Think about WHY you are advertising:
Putting an ad in a magazine (or anywhere for that matter) needs some consideration (oh it’s Thursday, lets place an ad in…). It’s a process that takes some creative thinking and skills to execute properly. Check out these 10 things you should do before you submit an ad for your business to a magazine.
- Know your target market: Place your ad in a magazine that is aimed at, and written for the market, you want to talk to – you want to place your ad in the magazine that will generate the most leads. Good magazines are not composed of an eclectic selection of randomly placed advertising; rather, the advertisements work very well with the written content – it is thought through, planned and relevant.
- Plan a campaign: One off/one time ads don’t work – unless it is for a sale or a one off special event (but even then people are more likely to take action if they already know about you). In the case of an impulse purchase, only one contact is needed, but this usually happens inside a favourite store where there is already a level of confidence and trust, or the price is so low that it does not matter to the buyer. Research suggests that three contacts with your brand or product are needed before people consider buying but is it five, or eight, or twelve? The only right answer is “it depends.” But having a planned, integrated campaign across a variety of media, supported by social media and digital activity over a period of time will always yield better results.
- Don’t settle for mediocre design: If you don’t have the skills and the right software to design your ad yourself, find a good designer. Work with an ad designer who is willing to work with you to get it right – and give them a good, clear brief on what you want at the outset. This means you need to think about what you want to say, the call to action, imagery and colours but it also means that you won’t waste your money on placing an advert that doesn’t reflect your brand or encourage people to engage with you. Good graphic designers will offer you a few different layouts and help you decide which final copy is right for your advertisement.
- Choose a headline that stands out: Eye catching, bold and interesting headlines draw the reader in to find out more. Keep it short, simple and clear.
- Use sub-headlines to say more: If you need more room to get your key message across in the ad, create a sub-headline. Beware of putting in all your messages, especially in a small ad space. Focus on the key one only here without taking away from, or competing with, the important message in the headline.
- Keep your messages concise and relevant: You may only have a page (or even less) to tell your potential clients about your product. Right after the headline, the reader should be able to learn more about what makes your business unique. Make sure your ad mentions why your product or service is for them! Do you offer free parking? Do you have an offer on? Let them know what makes you great and different from the rest with bullet points, graphics, images or quotes, and avoid long sentences and lots of text – it is an enticement to find out more rather than ‘all about your business’.
- Style: Taking the time to create (or paying someone to create) a fantastic, eye-catching ad is great, but don’t go too far. Statistics show that ads that look more like they’re part of the magazine are more likely to be read. Put your focus on the content first, but make sure the style has a professional look and feel – and is consistent with your branding and your other marketing activity.
- Call to Action: Be clear and concise about what you want people to do as a result of reading your ad; call for information; visit the website; book now; book an appointment. Always include the contact and website information in your ad for people to take some action and remember to ask them where they heard about you to help measure the effectiveness of your activity.
- Don’t get hung up on the placement of a picture, logo or other graphics. Remember that your logo or any photos should be at the top of the ad, not take up the entire page and should not be the focus (unless you are a photographer!). Pictures should not take away from the text and they should be appropriate and relevant to your business and your brand image.
- Proper grammar: Of course the standard spelling and grammar rules apply to creating a magazine ad, as does proper formatting. Spellings and abbreviations are evolving, but should not be used in a magazine advertisement. Don’t use ‘TXT’ instead of Text. “At” should never be replaced with an @ symbol, unless specifically listed as an e-mail address and a & should never be used in the middle of a sentence.
There you have it: 10 things you need to think about when creating your advert for a magazine to the most out of your purchased ad space!