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5 FSI Rules for Successful Summer Advertising

By Jenna Bruce on Mon, Jun 03, 2019 @ 10:00 AM |


Whenever we speak to a new client and talk about free standing inserts (FSIs), we can’t help but notice their eyes glaze over a bit. We get it, FSIs aren’t as sexy as tapping social media influencers or using chatbots, but we’re here to tell you that FSIs are some of the most powerful advertising channels for small, local businesses.Financial growth and success on green summer natural green grass landscape with a single tree in the shape of dollar sign. Business concept of growing prosperity and investments

Newspapers are still widely the most read piece of content there is. They totally outperform digital channels. So imagine what it could mean for your brand to get your message inside your local or regional newspaper, an already-trusted and beloved channel?

With summer officially upon us, there is no better time to leverage the power of FSIs and get your offer in front people while they are in a happier, more festive mood. But to be effective, you and your insert campaigns need to follow some rules:

  1. Test

We hear all the time that clients haven’t tested their print campaigns in the past because they didn’t think their budget was big enough. The truth is, you don’t need to distribute millions of pieces to determine if a particular channel will work for your company. You can, and SHOULD, test small before rolling out your larger campaign.

Here’s what we recommend: minimize your risk by distributing enough to get an accurate gauge of effectiveness. For you that may mean testing four different programs with 25,000 in each. This is far better than buying 100,000 in one program and hoping for the best.

To determine which programs to test, keep a few things in mind:

  • Demographics of the program
  • The total universe of the program – if the test is successful, you want to know you can roll out effectively.

Something else to keep in mind is that you’ll need to vary your tests in terms of audience and category. Don’t place all your eggs in one basket and bet on one single category. The more you can vary your testing, the better your odds of finding success.

  1. Code Your Inserts

Each of your programs must have its own unique code, as should each month within a particular program. By coding your insert campaigns, you can gauge if the channel, copy, images etc. are working or not. Bottom line is, coding will help you keep track of your success so you can make every advertising dollar count.

  1. Stand Out from the Crowd

As I mentioned earlier, getting inside of the newspaper will help your brand be instantly recognized as trustworthy. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put in some extra effort to stand out from the crowd. We tell our clients “Go Big or Go Home” or you risk getting lost among the other inserts. The average maximum dimensions for an insert program are 5-1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Why risk getting lost in the package with a 3 ½” x 5” insert.

  1. Be Mindful of Lead Times

The majority of insert media campaigns need to be created and handed over weeks in advance of distribution. Understand that collation, production and delivery all take time, so if you want to get your inserts in for July 4th weekend, you’ll need to check with your local paper to see when they need to be in.

  1. Communicate with Your Media Buyer

The more details you can share with your media buyer about your offer, goals and budget, the better able they will be to return qualified program recommendations. A program may not have worked at $45/M but it may at $30/M. Your buyer won’t be able to adjust on your behalf if all you say is, “It didn’t work.” Be specific and share as much as you can.

There is no denying that free standing inserts are an excellent way to get your offer in front of the right crowd this summer. Just be sure to follow these rules so your campaigns stand the best chance of success.

Need some help with your FSIs? Give us a call. We love helping business owners reap the financial benefits of effective print marketing campaigns.

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