Guide To Print Advertising (Advertising Mediums Part 2 of 4)


Let’s explore the relevance print-based advertising to your business and the issues surrounding this activity.

Factor 1 – Type Of Business

So what type of business can run print-based advertising? Well actually any business can. From the smallest to the largest; whether in retail, services or anything in between, print is an excellent medium for you. The only consideration that should be factored in is the size of the business versus the publication you are choosing. For instance, in some cases it might be better to place many ads in a number of smaller publications rather than one ad in a publication with massive distribution.

Factor 2 – What Is Advertising?

This is very important, so I’ll spend some time here. A Golden Pages advert is not ‘advertising’, although it can be a very effective part of a business’ marketing mix. Unfortunately this is the main type of marketing activity for many businesses and so their approach in this area is carried forward once they begin to do ‘real’ advertising. This leads many businesses owners to have extremely poor results from print advertising and blaming the publication, when in reality they may just have placed a poor ad.

The problem is the formatting of the ad for directories versus newspapers and magazines. The Golden Pages and publications like it are directories, which means that readers are in the mode to look for names and so ads for these publications lead with the business name. Additionally directories have a long shelf-life and so you can only promote your business rather than providing an attractive offer. A directory advert can still be made to be extremely engaging, which can lead to many more calls, but even the best directory ad will perform poorly when placed in a newspaper or magazine.

The psychology of a newspaper or magazine reader is different in that they are not actively ‘looking’ for your ad. You therefore need to follow the A.I.D.A. principle, which means that your ad needs to Attract them, then keep their Interest, then create a Desire and finally make them want to take Action. If your ad fails to deliver then it will simply cost you money rather than make you money.

Factor 3 – Make Me An Offer!

A big part of the AIDA principle is the ‘Call To Action’, so provide an offer that they can’t resist. Be careful not to just discount without some thought – a ‘2 for 1’ deal is better than ‘50% Off’. Print advertising always works best when an offer is involved and even if you are in the service sector you could offer a free consultation and if this is the case, put a value to it to give it weight.

Factor 4 – Design

Most people think about the cost of an advert simply in terms of the space in the publication, but what about the cost of design. The ad is the face of your business and so if you place a badly designed ad with spelling errors and poor quality images, what are the potential customers going to think of your company? So make sure you talk with a professional design company, but before you do, be very clear about what you want the ad to achieve and who you are targeting with it.

Factor 5 – One Hit Wonders

It is very rare that a single ad will drive a massive and instant return, so you need to budget on running a series of ads over an extended period of time.

If you take these 5 factors into account, design a great ad with a compelling offer and place it in the right publications, then you can expect to see them provide a decent return on investment over an extended period.


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