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Is Print Advertising Worthwhile?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 23 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Advertising Print Advertising Marketing

Advertising is a hugely important consideration, particularly for a new business. Developing awareness of the organisation and the services that it provides is of the utmost importance when starting up; potential customers won't seek you out – you must make yourself visible to them. As such, advertising and marketing must be executed in a way that targets those that are likely to have an interest in your new business, in a way that presents it as an interesting, enticing option to fulfil their needs. With the rise of the Internet and the resulting fall in advertising spend, print advertising has become less popular. However, print advertising is still well worth considering in certain circumstances and for certain business types.

Cost and Relevance

In the first instance, it should be remembered that the costs associated with print advertising are considerably higher than those for digital or online marketing and advertising. Similarly, there are a number of opportunities for free online advertising that can be exploited by a new business. Such opportunities are much harder to come by for print advertising.

However, print advertising can be particularly beneficial for those companies that focus mainly on custom from the area in which they operate. For example, if you are a portrait photographer and you think that the majority of your new business will come from individuals living close to your premises, advertising on a national scale online may not be particularly beneficial; the vast majority of people that will see your advertisements will not be interested, as the likelihood is that they will not be from your area.

On the other hand, local and regional newspapers and other publications continue to have a loyal and interested readership. As such, you may well consider advertising in your region's local publications. This does not need to be limited to local papers; many councils produce tourist information publications, and there are numerous opportunities for advertising in local telephone directories.

If you are considering print advertising, there are a number of factors that you should take into consideration. In the first instance, it is important to recognise which publications it is and is not worthwhile advertising in. All publications touting for advertising should offer audited readership and circulation figures. These figures should also give details of the demographic makeup of that readership. For example, it should give an idea of the main age groups that buy or read the publication, as well as breakdown of gender. You should also look at subscription figures; print advertising tends to be far more effective when it appears in publications that have high reader trust. These tend to be those for which a high percentage of the readership is accounted for by subscriptions.

The Advertisement

Also important is the size and placement of the advertisement. While advertising on a large scale, for example with full-page spreads, may seem like the best option, this is frequently not the case. Readers buy publications for the content and not for the advertising. As such, it may well be more beneficial to have your ad placed in an area where it will appear with some editorial. Bear in mind, however, that prime positioning, such as in the news pages at the beginning, will be more expensive.

If you are going to spend the money on print advertising, it is also important that your advert is effective in itself. Particularly key here is the language used; your headline should appeal to the emotions and aspirations of the reader. You may wish, therefore, to concentrate not on the basic facts of the service that you are providing, but more on the cultural and other associations that it has. For example, portrait photography may be marketed not as portrait photography, but rather as a way to capture a moment in time for a family. Clearly, this principle can be adapted in a limitless number of ways.

When designing an ad, there are a number of key considerations that must be addressed. As such, you may find it useful to look at the relevant articles elsewhere on this site.

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