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5 Easy Ways to Thank Your Customers This Thanksgiving

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 @ 09:26 AM

Besides being a day to stuff our faces and fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for all of the wonderful things in your life. While it may be obvious that you should be thankful for your health, family, and that winning scratch-off you found in the parking lot (hey, 16 bucks is 16 bucks), you should also be thankful for your loyal customers who have been bringing you business for years.

By taking the opportunity this Thanksgiving to thank your customers, you will not only make them feel good, you will more easily retain them. Remember, reselling to old customers is far easier than acquiring new ones (which typically costs more) and selling to them. A little thanks this holiday season will go a long way at keeping your loyal customers happy.


Add That Personal Touch

When it comes to saying ‘Thank You’ there’s nothing quite as effective as that personal touch. Whether it’s picking up the phone, writing a handwritten note or sending a personalized email, reaching out in this way at unexpected times can do wonders for taking your relationship to the next level.

Wanna really blow your most loyal customers’ minds? Send them a free gift card. Not only will they be incredibly surprised and touched, but chances are when they use it in your store they will spend over the limit and you will still profit from your act of generosity.


Purchase that CRM SystemFinally Purchase That CRM System

If you’ve been hemming and hawing at whether or not to purchase a customer relationship management (CRM) system, do yourself and your clients a favor this Thanksgiving and bite the bullet and purchase one. Not only will a CRM system help you stay more organized in your marketing efforts, it will also help you deliver a better overall customer experience.

CRMs let you see exactly which types of content your customers are viewing on your site so you can more easily meet their needs. And hey, who doesn’t appreciate having their needs met at the just the right time?


Ask for and Listen to Feedback

One of the greatest gifts anyone can receive is to be heard, truly heard. While it never feels good to get negative feedback, you shouldn’t let that stop you from blatantly asking your customers what they think you could improve on and following up.

The great thing is, there’s a very good chance most of your feedback will come in the form of positive reviews, either on your own site or on your social media pages, and as we know, this social proof will drive prospects to trust you and buy from you. However, should you receive some negative feedback, use it to your advantage by making necessary adjustment in your product or service, and communicating your adjustments to your customers. In this way your customers are kind of like your R&D team because they can tell you exactly what will make your offer even better.


Send Your Customers Business

If you’re a B2B company, what better way to thank your loyal customers than to send them business! You no doubt have clients in different industry verticals and can easily share contacts that will mutually benefit you and your customers. This shows your customer you truly appreciate and value their work, and this recognition can’t help but strengthen the bond between you and create more business and revenue.


Thank Your CustomersSupport their Charitable Cause

Equally effective as supporting your customers’ business is to support their charitable causes. When you give to the communities they support you make your customers happy they are doing business with you.

The wonderful thing about showing appreciation to your customers is that they typically want to show it right back. If you’d like to experience a profitable win/win this holiday season, take the time to say ‘thanks.’


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

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What Thanksgiving Can Teach Us about Newspaper Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

The holidays are just upon us and soon millions of Americans will find themselves traveling hundreds of miles on Thanksgiving to spend it with people who force them to come. Thanksgiving is a special day, not just because that’s when we watch the Macy’s Day Parade and football with a bunch of people we like on varying levels, but because it’s a holiday that can teach us an awful lot about newspaper advertising.

Just go with it, okay.


Planning is Critical

What happens when you don’t think ahead about who should bring what to Thanksgiving dinner? You wind up with nine pounds of candied yams and no rolls. Just as careful planning is necessary for a successful meal replete with myriad side dishes plus rolls, campaign development is necessary to ensure the right message gets in front of the right people at the right time.

Take some time to determine which channels will be the most effective to reach your target demographic and craft compelling copy. Plan out all of your calls to action as well as determine which metrics you will use to determine your campaigns success.


Print and Digital are a Match Made in Heaven

Print and Digital Advertising Go TogetherAnother important facet of planning a successful Thanksgiving dinner is deciding on who will sit next to whom. You can either eat your meal in relative peace or choke down the overly-dry turkey as your cousin and brother-in-law argue about whose hybrid gets the best mileage. To eat in peace you must understand which personalities play nicely.

To completely leverage the power of newspaper advertising you must forget about the concept of “print OR digital” and understand that print and digital are the perfect pairing. Print ads support your digital campaigns and drive traffic to your landing pages. If more marketers understood this they would, without hesitation, add print to their marketing mix.


Less is More

Generally, Thanksgiving is a day to stuff our faces without abandon until we find ourselves unbuttoning our pants at four o’clock in the afternoon in someone else’s living room. The less food we eat, the less our stomachs overwhelm our pants.

Less is also more when it comes to the layout and design of your newspaper ad. Busy ads that use too many fonts and cram too much information will overwhelm your readers and make them move on. Keep your ads clean and streamlined to draw and hold attention.



Monitor your AdvertisingIf you’ve ever been in charge of cooking the bird you know firsthand how important it is to monitor its progress throughout the day. There’s the basting and the poking with temperature gauge (unless you employ the pop-up thermometer) and the removing of foil at just the right time to get the skin golden and crisp.

You won’t know how your campaign is doing unless you employ metrics to track its progress. Have you seen an increase of visitors to your landing page or through your door? Have more people signed up for your free home estimate? If your ad is not performing as well as you hoped, analyze what night be the problem and adjust accordingly.


Be Convincing

And speaking of that bird, you and your family will be eating turkey sandwiches, turkey tacos, turkey soup and turkey hash for the next week and a half. If you have kids, you know by day three they are pretty much over the turkey and want pizza and Spaghetti-o’s instead. It is your job to convince your children that old, chewy turkey is delicious and a privilege to eat.

It is also your job to convince the reader that they MUST take you up on your offer. How do you do this? By making it obvious and clear how they will benefit from your product or service. Your product will save them time and money and make them look 20 years younger all while cleaning your gutters. You get the picture. Don’t be coy, be something they can’t say no to.

While Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for all we have in our lives, it can also be a reminder how powerful newspaper advertising can be for your bottom line.

  Free Local Media Analysis - Request Now!

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6 Ways Local Retailers Can Leverage This Holiday Shopping Season

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 @ 09:26 AM

For local retail businesses, the fourth quarter can make a big difference in their bottom line. In some cases, the holiday season can represent anywhere between 20% - 40% of annual sales. But retailers should start planning their marketing NOW to ensure they take full advantage of the busiest retail shopping time of the year.

Here are 6 ways local retailers can make the most of this shopping season:


Create a Detailed Marketing Plan

Start by creating a detailed marketing plan that outlines which channels you will use such as newspaper inserts, digital ads, email marketing, social marketing, etc. Be sure to also think about any grassroots strategies you can use to inexpensively target your local prospects. For instance, you may want to distribute flyers, partner with other small businesses in the community, network at the local chamber of commerce, and call your top customers to personally invite them to a holiday event at your store.


Plan That Holiday Event

Holiday Events drive trafficAs I just mentioned, hosting a holiday event at your store is a great way to drive new and current customers through your doors. One event to seriously consider hosting is Small Business Saturday, a nationwide initiative that takes place the day after Black Friday. On this day, local consumers are encouraged to go out and support local independent store owners.

There is a definite trend in local consumers wanting to support local businesses so why not leverage the trend this year by inviting your customers to stop in either by email or direct mail marketing campaign or even a few creative social media posts.

Also, be sure to use your print advertising to mention your participation in Small Business Saturday as a means of attracting new prospects into your store.


Offer Holiday Incentives

You no doubt will want to run deals and specials to get people in the door. Consider different ways you can incentivize customers and prospects to stop in and buy from you. For instance, you may want to use one or more “loss leaders” to lure customers in. Say you advertise all of your Christmas ornaments as 75% off – that is obviously a loss, but you know once people come in for the ornaments they are bound to buy more from you.


Hire More Holiday Staffers

Many local retailers realize too late that they need extra help during the holiday shopping rush. If you want this season to be successful, consider hiring extra temp staffers sooner rather than later.

Beyond hiring some extra help, be sure to give them enough training so they will actually be of assistance to you and your other employees. Share with them your customer service tactics and give them all of your product information.

 Prepare for the holiday rush

Get Stocked for the Rush

You’ve spent a great deal of time and money on advertising to get people to walk into your store and buy from you, so make sure you have enough inventory to supply that demand. It’s incredibly difficult, however, to stock just the right amount of inventory to ensure you have the right mix of specialty items, so be sure to conduct a holiday inventory assessment. This will help you order the right amounts across different product categories.


Market Visually with Window Displays

Holiday window displays are something every consumer looks forward to and something every store owner should take full advantage of. Window displays are powerful marketing vehicles that can help you showcase special holiday products. If you don’t feel you have a creative bone in your body, have one of your employees to do it, or have a friend or family member do it. The more visual impact your window has the more chance you have at attracting customers.

Implementing these 6 holiday marketing strategies can boost your sales dramatically this 4th quarter and make your own holidays that much warmer and fuzzier.

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

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Should Your Business be Advertising in Magazines?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

When it comes to magazine advertising, most small, local business owners think of the large, glossy, national publications chock full of flashy big brand ads. They make the assumption that their business has no business advertising right alongside the big shots, especially since their target audience is within a 100 mile radius. But this simply isn’t the case. The truth is, many national magazines have local sections that are aimed at smaller, regional businesses.


Who Should Consider Advertising in National Magazines?

Advertising in the local, regional section of national magazines makes a lot of sense for business owners who have multiple locations within their state, because you can pretty much advertise ALL of your stores using just one ad.

If you carry niche items or specialized products (think hobbies and collectibles), advertising in these magazines may work well for you as many people are willing to do a bit of traveling to find a supplier of hard-to-find items.

Always call up a sales rep and ask for a media kit and any information on rates and deadlines. And be sure to request a map so you know exactly what each local territory includes.


For Businesses on a Really Tight Budget

EEffective Magazine Advertisingven though advertising in the local sections of national magazines can be far more affordable than many would assume, there are still those businesses who are on an extremely tight advertising budget. How can these local owners leverage the power of magazine advertising?

A great option is to advertise in free magazines that you often find in grocery stores and other merchant’s establishments. These generally carry ads for local realtors, car lots, home security monitoring, landscaping services, etc. Now, your product or service doesn’t necessarily have to tie into one of these categories, it simply has to be attractive and make sense to the people who peruse these publications. If you own a small boutique shop that sells antique wedding rings, your target audience may not read this publication. However, if you are a local chimney repairman, your offer would most likely attract the right clientele.

Not only are local magazines much more affordable for smaller budgets, but they also have an incredibly long shelf life. Consider the fact that these publications are often browsed through months after their initial publication. You pay once and your ad may have exposure for months afterward.


Questions to Ask Before Buying Any Ad Space

No matter which size publication you decide to advertise in, there are some questions you should definitely ask a sales rep before handing over any portion of your marketing budget:

  1. What is the publication’s circulation?
  2. How often is the magazine published?
  3. What are the demographics of the readers?
  4. How is the magazine distributed?
  5. Are there any special themes or sections planned for the year?


Advertising effectively in magazinesYou’ll also want to inquire as to whether you can get a discount on each one of your ads if you agree to run them in more than one issue. Notice in each publication if there are businesses that are targeting the same readers as you. If they are advertising in that publication on a consistent basis, then most likely they are getting a very good return on their investment and you will, too.

And finally, to really find out whether advertising in any publication will be cost-effective you’ll want to do some quick math to determine the CPM, or cost per thousand. Let’s say a magazine has a circulation of 40,000 and the rate for a full-page ad is $850. You would simply divide $850 by 40 to arrive at the CPM, which in this case would be $21.25. This means that advertising in this magazine would cost you $21.25 to reach each thousand visitors.

Some of our happiest moments are when clients have the sudden realization they can afford to advertise in a magazine, then see great success with their campaigns. Just because your business is small and local doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the power of print advertising just like the big national brands. By doing a little bit of homework first and asking the right questions, you can get your ad in a publication that reaches your target demographic and works within your budget.

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

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This Article Will Help You Lose 50 Walnuts and Pay Off Your Chicken

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 @ 09:07 AM

You clicked on this article, of that much we know.

But what made you click on it?

Chances are it was this devilishly creative headline.

You see, had we composed a title that read: “This article will help you write better subject lines,” you would have not given it the slightest bit of your attention.

Had we written: “This article will help you lose 50 pounds and pay off your mortgage” some would have clicked on it, but not enough for our liking.

No, we instinctively knew the thing that draws nearly everyone’s attention is chickens. The walnuts were just a diversion.

We are sorry for misleading you but we can neither help you lose weight nor reduce your mortgage payments.

However we can offer you something very lucrative indeed. And that is some pretty killer tips on how to create subject lines that get more prospect attention. The more clicks you get, the more chances you have at making money. And that’s what it’s all about. Oh, and helping people solve their problems, of course.


Tip Number 1 – Say Less

Your prospect is texting and heating a Hot Pocket at the same time they are checking their email – that’s a true story. Don’t write a long subject line that will take them more than the 4 seconds they’re willing to give. Keep it short and sweet, 50 characters max.


Tip Number 2 – Be a Real Person

Do you like communicating with an automatic messaging systems? No! No one likes it one bit, we want to speak with a real person. The same goes for getting emails. No one wants an automated message because they are gross. So always make sure your “from” address says something other than “noreply@company.com.” Use your real name so you look human and so that prospects will add you to their email address book.


Tip Number 3 – Don’t be Corny or Weird

There was a time when we were all told to use your prospect’s name in the subject line as well as in the body of your email. But now we all realize how corny and weird that was. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, so why are we going to pretend we do? Don’t do this.


Tip Number 4 – Don’t Bend the Truth

Don’t be like me and lie to your audience. That was chicanery pure and simple. You should never lie to your prospect to get them to open your email. You’ll wind up in their spam folder quicker than an ugly cat goes viral.


Tip Number 5 – Know What’s Working and What’s Not

Some people only A/B test their email body content, not the subject line. That makes about as much sense as only putting deodorant under your left arm. Your subject is the gateway to the rest of your content and business, it’s critical you test it to see if you’re getting enough response.


Tip Number 6 – Get Creative

People get the same old same old in their inbox every day. Using some humor and creativity to stand out from all of that digital noise ain’t a bad idea.


Tip Number 7 – What’s in it for Them?

Why should anyone care about your email? We live in a self-involved society. People need to know what’s in it for them if they take the time to open your email and read it, so tell them right there in the subject line. “Learn the 3 simple tricks to making perfect crepes every time.” Great, I want to know that so I look cool with guests and now I am going to open it and read every word.

Have you noticed anything about these 7 tips? They’re pretty much common sense. But every so often we humans have to be reminded that common sense works. It does, so use these 7 tips to get more people to notice your emails, click on them, and buy from you.


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

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Six Reasons Print Ads Belong in Your Media Mix

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 @ 11:43 AM

Okay, sure, advertisers have been flocking to digital marketing solutions like email, social media and mobile apps for years now, but that doesn’t mean these channels bring the biggest return on investment (ROI). For many consumers, these marketing tactics come across as digital noise: their email inboxes are full of SPAM, their Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of blatant yet disguised brand messaging, and banner ads pop up in whatever corner of the Internet they surf.

Though traditional outlets like newspaper and magazine ads have not gotten the same love they used to, that doesn’t mean they are no longer effective. In fact, there is a tremendous opportunity for marketers who include print in their media mix because the print landscape is not cluttered like the digital landscape. Ads placed in newspapers and magazines tend to stand out to consumers.

Those marketers who don’t put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket and include print media in their marketing mix will be rewarded. A study by ATG found that nearly 80% of consumers use more than one channel when making a buying decision, and 25% used three or more channels for product research.

If you haven’t included print in your media mix, here are six reasons why you should:

It Cuts Through the ClutterPrint Advertising cuts through the media clutter

Think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis. How many of them do you actually open and read? Now think about how many pieces of snail mail you receive on a typical day. Only a handful of pieces, right? This is why many marketers are suddenly seeing the value of direct mail marketing. Your message has a chance to cut through the clutter and noise and make a real impact.

Print Makes an Emotional Connection

Print is a far more personal medium. Because it’s tactile and you can hold it in your hands and smell the ink on the pages, print is lauded for its ability to make an emotional connection with the reader. Digital advertising is impersonal. Though you can hold your mobile device, you can’t turn or dog-ear a page or clip a coupon the old-fashioned way like you can with a newspaper or magazine.

You Can Use Narrative to Build Brand Awareness

Print is the medium for storytelling, which means you can use it to weave a narrative throughout your advertising, allowing prospects to imagine themselves in a particular situation. This creates purchasing intent and that, simply, means more sales for you. Narrative is much more difficult to accomplish in a banner ad or HTML email.

Easily Integrated with Online tacticsPrint and digital advertising work well together

Many marketers assume you have to choose between print OR digital tactics, but this is not the case. Print media is a great vehicle to drive traffic to any of your digital assets, whether it’s a commerce site or one of your social media pages. You can even use a print ad to alert consumers to a deal you’re offering on a mobile app like Foursquare.

It Breathes New Life into Old Customer Relationships

Not only can print be used for the acquisition of new customers, it can also re-engage lapsed customers. Zappos has been really successful with this tactic. The company uses a magalog to re-energize it its relationship with customers who have been receiving emails for years but haven’t made a purchase.

It Gives Consumers the Power

Print ads in newspapers and magazines aren’t disruptive like SMS blasts and banner ads. With print, consumers choose when they read your ad. This puts them in a much more receptive mood. Today’s consumers are tired of being constantly bombarded with messaging. Put the power in their hands and let them choose when they hear from you and they’ll reward you.

With new advertising channels continually emerging, it’s time to think about whether or not you want – and can afford – to sink more advertising dollars into digital tactics that have not proven themselves yet. Traditional media like print has proven its effectiveness for decades. If you’re not using this channel, isn’t it time you considered adding it to your media mix?

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

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Are You Breaking These 6 Direct Response Marketing Golden Rules?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Thu, Oct 08, 2015 @ 01:25 PM

If you’re spending money on brand marketing, odds are you’re not getting a high enough return on your investment. Yes, it’s a way to get your brand in the minds of consumers, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to buy anything from you.

Direct response marketing, on the other hand, is a fantastic method of targeting your demographic and driving action. There’s no overcoming that dreaded interest barrier or trying to sell to people who don’t want to be sold to.

With direct response, you’re communicating with a population that knows what you have to offer and wants to learn more. This means faster ROI, better leads and bigger profits.

But unless you know the golden rules of direct response, you’re apt to spin your wheels and not get any real traction.

What are the golden rules? Keep reading…


  1. Don’t Ever Imply an Offer – Make it Loud and ClearSay It Clear

Direct marketing basically means selling through print media. Your goal is to make the most appealing offer that compels your audience to respond. But if you look at a lot of newspaper ads, you’ll see a good many of them end the “conversation” without making any kind of direct offer. This is bad, very bad.

Don’t imply anything in your ads and don’t be vague. It’s not enough to say, “Here’s who we are, here’s what we do, and here’s where we’re located.” Make a strong offer every time.


  1. Make it a No-Brainer for People to Respond

So you’ve got your offer in front of your readers – great. But now comes an equally important rule: you’ve got to give them a compelling reason to respond and do it NOW. The goal of direct response marketing is not to let people know you exist, it’s to get an immediate reaction. Put a clock on your offer and make it a no-brainer for people to respond.


  1. Create a Clear Call-to-Action

It doesn’t matter if you’re placing a newspaper ad, sending a sales letter, or developing a phone script, your company has to be the one calling the shots, so call them. Lead your prospect and tell them exactly what you want them to do, how to do it, when to do it, and what benefits they’ll get by doing it. Never place an ad or send a letter that doesn’t have clear instructions.


  1. Collect that Data

How will you know if your marketing efforts are working unless you track and measure your results? You need to collect that data to determine which campaigns, which channels and which messages are giving you that ROI. Make sure you have the necessary systems to capture that data and analyze it on a continual basis. Getting good results? Great, use the data to make changes so you can get even better results.


  1. Take Every Opportunity to Follow Up

Phone CallsSo, you’ve written some highly-effective direct response ads, given your audience a compelling reason to respond, developed a clear call-to-action telling readers exactly what you wanted them to do, and analyzed your campaign data to make some great adjustments. Fantastic, you must be seeing a steady stream of leads come in.

What are you going to do with all of these nice, toasty leads?

You’re going to follow up and nurture the relationship, leading them through your sales funnel until they convert, that’s what. Get all of their contact info and get them on your monthly newsletter schedule and follow up with them regularly.


  1. Clean Out Your Advertising Clutter

Now that you know what your advertising should be doing for you, go through your campaigns and marketing collateral and get rid of any ho-hum messaging that does little else but take up space. Anything you find that breaks the rules we have laid out needs to be overhauled. If need be, work with a professional media planner who can help you develop a strong marketing plan with effective messaging.


In life, there are those people who like to play the part of victim, and then there are those who roll up their sleeves and do whatever needs to be done to fix the problem. The same can be said for businesses. Some will woefully exclaim, “I don’t know, I’m advertising like crazy and yet nothing seems to be happening for me,” while others will simply figure out what needs to be adjusted and adjust accordingly.

If you’ve been advertising like crazy but are not getting anywhere near the ROI you want, chances are you are not using direct marketing tactics, and if you are and are still not getting the ROI you want, chances are you’re breaking one or more of these golden rules.

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5 Ways Local Merchants Can Track Their Print Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 @ 11:29 AM

Forget everything you’ve heard about print being dead. Despite a big shift over the last decade in the way we consume media and content, print ads are still just as relevant and effective today. This is especially true for local retailers and merchants who find the budget-friendly print options allow them to test small, roll out big, and connect with local prospects via trusted channels.

With any ad campaign, it’s important to track and measure so a healthy ROI is guaranteed. Measuring print ad success is relatively easy once you know the main tools to employ.

800_number11-800 Phone Numbers Still Work

Guess what? Not only do print ads still deliver results, so do 1-800 vanity numbers. Let’s say you want to run an ad in your local newspaper and your call-to-action is to have prospects call in to your store to schedule a free home estimate.

By using a vanity 1-800 number such as 1-800-LAWNPRO, you can easily measure your ads response by tracking the calls that come in from that special number. To do this, use a smart CRM system that will track the entire journey from call to sale. If your budget allows, there are also robust systems that offer smarter analytics and for multiple campaigns.

Custom Landing Pages

Many people think custom landing pages are only for online businesses, but that is just not true. There are many reasons local merchants would want to send ad traffic to online pages.

Let’s say a local florist wants to drum up some business over a holiday weekend using a newspaper ad. Sending prospects to a special landing page with discount offers as well as images of holiday bouquets makes more sense than having prospects call in their orders.


A new pizza shop opens and wants to run an ad that targets local businesses owners who may want to place large orders during the week for lunch. They can send these prospects to a special landing page that announces lunch specials and daily menu deals. Plus all of those great images of pizza and calzones is a great way to increase interest and appetites!

To send prospects to a customized landing page you will want to make sure Google analytics is set up on your website. Make sure to test your ads by using a different URL address for each one. For instance, the ad you run in newspaper A might have an address of www.yourcompany.com/freedelivery and in newspaper B an address of www.yourcompany.com/lunch.

Just remember to keep your customizations simple and readable.

Use Coupon Codes

Consumers are getting savvier by the minute. Not only do they demand the best deals, they know exactly how to find them. One of the biggest ways they do this is to seek out valid online coupon codes. Wanna grab some attention with your print ads? Simply provide coupon codes and a message that says something to the effect of, “Get 15% off when you enter the code ‘OctoberFest.’

This gives the reader a compelling reason to visit your online portal and an easy way for you to track and measure your campaign. You can also have regular ol’ coupons that can be clipped out of the paper and ask the reader to bring it into the store to redeem. Simply put all of those coupons in one place, count, and you’ll know how many customers that weekend responded to your ad.

Simply Ask How They Found You

A local contractor may want to send prospects to an online contact page to get some more information about their upcoming remodel project. On that page he could have a simple dropdown field titled “How’d You Find Us?” The answers could be ‘Google Ads,” ‘Sunday Paper,” “Radio Ad.” This is a very effective and easy way to track your ads. Just remember to keep this list up-to-date with the various campaigns you’re running.

Keep an Eye on Sales

Sometimes doing things the ol’ fashioned way works just as well. If you want to know if your print ad was effective at all, simply watch and see if your sales improve. For example, in April, you sold 100 widgets, in May you sold 97 widgets, in June you ran a print ad and sold 211 widgets. Chances are that ad was effective. If there was no real spike in sales, you would know your ad didn’t hit the target and you’d need to tweak and adjust and try again.

It doesn’t matter which of these methods you use. Heck, use a combination of them. What matters is that you track each and every one of your campaigns and adjust accordingly so you can always get the biggest return on your investment.

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

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6 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2016

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 @ 08:51 AM

Autumn has arrived. There is an unmistakable chill in the air that blows the gold and crimson leaves off the trees. Kids are back in school, and already every store in town is stocked with Christmas decorations. What does all of this mean? It means the New Year is just around the corner, which means it’s time to look ahead at the digital marketing trends we can expect to see in 2016.

Content Marketing Becomes a No-Brainer

content-marketingContent marketing, or inbound marketing, is not a new tactic in the least. It’s what many businesses of all sizes are using to engage their customers and prospects, build trust and develop their brand. What will be different in 2016 are two main things:

  1. The sheer volume of both B2B and B2C companies who currently use a big chunk of their marketing budgets to create and distribute content across multiple channels will increase and illustrate a new marketing mentality - if you’re NOT using content in your marketing plan, you will be left behind

  2. Business owners will start to embrace more forms of content in the New Year, especially visual content such as videos

Common Sense SEO

Speaking of upping your visual content game, marketers who do will find they automatically get a boost in their SEO ranking. With each Google algorithm update we have seen a definite trend toward the search company favoring websites that focus on providing great content over optimizing keywords.

One way search engines determine which web pages their customers find to be quality is to measure how much time they spend on each page (aka “Dwell Time”) and if they click through to other pages on the site.

Visitors that land on great visual content are far more likely to stick around and find your website helpful to their search query.

Another SEO shift we’ll see is more complex search queries resulting in a demand for relevant content. As SEO best practices change with technological advances and adoption (ie – improved speech recognition software in smart phones), marketers will be able to focus on generating actual useful content instead of spending budget money on hiring “SEO experts” to get a set of keywords ranked.

kids-telling-secretsContent Co-Creating Between Brands and Consumers

The other content marketing change we will most likely see in 2016 is more brands embracing user-generated content and leveraging its power. From social media posts and online reviews, brands will relinquish control over their marketing and allow their customers’ voices to create a positive impact in their prospects’ minds. Content co-creation between a brand and its consumers will become a popular marketing trend.

Even More Data to Mine

A CMO article by Adobe has suggested that wearable technology will see a user adoption rate of 28% by 2016, which means there's going to be even more (read: a massive amount of) data for marketers to mine. If you’ve had success with the intuitive advertising solutions offered by Facebook and Google, which can target customers based on the actions they take online, you’ll most likely be thrilled by the idea of being able to target prospects by their day-to-day habits.

As “The Internet of Things” (IoT) becomes more of a reality, we can expect big data sources to significantly grow and advertisements native to wearable technology spring up in the New Year.

More Effective Metrics at Your Disposal

Marketers currently only have so-so metrics at their disposal to measure a campaign’s success. A great deal of focus on social metrics such as shares, likes and tweets has resulted in empty “vanity” data that offers little real-world applications. 2016 will see a rise in better analytical tools that will help marketers gauge their campaign’s success.

A Focus on Millennials will Become Irrelevant

About a decade ago the entire marketing world became obsessed with focusing on and catering to millennials. But just as happened with baby boomers and every other generation, millennials are not a niche “youth” segment but a group of people who are aging as we speak and will give way to a newer, younger generation. Those brands who have been millennial-focused will find in the coming year and beyond a need to change their marketing game in order to stay relevant and current.

2016 promises to bring new technology, tactics and tools that may help you reach your target audience and turn them into paying customers.

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The What and How of Geo-Targeting

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 @ 09:54 AM

Have you heard of geo-targeting but weren’t sure what it was or what it could do for you? Read on to find out.


Every decade has focused its attention on a different aspect of marketing. The 90s were about creating a web presence for your company. So long 1-800 numbers, hello vanity URLs.

In the 2000s we were all globally-obsessed, making sure our humble websites could be found by the entire world.

local-marketingBut the 2010s have brought us back to common sense marketing and taken our global presence and targeted it so local audiences can easily find us. Google now delivers content and ads based on a user’s location. Social networking sites and apps like Foursquare and Yelp cater to the local crowd. Local businesses like florists and hair dressers are able to advertise solely in their local markets.

Geo-targeting is about relevance and delivering the most appropriate and effective messaging possible at just the right time. If you aren’t leveraging this powerful marketing tactic, you’re not doing as well as you could be.


Step 1. Decide Which Geographies to Target

In order to determine which locations to target you’ve got to really analyze your current business. Do this by asking yourself the following questions:

  •         Are your customers from a specific area?
  •         Is your industry stronger in certain geographies?
  •         Where does most of your traffic (foot and digital) come from?

Step 2. Take a Look at Your Competition

Once you’ve completed this initial analysis, take a look at what your successful competitors do to see which, if any, specific markets they are involved in. What do their creatives look like? What does their ad copy say? Gather as much intelligence as you can. This will help you to potentially find new markets and locations to target.

Step 3. Understand How the Locals Prefer to Consume Media engage-local-community

You’ve got a healthy list of geographies to target? Terrific. Now you’ve got to understand what the media consumption is of each local area so you may choose tactics and channels that will give you the biggest return on your investment. You may at first assume local search will work best only to uncover that out-of-home communication will be the better buy.

Step 4. Go Small or Go Home

The smaller your service area, the more waste you can cut out and the bigger your ROI will be. Why spend money on mass reach, such as a television spot when cable will work even better? Instead of a full page ad in the Sunday paper, consider using free standing inserts (FSIs) instead.

Geo-targeting becomes even more important when purchasing media for part of a co-op and only attempting to cover certain locations. Consider tactics like shared mail, direct mail, print and mobile that allow you to target on a zip code level. This will cut out waste and only reach the absolute right prospects. A win / win.

Step 5. Identify Your Priority Markets

What happens when your budget doesn’t cover the entire desired geography? It forces you to focus on your priority markets and get the biggest bang for your advertising bucks. Your priority markets may be a handful of regional areas or even metro areas. Using this approach will allow you to uncover opportunities that optimize your budget and reach.

Before you develop your next local media campaign, consider geo-targeting. Sure, it may be more thrilling to run a TV ad instead of zip-targeting online or using FSIs. But there’s a very good chance your money will be wasted on useless impressions, so make sure your brand will benefit from that level of coverage before making the buy.

These five steps will help you uncover potentially ripe markets, determine the optimal tactics and channels to use for the specific audiences, and identify priority markets so your budget will be spent efficiently. Yes, this initial research will take some time, but in the end the ROI will be completely worth it.


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