"How To Succeed With Newspaper Advertising"With newspaper advertising [and with all other types of media], Consistent Advertising = Familiarity = Trust = Customers. People won’t buy from you until they trust you.
That trust and confidence takes time to build up. To be successful with newspaper advertising, you need persistence, patience, and a budget to keep your newspaper advertising running to build that trust.
Your ad should appear in the same place in the newspaper at least weekly for an indefinite period [forever]. Expect to run your newspaper advertising for two months before you see an increase in sales. It takes some time to build trust. And if you quit, you have to start all over again. Don’t waste your money starting a newspaper advertising program if you can’t give it time to work.
A Few Newspaper Advertising Facts
Fifty-seven percent of adults in the U.S. read a daily newspaper. Sixty-seven percent read a Sunday paper. They spend almost 45 minutes per day reading at least one paper, and over an hour on Sunday.
Newspapers get the biggest share of advertising revenue in this country. Almost 22% of all ad dollars go to newspapers. Over 85% of that money is spent by local advertisers.
There are over 1,600 daily papers in the United States with a circulation approaching 58 million. The are over 7,000 weekly papers with a circulation of over 50 million.
When and Where Your Ad Should Appear
Your newspaper advertising strategy will depend on your type of business. The key question is: “When and where [what newspaper sections on what days] do your customers look for your type of business?"
Here are some general placement guidelines:
1. A smaller advertisement run repeatedly will do better than a larger ad run less often. Familiarity = trust.
2. Shoppers read the Friday, Saturday and Sunday papers to plan their weekend shopping. Saturday is the most important of the three, but Sunday is the most widely read. If you are a retail store, you probably want your newspaper advertising to run on these days.
3. The public knows to read the paper on certain days of the week to get certain information. If your competitors are all running their newspaper advertising on Wednesday in the same section, there is a reason. Shoppers know to look there for information about your type of business.
If you change your ad and your customers don’t recognize it, you will have wasted all of the trust you have built up over time. Many companies never change their basic newspaper advertising design. This is a good strategy as long as their ads are working.
You will see us repeat this idea over and over. Your ad has a zero percent chance of succeeding if your prospect doesn’t read it.
Attention is everything in newspaper advertising. Don’t be shy. You want the biggest ad that makes economic sense, and the most stunning presentation you can design. Your ad must stand out from [contrast with] all of the others on the page. Conservative ads won’t even get noticed. Think about it. Please read The Elements of Advertising Design for more.
Direct Response Newspaper Advertising
Once you get their attention, your newspaper advertising needs to motivate your customers to respond now. A direct response ad is written to get attention, interest, desire, and action immediately. Think of it this way: Where will that newspaper be in 24 hours? [In the recycle bin.]
Now, think about that huge mountain of inertia you must overcome with your customers to get action. You want them to take a financial risk, clip your ad, get in their car, drive to your store, deal with your staff, buy your products, carry them home, assemble and install, etc. etc. etc. All they want to do is sit in their chair and peacefully read their newspaper. How are you going to get them to respond?
You use direct response newspaper advertising, and you create professional advertisements using professional marketing techniques.
You need to make your customers squirm, or wince, or laugh, or cry. You need them excited, exhilarated, and ready. Make them feel danger. Fear. Heat. Sex. Hunger. Desire. Life. Death. Heaven and Hell. Stoke them up, and then tell them how to get what they want. Fulfill that desire. Quench that thirst. Eliminate that pain. Easy. Fast. Free.
So, can your diaper delivery service do this?
You'd better, or no one will call. Actually, this may be a bad example, because there is a certain built-in motivation to get someone else to clean your dirty diapers. But no matter what your service or product, you need to build real motivation in your customers if you want them to respond to your newspaper advertising.
More Direct Response Newspaper Advertising
It is not possible to show you every different way of creating a direct response ad. A lot depends on your company, the competitive environment, your target market, your advertising media, etc.
As you read through the different advertising strategies that Professional Advertising offers on these web pages, you will get a better idea of what direct response advertising is, and what it can do. We are trying to give you enough information so that you can better recognize effective advertising when [or if] your designer shows it to you.
Direct Response Example Ad for Newspaper Advertising
“Hungry? Try Our .99 Double Cheeseburger”
This ad achieves one-on-one communication, and it motivates the reader to recognize a problem [hunger] by asking a stimulating question.
“Hungry?” [“Yes”, the reader replies, “That’s me.”] The ad then offers an immediate, highly desirable solution. “Try Our .99 Double Cheeseburger” [problem, solution, value, desire, satisfaction.]
The ad gets visual attention simply by using special fonts. It gets attention, identifies a problem [stimulates interest], creates desire, and demands immediate action.
Notice that this newspaper advertising does not ask the reader to try the product - it tells the reader to try it. And if the reader is actually hungry, this ad can stimulate a physical reaction in their stomach and in their mouth. Using the right colors in the ad will increase this physical reaction. A full color photo could make your stomach grumble. Get the idea?
This deceptively simple newspaper advertising works. It is written to get a response, and it does.
A Direct Response Advertisement:
1. Gets attention through design, ad size, placement, and timing.
2. Stimulates interest by touching on human emotions, desires, and needs.
3. Creates desire by offering solutions [benefits] to emotions, problems, or needs.
4. Gets action by making the solution highly desirable yet affordable and easy.
This is professional newspaper advertising. Use it.
A Warning For Professionals: If you are a doctor, an accountant, a lawyer, or any professional, and you are thinking: “I want to be very professional in my newspaper advertising. I just want to put my name out there. I don’t want to sell”, then your newspaper advertising costs will be exponentially high [$10 x $10 x $10…]. Your newspaper advertising must be classy and professional, but it also must get attention, spark interest, create desire, and ask for action. And ultimately, it must show a return on your investment. That is what professional direct response ads are designed to do.
Increase Your Response Rate
There is only one way to increase the effectiveness of your newspaper advertising. You have to measure the response rate, and test variations of the ad to improve on that response rate.
You only get what you measure. In one test, some smart marketing pros discovered that just by changing the headline in the ad they got a five-hundred-percent increase in response. 500%! How did they do it? They changed the headline, and measured the results.
So test different headlines, offers, copy, themes, ad sizes, photos, illustrations, and when and where your newspaper advertising runs. Measure the results. It’s worth the work. Here some additional ideas on increasing response:
* Your headline is 70% responsible for the success of your ad. You want it to promise the biggest benefit, or to ask a provocative question. “Loose 10 pounds in 2 weeks” is a benefit promise headline. Your Headline Must Be Great.
* Write a few different strong headlines, and try them out. An improved newspaper advertising headline could triple the response rate to your ad, or more. Same ad - different headline - three times the response. How do you do it? You test different headlines, and measure the response.
* You want your newspaper advertising to awaken strong emotions in your customers. Emotions are triggered by clear and powerful benefits. Give benefits, not features. Touch on human desires and needs, and offer the solution to the problem.
* People will justify their emotional decisions later. Newspaper advertising is not the place for a logical argument or justification. The job of the ad is to get a response.
* Twice as many readers will look at your graphic than read your headline. By using a graphic or a photo, you are getting the attention of twice as many people with your newspaper advertising.
* 60% of consumers believe ads that offer a money-back guarantee. 57% believe ads that carry an official third party endorsement. 46% of consumers believe claims based on survey results. Use these tools in your newspaper advertising if you can.
* Offer different deals every few weeks. One offer will out-pull the others. This will also help you to get different kinds of customers who respond to different offers.
* Use a time limit for response in your newspaper advertising. Time limits work.
* Offer a limited number of free consultations or special deals per month. “Only the first 50 people….” This gets people to respond now.
* About 1/3 of readers will stop reading your newspaper advertising after the first 50 words. An additional 25% will stop reading after 200 words. Put the benefits up front.
* People believe testimonials. Use them if you can in your newspaper advertising.
* Be careful when measuring the response to your newspaper advertising. Many unpredictable things can go wrong or right that have nothing to do with your ad. Current events, the weather, and competitor actions can help or hurt you in the short run. You may get great placement and a great response, or the exact opposite. Just average it all out. Ask your customers where they saw your ad, and be persistent. Good luck or bad, it’s time and patience that will pay off with your professional newspaper advertising.
* Set goals and measure your progress. Are inquiries becoming clients? What is your return on investment for your newspaper advertising? See Testing and Tracking Ads for more information
* Are you getting repeat business? Find out why customers are, or are not, coming back.
* Are you attracting customers you don’t want? Not every client is profitable or desirable. You may need to modify the offer you are making in your newspaper advertising. See Generating Better Qualified Prospects.
* A half-page advertisement will pull 70% of the business a full-page ad will. A quarter-page ad will pull 50% of a full page. Is the cost difference worth it?
* Tell your customers to respond now. Tell them what to do and how to do it. Make it as simple as possible for them to respond to your newspaper advertising. [Offer credit, discounts, delivery, 800#, web information, directions, map, etc.]
* Understand how response devices work. [Coupons, phone #’s, return cards.] Read the Direct Mail Advertising chapter for more.
* Use the problem – solution format in your newspaper advertising. And always ask questions that get a “Yes, that’s me” reply.
* Buy a bigger ad. Effective newspaper advertising requires space. If you need to include a lot of information in your ad, don’t try to cram it all into a little box.
* Your newspaper advertising also needs to work with the reader's physical eye movements. The point of attraction for the eye, and the subsequent movement or natural reading progression, needs to lead the reader toward the response devise.
Telling business people the truth is not always easy. Listening can be even harder. Look, advertising copywriters get paid for a reason. They study their craft for years.
This is the truth – if you are an engineer, or a lawyer, or a craftsperson, or anyone other than a professional sales copywriter, then you are not a sales copywriter. You might think you are the best writer in the world – and you might be - but the odds are against it.
Think about what is at stake here. Words sell. Everything depends on effectively communicating to perfect strangers who will give you exactly one second of their attention. You get one glance, and then they are gone.
Please read the chapter on Copywriting. And please, at the very least, have other people who will tell you the truth read over your work. And then have a marketing professional review it. Listen, watch, and note all of the reactions and feedback you get. Take the criticisms and make the changes. It’s your newspaper advertising budget. It’s your money. Don’t waste it just to see your words in print.
OK. Please read Copywriting. It will help you to recognize good copy when you read it, and to write more effective copy yourself. In the meantime, here are just a few ideas about how copywriting relates to newspaper advertising.
1. Get to the point. Put the big benefit in the headline. We are not kidding that people will give you one second of attention before moving on.
2. Use the right words – words that sell. Words like FREE. Yes. Instantly. Truth. Last Chance. New. Guaranteed. Dramatic. Easy. Secrets. Magic. Startling. Hurry. Money. Words are powerful if you find the right ones.
3. Break the rules in your category. For example, a bank is having a sale. They need to “move out last years old $100 bills, to make room for this years new $100 bills”. They have put money on sale. It’s a wonderful campaign because they have broken the rules in their category. It makes for great newspaper advertising.
4. Use benefits, not features. Saving someone an hour is a feature. Having an extra hour to spend with your children is a benefit. What does the feature do for the customer? That is the benefit.
5. Excitement. Excitement! EXCITEMENT! If you are not excited about your product or service in your newspaper advertising, why should anybody else be?
6. Your newspaper advertising should get the customer to physically nod their head and think, “Yes, that’s me”. “Yes, it’s time to fix this problem.” If your newspaper advertising can keep them saying yes, then they are more likely to call when you tell them to.
7. Tell them to call. Now. Right now. Call immediately. Remember where that newspaper will be in 24 hours. [And would you please bookmark this web page NOW so that you can find Professional Advertising when you need us.]
8. Solve problems. Use your newspaper advertising to remind prospects that they have the problem, and then offer the solution.
9. The problem – solution format works in newspaper advertising because you get an immediate, positive response to your question. Consider:
Are you tired of paying high bank fees?
Need a vacation?
Are you underpaid?
Our goal is not to make you into a designer, but to empower you to know when your designer is doing a good job. Here are some general design ideas for newspaper advertising. Please read The Elements of Advertising Design chapter for more information.
1. Your newspaper advertising has a zero percent chance of succeeding if your prospect doesn’t notice it. Attention is everything in newspaper advertising. You need visual impact [photos], white space, a distinctive border, font, angles, or whatever it takes to stand out on the page. You newspaper advertising must be distinctive, unusual, and it should contrast with the other ads on the page. Be different.
2. Paste your ad into the newspaper to get an idea of whether or not it will stand out.
3. Where your ad is placed absolutely matters. If your quarter-page ad falls against the fold of the paper, your readership will be cut by half. Poor placement just cost you one half of your customers. Buy a different shape ad that will guarantee you an outside placement.
What is the paper offering? Run of press [ROP] positioning means that the publisher is free to place your ad anywhere in the normal pages of the paper.
With a preferred position, your ad goes in a specific section, or near the top of a page that has reading matter on it. A near reading [NR] position is placement anywhere on a page near reading matter.
You want your ad to be on a page where people spend time reading. The longer they stay on the page with your ad the better. You normally will pay a premium of 10% - 50% for good position, but it’s probably worth it. Good positioning could double or triple your response rate.
4. Use only serif typeface for copy. It boosts reading speed, and can increase comprehension by up to 300% over other fonts.
5. Editorial style advertising increases readership by over 50%. With editorial style advertising, the copy is laid out like a regular news story. The word "advertisement" always appears above the copy. If you have a story to tell, think about using editorial style advertising.
6. Your newspaper advertising should be easy to look at and easy to read. Poor use of capitalization, bolding, or italics will decrease reading comprehension by 50%. Bad sentence structure will also reduce comprehension.
7. Use #12 font for copy. Use #14 font if your customers are senior citizens.
8. Don’t use technical jargon. You will lose way too many readers.
9. Reversed copy gets attention in newspaper advertising, but it is hard to read. If you use it, keep the copy very short, and the font very big.
10. Make sure photos face into your ad, not toward a competitors ad.
11. Make sure your newspaper advertising looks different from your competitor's. Don’t advertise for them.
12. Vary sentence and paragraph length. Eight words per sentence will get the highest readership.
13. A smaller ad should have a single focus – one solution for one problem.
14. Busy layouts often work better than clean, balanced ads because they keep the reader involved.
15. Use benefit captions under your photos in all of your newspaper advertising. These will get read.
16. Word your offer carefully and clearly. Your offer is a promise about the level of service you will deliver to your customer's. Your offer will set your customers expectations, so you want to be very clear.
17. Coupons get the highest response rate for all printed marketing materials. Use one if you can in your newspaper advertising.
The Newspaper Advertising Measuring System
Understanding how newspapers measure space is a little confusing. Newspapers use picas and points to measure column widths. One pica is one sixth of an inch. One point is 1/72 of an inch. So six picas = one inch. 72 points = one inch.
Points and picas convert to font size. A 72 point font means that one font character = one inch. A 36 point font means one character = ½ inch. A 12 point font, like the one you are currently reading, = 1/6 of an inch per character.
Most newspapers are six columns wide. Normally, each column is 12 picas, or 2” wide. The number of columns times the height of the ad in inches = total column inches. So an ad that is 3 columns wide x 6 inches high = 18 column inches. The actual size of the ad is 6” x 6”.
And it is not really as easy as that. Column widths change. One column normally = 12 picas, or two inches. Two columns = 25 picas, or 4 ¼”. Three columns are 38.5 pica, or 6.4375” wide, etc.
Your designer should work out all of the measurement requirements for your newspaper advertising. But if you want to do this yourself, contact your paper for a size chart. They should provide you with a guide to figure out the size of your advertisement.Also, newspapers will not normally shrink or expand your ad to fit the space you purchased. [And you don’t want them to.] So double-check their requirements before you send in the ad.
Sign up here with your email