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5 Steps to Effective Media Planning

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 10:12 AM

In this ever-cluttered marketplace, many advertisers are making a critical mistake. They focus too heavily on budget when developing their campaigns and completely neglect something far more important: their media plan. For your campaigns to be successful and your messages to make the right impact, much thought should be given to the markets you serve and the channels you choose for delivery.

Here are five steps to effective media planning:

1. Define Your Goal

What is the goal of your particular campaign? Is it to extend your brand awareness? To announce a new product line? Promote a sale? Get people to sign up for your webinar or newsletter? Each of your ad campaigns must be assigned just one specific goal. You can’t plan media without a goal in mind.

2. Determine Your Ideal Prospect5 Steps to Effective Media Planning

Before you can begin to brainstorm potential media channels, you’ve first got to determine, if you don’t know already, who your ideal prospect is. Start by looking at your current customer base. Who buys from you and why do they buy from you? Which customers bring you the most business? Chances are other people like these customers would also buy from you.

Another great resource is your competition. Who are they targeting? Who’s currently buying from them? The key is to NOT target the same people, rather look for a niche market your competitors are overlooking.

And finally, analyze your own products or services with a focus on the benefits. Once you know what your benefits are, you’ll know who your product may benefit. For example, your pizza shop delivers until 10PM when everyone else stops delivering by 8PM. Your service will benefit college kids and adults getting home late from night classes.

3. Conduct the Necessary Research

Once you know your target market you’ll need to conduct the necessary research so you can determine the best channels to reach prospects. What are the most trusted media outlets in your industry? What are your prospects’ interests? How do they get their news? Which social media platforms do they prefer?

You’ll also want to review all the publications and digital channels you are considering to ascertain potential cost. For example, how large of an ad will you need to stand out in your local paper? Can you make a big impact with a half page ad, or will you need to bring out the big guns and buy a full-page full-color ad?

5 Steps to Effective Media Planning4. Plan Ahead for the Greatest Value

Planning your media buys well in advance will ultimately help you get better value because it will allow you to sign contracts ahead of time. Doing so offers three main cost benefits:

  1. By signing frequency agreements you can often obtain discounted rates.
  2. You can usually sign contracts and be able to lock in present year rates which will extend through the following year.
  3. Signing contracts well in advance allows you to negotiate with digital publishers and print sales reps.

Be sure to inquire about premium positions which go fast and go early.

5. Get Some Help

At any point during your media planning if you feel overwhelmed, your best bet is to seek help from a reputable media buyer. Working with a media buyer offers multiple benefits.

For starters, they generally have various programs to fit a variety of advertising goals and budgets.

Secondly, media buyers are specialists who make it their business to be efficient in market and data analysis as well as understanding the performance of all channels from outdoor to print and mobile. Media buyers also have longstanding relationships with publishers and vendors so they can effectively work on your behalf.

And finally, media buyers are able to negotiate and get the best prices for their clients because they bring so much business to vendors and sales reps. Beyond better terms and rates, buyers can often negotiate bonus media space and extended contract times.

When it comes down to it, media planning is the backbone of your entire brand message. The stronger that backbone is, the harder your campaigns will work for you, and the bigger your bottom line will be.

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Image credit: "The Assembly" by Linda Goldstein is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Topics: media planning

6 Advantages of Print Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 @ 10:24 AM

We are a society of technologically-obsessed people who aren’t comfortable unless we are constantly connected via some sort of digital device. And, because the entire world has moved online, some in the advertising industry would have you believe print advertising is dead and buried.

But this simply isn’t true.

Print is still very much alive. In fact, advertisers who make print a part of their marketing mix have the potential to significantly increase their response rates. Here are just six advantages of print advertising.

1. Leveraged Credibility6 Advantages of Print Advertising

Print publications that consistently offer readers high-quality, reliable content develop credibility, and advertisers can easily leverage this credibility. Known as the “halo effect,” brands who place ads in respected print publications receive the same positive feelings from readers that are associated with the publication itself. This means your ads can be seen as completely trustworthy, which makes generating leads and sales much easier.

2. “Influentials” Are Swayed by Print

An MRI Survey of the American Consumer found that “influentials,” those consumers who have the ability to sway other consumers, are influenced by print ads, with 51% being influenced by magazines and 53% influenced by newspapers.

3. Print Readers Have Bigger Attention Spans

The digital age has pretty much killed the human attention span. We surf the web with six different tabs open while someone is instant messaging us, another is texting us, and “The Walking Dead” is on the TV in the background. We’re simply not as receptive to all of the digital advertising happening around us.

Print readers, on the other hand, don’t typically multitask when they read a magazine or newspaper, making them far more receptive to the ads within the publication.

6 Advantages of Print Advertising4. Unplugging Is In

We touched upon the fact that we are tech-obsessed creatures, but we are tech-obsessed creatures who have begun to understand the value of “unplugging” every now and then. When we do unplug from the digital world, we tend to turn to print media as a form of entertainment and engagement.

5. Print Ads Offer More Flexibility and Options

Print ads allow you to target your audience. You can choose exactly which section of the newspaper or magazine your audience is most likely to read. You can choose to run ads in specialty magazines or only in papers that deliver to specific geographic locations in your area. You can choose to have your ads run in Wednesday’s paper or Sunday’s paper.

Beyond these options, print allows you to tailor your campaigns to fit your budget by offering quarter-page, half-page and full-page ads. And finally, advertising in print publications mean you’ll actually work with a human being when buying your ad space as opposed to relying on an online algorithm to decide where your ads should live.

6. Print Ads Drive Action

The Nielson Global Trust reported that 65% of print readers typically take some form of action after viewing a newspaper ad. For example, people who viewed an advertisement from a national grocery chain were six times more likely to buy the product than the retail average.

As we mentioned at the beginning, when print and digital advertising work synergistically, results can be dramatic. The use of QR codes and other interactive features within print ads has helped to create a bridge between the print-digital divide. Ads that include free download offers or social media URLs encourage prospects to engage with brands online and inevitably help to drive more traffic and create awareness.

Successful ad campaigns reach targeted markets, effectively communicate a message, and drive action. By embracing the many advantages of print advertising and adding it to their marketing mix, advertisers can leverage the power of both print and digital to create the most awareness and revenue possible.

Free eBook: The Benefits of Print Advertising

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Image credit: "Unplug Electrical Devices You're Not Using" by trenttsd is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Topics: print advertising

10 Proven Local Advertising Ideas for Businesses

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 @ 09:37 AM

Many small, local businesses often feel like the underdog when it comes to advertising because of their limited budgets. But local businesses can absolutely have an advantage over regional or national brands because their market area is A) clearly defined and B) manageable.

Here are 10 proven local advertising ideas for businesses that will help widen your market reach no matter what your budget.

1. Newspaper Advertising

Newspapers, particularly local newspapers, remain the most trusted source of information among consumers. Your local paper is a cost-effective channel for you to reach your audience. Many local papers offer special advertising features beyond box ads and inserts that showcase particular businesses. This is a powerful advertising opportunity. Find out if your local area has special interest newspapers as these may be delivered to the exact audience your trying to reach.

2. Local Magazine Advertising10 Proven Local Advertising Ideas for Businesses

Local magazines are available in every state across the country, as are niche magazines, and these channels have the ability to target a very specific population, namely, locals and hobby enthusiasts. These dedicated consumers are passionate, and if you can get your ad in front of them, you have an excellent chance at creating brand awareness and loyalty.

3. Cable TV Advertising

You may not have the budget to advertise your business during the Super Bowl, but so what? You can still reach your local market while they’re watching their favorite programs. Cable TV companies offer advertising rates that most small businesses can afford. Your ad may run on the TV guide listings or a real estate channel or anywhere in between. There are a variety of cost-effective options depending on your industry and market so speak to a sales rep and see what they can do for you.

4. Local Radio Advertising

Broadcast radio continues to be a leading source of entertainment and information across demographics in this country. This highly-targeted media channel drives engagement and action, and costs less to advertise on than you may think.

5. Local Website Advertising

One simple way to ensure all your advertising bases are covered is to list your company on all the websites that provide business information for your local area. Think Chamber of Commerce and your various municipalities.

10 Proven Local Advertising Ideas for Businesses6. Attend a Trade Show

You may be assuming trade shows are too expensive for you to attend. While the big trade shows can be quite pricey, there are plenty of smaller shows – hosted by a business association or particular industry - that are affordable and can help you get your name and products out there.

7. Claim Your Local Digital Assets

Online guides such as Yelp and Yahoo! Local help consumers find local businesses, restaurants, and retailers. If you haven’t claimed your listing on these sites, you’re turning business away. Most basic listings with these sites are free and you can always upgrade or create sponsored ads.

8. Submit Press Releases

It’s surprising how few local businesses submit press releases to their local newspapers and business magazines because it can be incredibly effective. The key is to make sure you submit a story and not a blatant advertisement. You may want to announce that you have won an award, hired new staff members, are hosting an open house, or are expanding your business somehow. Just remember share don’t sell.

9. Joining Professional or Business Organizations

Every professional or business organization offers its members exclusive advertising deals. This could be free advertising on their website or advertising in a special section of the newspaper. Plus, being a member is a good reflection on your business – a win/win.

10. Email Newsletters

Did you know 80% of your future profits will most likely come from 20% of your existing customers? Isn’t this a staggering realization? Like most small, local business owners, you may be spending most of your time and ad budget on trying to acquire new customers when you should be spending time treating your current customers like kings and queens.

One cost-effective way to engage current customers is through email newsletters. If you own a gardening supply store, you could send a newsletter once or twice a month to your customers offering garden tips and information they would find helpful and relevant. Then, every once in a while, you can send a promotion, say a printable coupon they can bring into the store to receive 30% off.

These 10 advertising ideas are easy and affordable ways you can promote your business. The best thing to do is choose several of these and start experimenting. Remember, like any kind of advertising you do, these ideas will be most effective if you plan your advertising campaign first and then track your results.

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Image credit: "Tradeshow Floor Greenbuild 2010" by Charles & Hudson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Topics: local advertising

The Top 5 Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Trends Taking Shape in 2015

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 09:47 AM

As human beings we spend a good portion of our day out of the home. As we go from place to place we are exposed to all manner of media, much of it now of the digital variety. In fact, on average we interact with digital out-of-home media (DOOH) for about 14 minutes each week. Is it any wonder investments in digital out-of-home advertising are expected to grow significantly by the year 2017?

What is driving this growth? Consumers. Consumers are now looking for an engaging, emotional, and captivating medium. We as hyper-connected individuals are looking for memorable experiences that we can share, and the urban environment is an optimal landscape for these interactions to occur.

Here are the top five digital out-of-home advertising trends taking shape in 2015:

Location-Targeted Advertising is Growing

According to BIA/Kelsey, advertisers spent $1.4 billion on location-targeted mobile campaigns in 2012. This figure is expected to rise to $10.8 billion by 2017. DOOH is benefiting greatly from this rapidly growing segment. By using the same big data to reach mobile consumers, yet on much larger, higher impact screens, advertisers are able to create cross-screen, location-based campaigns that have even more impact on consumers outside the home.

The Top 5 Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Trends Taking Shape in 2015Programmatic solutions are evolving in DOOH which make finding scale and ease of buying a reality. Also evolving are 1st and 3rd party data sets that allow buyers and sellers to better specify consumers exposed to DOOH media. Sellers benefit by maximizing revenue through digital inventory control, and buyers benefit from the hyper-targeted capabilities.

DOOH Provides Highly Relevant Messages in Precise Locations

New types of targeting and subsets have made it easier to reach specific audience segments in ideal locations. And that’s a good thing because consumers are far more likely to be impacted by messaging outside the home. In fact, a recent study by YuMe and IPG Media Lab found that consumers are 41% more receptive to advertising experienced in public spaces than at home. As consumers, the devices we carry around with us create a natural visual bridge to the outside world we experience. Relevant DOOH advertising can enhance that visual experience through existing screens around public spaces.

Unique Creatives Reach Unique Audiences

There is almost no experience that isn’t being created in the DOOH space. We are now seeing highly creative advertising that combines live experiences and augmented reality, using everything from vehicles to street furniture. This is building brand awareness and driving impressive results for advertisers.

DOOH can reach unique audiences and create serendipitous parallels between messaging and location via locally-focused campaigns or larger cross-media tactics. Best of all, digital out-of-home advertising is now able to drive immediate impact and scale close to point of purchase.

The Top 5 Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Trends Taking Shape in 2015Cross-Platform Targeting Allows for More Personalized Experiences

As mobile technology becomes more advanced and mobile devices more ubiquitous, cross-platform targeting opportunities with out-of-home digital screens are more common. Newer technologies like NFC, beacons, and geofencing capabilities allow today’s advertisers to personalize their prospect’s experience and allow immediate engagement.

DOOH Campaign Success Is Now Easily Verified

There are more advanced measurement opportunities now than ever before. Evolving location and mobile data sets are offering marketers new ways of measuring attribution in OOH media. What DOOH advertisers now recognize is that, as an audience definer, location is just as important to them as it is to mobile advertisers.

Successful campaigns no longer try to simply mimic online models. These campaigns are developed around the idea that location is the best context and they deliver real-world messages that are close to point of purchase. A consumer’s exposure to DOOH messaging can be verified more easily, improving advertisers’ confidence in their ability to isolate the impact of DOOH from other channels in the integrated media mix.

The last half of 2015 is expected to continue pace with the number of digitally connected screens increasing as well as the inventory and creative options in DOOH. If you haven’t considered this channel yet, now may be the right time.

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Image credit: "Edmonton's First Digital Billboard?" by Mack Male is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Topics: digital advertising, out-of-home advertising

Hate Wasting Money on Print Advertising? Avoid These 8 Mistakes

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 02, 2015 @ 12:44 PM

Digital marketing is like Marcia Brady – it gets all of the attention while print marketing – the Jan Brady of the group – sits in the shadows. But Jan, we mean print, has a lot to offer businesses of all sizes. In fact, 76% of small businesses say their ideal marketing strategy would incorporate both print and digital communication.

If you’ve tried to incorporate print into your media mix but haven’t gotten the desired ROI, you might be making one (or God forbid more) of these eight mistakes.

1. Not Defining Your Target AudiencePrint Advertising - Target Audience

This is actually the biggest mistake in print and digital, and if you get this step wrong or overlook it completely, none of your other tactics will work no matter how well executed. If you fail to define your target audience, how will you be able to craft the right message? Getting a return on your investment means knowing exactly who your market is, what they need, and how you can best present your solution.

2. Neglecting Brand Consistency

Each of your print marketing campaigns will and should have a specific goal, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect your overall brand consistency. Each aspect of your marketing plan must be consistent when it comes to brand identity. Being instantly recognizable takes out any guesswork and allows your audience to make the connections between what they are seeing now and what they’ve seen in the past.

3. Using Less Than Quality Materials

Small business owners are always looking for ways to save money, but printing on less than quality materials isn’t the way to do it. If your collateral looks cheap, your brand looks cheap. If you have the choice between printing your own collateral and using a professional printing company that can offer high-quality products, always go with the pros.

4. Ignoring Your Repeat Customers

So many marketers make the mistake of putting all their advertising dollars and efforts into drumming up new business, when the reality is, 80% of a company’s business comes from repeat customers. You cannot afford to ignore these people. While direct mail campaigns or radio spots designed to bring in new customers are an important part of a marketing plan, never forget to build loyalty among existing customers through promotional gifts or rewards programs.

5. Forgetting to Edit and ProofHate Wasting Money on Print Advertising? Avoid These 8 Mistakes

Before any campaign is fully rolled out you must be sure to edit for message and proof for errors. Scrutinize every facet of your promotional materials or print ad and consider whether or not it is contributing to your overall message. Then, proofread extensively to find any possible errors. You don’t want to print 10,000 copies of a brochure or have your ad show up in the Sunday paper with glaring errors.

6. Selling Product Features Instead of Benefits

You may think the features of your product are exemplary and no doubt they are, but your prospect will buy for emotional reasons. Features are facts, and facts don’t get an emotional response from the reader. For instance, “Our cleaner uses patent-pending secret enzymes” is a feature of your product. What your potential buyer really wants to know is the benefit, or what’s in it for them, “Our cleaner kills any pet odors in your house so you’re not embarrassed when company comes over.” Always try to hit those emotional buttons.

7. Don’t Make It Hard for People to Order

You want your print ad or collateral to make it as easy as possible for you to get the sale. Don’t try and save money by only printing your web address. If a prospect wants to connect with you immediately with questions, they should be able to pick up the phone and call you.

Making them go to your website first to get your number is one too many steps and you’re likely to lose sales. Always include your full contact details and let prospects decide how they want to communicate and place an order.

8. Sending Prospects to Your Homepage

Always list a URL address to a landing page. If you send people to your homepage they are likely to browse, get lost, lose enthusiasm, and click out. But a landing page is specifically designed to keep the prospect’s interest focused on your ad’s sales message. It continues the print conversation into the digital world. And make sure your landing pages have a strong call-to-action. In other words, tell your prospect exactly what to do (AKA close the sale).

If you’ve been wasting money on your print advertising chances are you have been making one or more of the above mistakes. When you make the necessary corrections, you’ll be surprised how quickly your ROI can improve.

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Image credit: Nic McPhee

Topics: print advertising

Choosing the Right Digital Media Buyer for Your Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 26, 2015 @ 01:36 PM

Because digital technologies are constantly evolving, it’s easy for marketers to find themselves overwhelmed and confused when creating and launching their online campaigns. At these times they may wonder if it makes sense to seek professional help from a digital media buyer. The answer is a resounding yes.

Digital media buyers can save you a lot of time and money (and heartaches) and get the biggest return on your investment. Great media buyers will go beyond these benefits and create a digital strategy that meets your needs so you can focus on other important tasks that will help you grow your business.

But with new digital media buyers popping up online every month, how can you be certain you will choose the best one? Below are some tips to help you make the right decision.

Your Digital Media Partner Must Be Willing and Able to Tailor Their Buys

Never hire a media buyer who believes in a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Your digital partner must be willing and able to take the time to sit down with you, understand your business, objectives, brand personality, budget, and target audience and tailor a marketing strategy that fits your specific requirements.

Your digital media partner should be as flexible and resourceful as you need them to be and should, without prodding from you, have the analytical wherewithal to keep your campaigns on target.

Do They Have a Proven Track Record?

What you really want at the end of the day is peace of mind. You want to know the company you’re giving your dollars to and putting your trust in has a proven track record of successful campaigns.

Choosing the Right Digital Media Buyer for Your BusinessAt your first meeting your prospective media partner should offer a client list, case studies, testimonials, and references. Don’t take any of these at face value. Put some time into researching and call some of their clients to see if they are satisfied with the work being done on their behalf.

Also, pay special attention to the industries they’ve worked in and the kinds of campaigns they’ve run to ensure they’ll be a good fit. Did they face any particular challenges with past clients that are some you are currently facing? Can they operate on a scale that fits your business? Who exactly will be handling your media buys and what is their particular track record? Do they have real experience or are they a newbie?

Does Their Expertise Fit Your Needs?

Once you’ve established they have a proven track record and their other clients seem very satisfied, you’ll want to get a feel for their exact expertise. They may say they have experience across the board, but chances are they really excel in one or two channels.

Make sure their expertise fits your particular needs. For instance, it doesn’t matter if they excel in pay per click (PPC) if you have no interest using that channel to deliver your message, or if their biggest successes have come from banner ad placement if your budget only allows for search traffic.

Of course, they most likely will (and should) have a great bit of experience across many channels, but you want to make sure your needs and their strengths are aligned. Also, ask if they handle all campaigns in-house or if they outsource any of the work.Choosing the Right Digital Media Buyer for Your Business

Will They Force You into a Long-Term Contract?

You’ll want to test the waters before you sign on the dotted line with any buyer, so make sure your potential partner will work on a project by project basis so you can see if they are a good fit. If they try and lock you into some kind of expensive retainer, walk away. That setup is old school and unnecessary in today’s marketing climate.

Are They Keeping Up with the Latest Tech Innovations?

One of the main reasons you’re seeking help from a professional media buyer is because you simply don’t have the time or wherewithal to keep up with all the fast-paced tech trends and innovations. Your digital media buyer should know the latest tech innovations and have a sense of whether incorporating some of them into your marketing mix would bring genuine benefits to your business.

A great digital media buyer can be one of the biggest assets to your company. If you do your homework and take your time making a decision, you should be able to select a partner who is more than capable of devising strategies that deliver a profitable ROI and keep you two steps ahead of the competition.

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Topics: media buying

How to Design Mobile Banner Ads that Get the Click

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 19, 2015 @ 10:32 AM

If you just realized you can no longer forego a mobile marketing strategy and are eager to jump into the mobile pool with both feet, you need to first understand designing ads for mobile is much different than it is for PCs. Mobile banner ads need to make just as big of an impact but do so on a significantly smaller screen.

When designing your ads for mobile, you simply can’t rely on the same design techniques you’ve used in the past for your online campaigns. If you want to get those clicks, you need to optimize your banner ads for a mobile audience.

Here’s how:

Choose Your Colors Wisely

Mobile audiences have even shorter attention spans than online audiences so you want to make sure they see your banner ad as quickly as possible otherwise you may lose them forever. Choosing the right colors is one way to get noticed. Remember, your banner ad is going to be displayed within the context of a How to Design Mobile Banner Ads that Get the Clickwebsite, so the colors should contrast with the website’s colors.

Bold and vivid colors are ideal, making sure to align with your brand’s colors to create brand identity, recognition, and a cohesive execution with other marketing channels. Once you’ve selected the colors for the banner ad itself you’ll need to select the color for the banner’s call-to-action button. The most important thing here is that at a glance, readers need to know it is a separate element of the ad with which they can interact.

Keep Your Text Clean and Simple

Font size and typeface are important in any piece of advertising but are critical in mobile advertising. Fonts need to be unembellished and instantly readable, and they also need to scale well so they look good no matter what size screen a prospect is using to view your ad. As far as word count, less is obviously more with mobile. A good rule of thumb is, if you can get your message across in eight words or less, do it. This way your audience can grasp and retain your message in a single glance.

Include a Clear Call-to-Action

If you want to get that click-through with your mobile banner ad, you’ve got to make sure your call-to-action is clear and succinct. It should tell readers what they can expect when they do click (never trick them) and it should communicate that your ad is essentially offering deeper engagement with your brand.

There are different schools of thought as to the right position of your call-to-action button, but in our experience, you will get more clicks if your button is at the end of your message. This would mean placing it at the far right, at the bottom, or at the bottom-right of your banner ad.

As for the copy on your call-to-action button, make it as short and active as possible. For example, “Save 50%” is much stronger than “To save 50% you can click here.”

How to Design Mobile Banner Ads that Get the Click

 

 

 

 

Imagery Doesn’t Always Work

If you do any amount of online marketing, you’re probably used to using a lot of images in your content marketing strategy. After all, human beings are very visual and often you can sell a prospect with one powerful image.

But marketing on mobile is different and images should be used sparingly. Banner ads that are cluttered or involve complex images take longer for people to scan and make sense of and in general, are far less likely to make a meaningful and instant impression.

Also, at the end of the day what’s most important is that your banner ad displays your brand logo. This way, even if you don’t get the click, you will have still generated brand awareness.

Minimize Your File Size

Though mobile browsing speeds are increasing on an almost daily basis, large files still take a noticeably longer time to load. Keep this in mind when creating your banner ad. To ensure yours will appear in your prospect’s browser sooner rather than later, keep your file size between 10k and 40k.

Mobile marketing is here to stay and the technology is only going to keep evolving over time. By following these tips you can leverage the power of this channel and facilitate two-way communication with customers, promote campaigns at rock bottom prices, and generate higher response rates.

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Image credit: Pixabay

Topics: banner ads

7 Steps to Profitable Print Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 08:42 AM

If you’ve spent any time reading this blog you know we sing the praises of newspaper advertising. We don’t just sing them because we have a lovely voice (though it’s what we’ve been told). We do so because we see on a consistent basis with our own clients how effective newspaper ads are at reaching a target audience, grabbing their attention, and getting them to take action.

If you’ve been considering placing newspaper ads for your business, here are seven simple steps that will help you create profitable print ads.

Step 1: Set Your Budget Carefully7 Steps to Profitable Print Advertising

In order to make a profit you need to be sure you get a solid return on your investment. You’ve also got to make sure you can afford that investment in the first place. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to spend your entire ad budget or at least as much as your competition to get a healthy return.

What your budget should be based on are your goals and projected sales over the coming year. A good rule of thumb is to spend 10% of your gross sales for the year (if you are just starting out and trying to establish yourself) and between 5-7% each year after that.

Step 2: Plan Your Ads in Advance

Never think of advertising as a one-off endeavor. Each ad must fit into the overall storyline of your company. If you create one ad… and then another… and then another… you are apt to change direction with your messaging and confuse your audience.

It’s best to plan and develop your ads six to twelve months in advance so you deliver a consistent brand message that will build customer confidence.

Step 3: Write Your Copy with the Customer in Mind

Successful print advertising means writing copy that speaks directly to your potential customers, and this means focusing on the benefits and not the features of your product or service. In case you’re not clear on the difference between the two:

  • A feature tells people what your product or service does (gets 35 miles per gallon)
  • A benefit tells people how your product or service will make their lives better (you’ll save money on gas so you can put in that pool your kids keep bugging you about)

You’ll also want to define your unique selling proposition and get this point across in your ad, especially in 7 Steps to Profitable Print Advertisingthe headline. What makes you better than the competition? Are you open weekends? Do you provide free wifi? Free estimates?

Don’t be cute with your headline. Be direct and to the point. The goal of your headline is to get people to come into your store.

And finally, make sure each one of your ads has its own specific goal, and then write your copy to ensure it supports that goal. And always, always, always tell the reader what to do with a clear call to action such as, “Stop in this week for our buy one get one special.”

Step 4: Build Audience Recognition through Design

Once you’ve decided on your central message and created copy with your customer in mind it’s time to design your ads so they have a consistent look and feel. By staying consistent with font, ad size, colors, etc., you will build audience recognition.

If you want a great looking ad but are on a tight budget, consider hiring a professional designer to create an ad template which you can tweak for all future ads. This way your ad will look professional and consistent, but you don’t have to pay each time.

A few things to keep in mind when designing your ads:
  • Borders draw the readers’ eye to your ad.
  • Use only one typeface. If you want to add impact here and there, simply use a larger point size. By using too many typefaces your ad will look sloppy and unprofessional.
  • Don’t try and get too much information in by using a type that’s so small no one can read it. Make sure your type size is at least as big as the type used by the newspaper for its editorial content.
  • Leave enough white space so your copy can “breathe.”

Step 5: Choose the Right Newspaper

Depending on where you live, your local town or city may have multiple newspapers such as metro papers, college papers, local papers, weekly papers, etc. all vying for your advertising dollars. So how do you choose the right one?

7 Steps to Profitable Print AdvertisingThe first piece of data you’ll want to take a look at is reach or the number of people in your particular demographic who read that newspaper. Your ad rep will be able to provide you with circulation stats that will be broken down into demographics like gender, age, and income.

You’ll also have to consider price. Determine each paper’s “cost per thousand” or “CPM.” This will tell you how much it’s going to cost you to have your ad viewed by 1,000 in each of the papers you’re considering.

And finally, you’ll want to inquire about any special discounts each paper may offer. For example, some metro papers publish separate zone editions for different areas of the city. So, if you advertise in one particular zone, you may reach a significant share of your readers but at a fraction of what you’d normally pay. Other newspapers may offer decent discounts if you sign a contract or buy a certain amount of ad space per year.

Step 6: Decide on the When and Where

You’ll next need to determine which position in the paper and which day of the week is best for your ad. There are general newspaper advertising consistencies to help you know which day will work for your particular industry. For instance, Wednesdays are typically the day food stores run all their specials. Fridays are generally crowded with entertainment ads. Thursdays are “retail day” and a good time to grab the attention of shoppers who are planning their weekend shopping trips. And on Sundays people lay in their pajamas and leisurely read most sections of the paper.

As far as the position of your ad, since it will most likely be on the smaller side (unless you happen to have a very large marketing budget) finding that sweet spot is key to your success. You can either request “ROP” (run of the paper) or “preferred position.” ROP is less expensive, but it means the newspaper will place your ad wherever they determine it fits. Preferred position means you select exactly where your ad will go.

Unless your budget is incredibly tight, always opt for a preferred position and know that the best place to be is on a right-hand page and above the fold when it comes to print advertising. The main news section is typically your best bet to get the most eyes, but remember who your target audience is and choose the section (entertainment, sports, fashion) that makes the most sense.

Step 7: Test and Tweak

You’ll never get the greatest return if you don’t test and tweak your ads, newspaper, day of the week, and placement. Test your headlines, test your ad size, try to run your ad on a Thursday instead of Friday, take your ad out of the main news section and put it in the entertainment section. Many marketers see testing as such a chore which is the wrong mindset completely. Instead, think of testing as an absolute way to increase your profits. You may think you’re fine with a 5% return, but wouldn’t a 10% return be much better?

Once you have tested and found ad gold, keep that ad running. Remember, in advertising, consistency plus repetition means sales. By the end of the year you will have discovered what we have been saying for many years now: print advertising is a low-cost and highly-effective way to get the biggest returns.

Free eBook: The Benefits of Print Advertising

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Topics: print advertising

5 Reasons Print Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing Mix

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 08:33 AM

Unless you’ve been living under a giant pixel lately, you no doubt know the entire world has become increasingly digital in the way we interact and do business. We communicate via text, email, and Skype, read our books on electronic readers, and create ad campaigns that can be accessed through mobile technology. Oh, and we also insist on sharing all the morbidly boring details of our family vacations (including uploading embarrassing photos) through our social media pages.

And yet, despite this obsession with digital technology, print marketing is more alive than ever before.

Here are five reasons why print should be part of your marketing mix:

1. Print Material Triggers Multiple Senses 5 Reasons Print Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing Mix

Admit it: doesn’t much of your world seem plastic? We spend all day touching our mobile phones, computer keyboards, and TV remote controls. It’s nice every once in a while to touch a printed newspaper or magazine. The feel of the paper and glossy pages, the smell of the ink – these sensory experiences are a big part of being human.

Triggering multiple senses adds to the effectiveness of print advertising. Martin Lindstrom, writer of “Brand Sense,” believes brands that appeal to more than three senses will be more successful with their advertising efforts than brands that don’t.

2. Print Creates True Engagement

Much of the content that lives online doesn’t truly engage (this blog post being an obvious exception!). Well, it’s not that it doesn’t engage, it’s that humans don’t engage with it. For many of us, we become impatient when shopping or surfing the web. We feel we don’t have time to stop and read a whole article or blog post, so we merely skim and move on to the next, and we skim that one and move on to the next, etc.

The real key to successful marketing though is to engage your prospect, to entice them and gain their full attention with great content before you present them with your valuable offer. Print is so effective in this regard because people slow down when they have a magazine or newspaper in their hands and actually read, not only the news, but the ads as well. That’s right, in the printed world the ads are as much a part of the reading experience as the editorial content.

3. Your Brain on Paper vs. Your Brain on Screen

5 Reasons Print Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing MixRecent neurological research has shown the human brain processes information differently depending on whether that information is presented in print or on a screen. The studies have uncovered a fact that all marketers should know: readers of print have a longer attention span because print doesn’t offer so many distractions. This is called deep reading – and the act of deep reading creates deep thinking, which means readers can become fully engrossed in the content. And when they then see relevant advertising next to that content they actually think about it as well.

4. Print Drives Users Online

A survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association found that over 47% of consumers are most likely to start an online search after viewing a magazine ad. That is big news because all ads have one goal – to get people to take action and interact more with your brand.

5. Adding Print to the Mix Increases ROI

An effective marketing campaign works best when print is integrated with other digital solutions. In fact, research has shown print’s ability to increase ROI by as much as 240%.  A BrandScience analysis of over 500 European campaigns consistently showed an increase in a campaign’s overall success when print was combined with other channels.

If you haven’t been incorporating print into your marketing mix, it’s most likely because you had no idea of its effectiveness. So now that you do, what are you going to do?

Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why magazines are still an effective advertising channel.

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Topics: print media

4 Easy (and Genius) Ways to Integrate Your Print and Digital Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 @ 07:43 AM

Most of us have been led to believe that print and digital advertising go together like a tin can in a microwave – sparks are going to fly and someone’s gonna get burned. But the truth is these two marketing approaches not only play well together, they enhance each other’s ability to engage the right audience in the right place at the right time.

Here are four easy and, might we say, rather brilliant ways to integrate your print and digital campaigns so you can take advantage of the latest technologies and broaden your market reach.

1. Leverage All That Data

Digital media has created huge amounts of data and you can take advantage of it by mining it for informational gold. It doesn’t matter what channels you choose, without the right data your campaigns will fall flat on their faces.

Good data will help you target your ideal prospects, learn their preferred methods of communication, and offer them relevant and engaging content that leads them through your sales funnel.

2. Slap on Those QR Codes

Although QR code technology has been around for quite some time, there are still many small businesses not integrating it into their print campaigns, which is a really tragic mistake. QR codes can encode 4 Easy (and Genius) Ways to Integrate Your Print and Digital Campaignsinformation that is accessible by various devices, including smartphones, which means they have the ability to entice a majority of your prospects and get them to engage with you online.

TIP: It’s important you don’t assume everyone knows how QR codes work. Make sure to include directions in your print material and get creative as to how you can optimize the look and placement of your codes. You may also want to consider including a personalized URL address in your print material as well for those handful of consumers who don’t yet own the appropriate devices that can access QR codes.

3. Take Advantage of Augmented Reality (AR) Software

Sure, it sounds really sci-fi, but incorporating this new technology into your print campaigns can literally add a whole new dimension to your marketing. Check out this Canon print campaign. When prospects scan an image, it absolutely comes to life. AR is currently in its infancy stage, but if wearable technology, like Google Glass, takes off, and it will, then we can expect to see accelerated growth in this technology and prospects won’t have to use their phones to interact with print ads. They will, in essence, always be online.

4. Try Near Field Communication (NFC)4 Easy (and Genius) Ways to Integrate Your Print and Digital Campaigns

Business cards are tricky – they’re really old school, but you still have to have them. Well now, thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC), your business cards (and other printed material) can have special tags embedded in them that allow smartphones to access extra information about you via digital media. As long as a prospect’s smartphone’s NFC setting is turned on, all they have to do is be within a certain distance from your printed material to gain access to your information.

Print advertising continues to beat many marketers’ expectations and remains an incredible way to target an audience and create brand awareness and loyalty. And, as digital media’s technologies and channels continue to form and evolve, it will remain an unbeatable option for research and campaign tracking, allowing advertisers to monitor campaigns in real time, analyze results and modify strategies and tactics accordingly. But where the magic really happens is when print and digital advertising are combined into one powerful integrated approach that transforms a traditionally one-sided message into a two-way dialogue, building long-term relationships that ultimately lead to repeat business.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Topics: integrate print and digital

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