging content
Frankly, a publication stuffed with wall-to-wall ads is unlikely to bear much fruit. Look for punchy editorial and engaging, informative articles people will actively want to read.

Reasonable rates
As well as the advertising space itself, don’t forget to build in any outsourcing costs such as copywriting and design if you are not creating your ad in-house. Don’t be shy about haggling either. Many publications will offer you their standard rate card and will be used to negotiating. If you can’t get a discount on the price of the advertisement can you get extra value in other ways? For example, by increasing the size of your ad, or the promise of a free editorial write-up? Or perhaps a free ad on their associated website?

If the price of your ad still seems unaffordable at this point, tell them ‘no’, with the proviso that they are welcome to phone you back on Friday afternoon if they still have space available – at a heavily discounted rate naturally. You might be surprised at how often this tactic can work in your favour!
Once you have booked your advertising space and designed your advertisement, be sure to have a program or spreadsheet in place to measure its success. And never be tempted to design your own ad (unless you are a graphic designer), because it won’t look professional. Remember, your friendly local business marketing consultants are on hand to help you with any aspect of your advertising, marketing and PR.

Finally, keep in mind David Ogilvy’s advice. Be sure your advertisement is so interesting . . . so compelling . . . that the reader just has to buy your product.

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