Marketing Tips! - May 2010
Newspaper Advertising – Mistakes to Avoid

Anyone can create a successful classified or display newspaper advertising campaign with a little practice and good advice.  While there is no fool-proof method for writing winning newspaper ads, our archive of marketing tips can be a valuable resource to help you shorten the learning curve.  Take advantage of our archive of past marketing tips and create powerful, winning ads.  They offer easy, practical ways to enhance your success with most any form of print advertising.  While creating your ads remember to avoid these all too common mistakes:

1) Abstract Headlines...

like “Answers to Your Questions”. Does this headline invite you in? Probably not. What questions are they providing answers to? Spiritual? Medical? Interior decorating? People generally do not read every ad in its entirety; they tend to skim headlines if anything. If a headline doesn’t seem to benefit/interest them, they move on to the next ad. That is why it is so important to make your point right away. Sparking curiosity and cutesy sayings mean nothing if you can’t entice someone to read on, so above all else make sure that you lead with your point.

2) Too much text

The main goal of most ads is to stand out. Ideally the goal is for readers to notice your ad, establish that it relates to them, read it and then respond. When a display ad is all black and white text it will tend to blend in with the rest of the paper. How can your expect people to respond to your ad when they don’t even know it is there? Images work great to draw attention to even small space ads. The addition of spot color can also call out to readers. If you are set on using an all text, black and white ad (i.e. an advertorial type ad) make sure that the ad is large enough to make an impact (usually 1/4pg or larger).

3) Running too infrequently

Success with newspaper advertising does not always happen overnight. Do not expect to run one ad and receive thousands of calls (unless you are offering free TVs!) Too many advertisers will run an ad once and get discouraged with the response and decide that newspaper advertising doesn’t work. Not so! We cannot say it enough… success is all about repetition, repetition, repetition. In today’s over-communicated, cluttered world, ads get skipped over, ignored or missed 2 out of 3 times you communicate them. Run ads often to distinguish their true potential.

4) Testing only one ad

You tried one ad for a few weeks and had limited responses. You decided newspaper advertising doesn’t work. Not so fast! You would be AMAZED at the difference that small changes can make. For example, try changing your headline to something more direct. Try a different photo. Offer a phone number instead of an email address. Any or all of these small changes could prove to be exactly what your ad needed to be successful. Consider each campaign as an opportunity to improve your results… continue with what works and get rid of what doesn’t.

5) Omitting contact information
  Many advertisers decide what form of contact works best for them without taking into consideration what works best for consumers. Advertisers need to include as much contact information as possible. That means phone numbers for people without internet access, email addresses and web addresses for the internet savvy, and even an address if you are targeting local customers. This allows people to contact you in a variety of ways, enabling them to pick the way that is most convenient for them.
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