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5 Reasons Your Magazine Ads Aren’t Converting

By Jenna Bruce on Mon, May 20, 2019 @ 10:00 AM |


You may have heard that the magazine industry is dead and gone. Well, that’s what digital marketers have been saying about the newspaper industry for years, so it doesn’t surprise us that this myth is being passed around.

And that’s exactly what it is, a myth. The truth is, the magazine industry, even in hard copy, is alive and well. New magazines are continuously popping up and many of them not only succeed but thrive.

Many savvy marketers are recognizing the value of advertising in newspapers. For starters, magazines cater to niche audiences, so it’s incredibly easy to get your offer in front of the right crowd. Find a magazine that serves your demographic and craft the right messaging, and you’re sure to receive a significant ROI.

And if you’re trying to target a specific region, local magazines allow marketers to advertise more cheaply while still tapping into a passionate audience.Image of businessman in black suit against dark background

If you’ve tried advertising in magazines but haven’t been able to get your ads to convert, chances are you are making one of 5 common mistakes:

  1. Not Defining Your Target Audience

No matter what channel you choose to deliver your messaging (print or digital) your very first step must be to define WHO it is you are trying to reach. Neglecting to define your target audience will set up your entire campaign for failure. How can you possibly craft the right messaging if you don’t know what your ideal customer’s issues are and how you can help?

  1. Weak Headlines

David Ogilvy once said, “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

You only have a few seconds to grab a reader’s attention, so you had better make sure your headlines stand out and cause them to stop scanning the page and read your ad. How do you create effective attention-grabbing headlines?

Lead with benefits, not features. Consumers really don’t care about your product’s features, they just care how your product will help them. By leading with benefits, you are speaking a language your target market will automatically respond to. Create your headlines knowing your reader’s will be thinking, “What’s in it for me?”

  1. Your Offer Seems Risky

The economy hasn’t been great for a while now, and most people are reticent to part with their money. And, when you combine this with the fact there are simply too many scammers and low-quality products and services out there, it’s hard to convince people to give their money to you, especially if they are new to your brand.

The key is to remove all doubts in people’s mind while giving them an incentive to give your product or service a try.

This could mean offering a steep discount or a money-back guarantee. You might also consider a free trial offer to your product or service. Nothing is less risky than free.

  1. There is No Sense of Urgency

Big brands have the time and budget for brand awareness campaigns, every other business owner must focus on creating direct response ads. These types of ads are created with one goal in mind, and that is to get people to take action NOW.

To get people to take action now you’ve got to create a sense of urgency. Give them a reason to take you up on your offer instead of thinking about it for a while. You can create urgency in a couple of ways:

  • Make your very attractive (benefit-lead) offer time sensitive. (Sale ends on Saturday – Limited supply while they last, etc.)
  • Attach your offer to an upcoming season or event (Christmas, the Super Bowl, etc.).

Urgency in your magazine ad is very important. People may have every intention of taking you up on your offer, but they get busy, their lives get in the way, and many simply won’t convert unless you get them to take action immediately.

  1. No Call to Action

Are you creating ads that don’t use a clear or strong call to action (CTA)? It’s not enough to tell prospects about your offer or even to make it urgent. You’ve got to tell them EXACTLY what kind of action you want them to take.

Do you want them to bring a coupon into the store for a discount? Should they call to schedule a free appointment? Email you for more information? Make it very clear in your CTA what you want people to do.


Magazine advertising can be a great addition to your marketing mix. Done right, magazine advertising can get your offer in front of exactly the right crowd and help you get a sizeable return on your investment.

Need some help with your magazine ads? Get in touch with us. We help business owners get the most out of their print campaigns.

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