There are two principal publication categories to consider for print advertising. The first, newspapers, has a positive and a negative side. On the plus side, you can get your ad in very quickly. That enables you to run an ad, for example, capitalizing on some market turn of events that saves your prospects money if they act fast and buy from you. This could be very exciting news for them, and that's perfect because they're in a "newsy" frame of mind when they read the newspaper.
On the downside, newspapers usually have a shelf life of just 24 hours. Therefore, if you run your ad on Monday, you can't depend on anyone discovering that ad on Tuesday. As the saying goes, "Nobody wants to read yesterday's news."
If your budget allows for multiple insertions-that is, running your ad more than once-do so. Regular exposure of the ad builds recognition and credibility. If some of your prospects see but don't respond to your first insertion, they may well respond to your second or third. If you have confidence in your ad's message, don't panic if the initial response is less than you wanted. More insertions may bring a better response.
The second type of publication is magazines, for which there are specialty categories of every kind. This allows you to target any of hundreds of special-interest groups. Another advantage of magazines, especially monthlies, is that they have a longer shelf life; they're often browsed through for months after publication. So your ad might have an audience for up to six months after its initial insertion. Moreover, readers spend more time per sitting with a magazine than a newspaper, so there's more chance they'll run across your ad.
One researcher found the following about magazine ads:
- A two-page spread attracts about one-quarter more readers than
a one-page ad.
- A full-page ad attracts one-third more readers than a half-page
- Positioning in the front or back of the magazine doesn't
matter in terms of noticeability.
- People respond better to illustrations or photos showing the
product in use than to those that show it just sitting
- Ads with people in them attract more attention than those without.
When advertising in any print medium, contact the publication first and ask for a media kit. This contains rate information for various sizes of ads, as well as demographic information about the publication's readership-age, income and other details-to help you decide if this is where your buyers are. The media kit also indicates specifications for the format in which you will have to deliver your ad to the publication.
Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You'll Ever Need, by Rieva Lesonsky and the Staff of Entrepreneur Magazine, © 1998 Entrepreneur Press