As a general rule, newspaper ads are lousy at creating emotion. If you want to make people laugh or cry – it’s tough to do with print. The thing is – emotion is the reason BEHIND why people buy the products and services you offer.
While newspaper ads are lousy at creating emotion, they are great at conveying lots of information, especially numerical information which is why newspaper advertising is at it’s best when used simultaneously with other electronic media. When combined with other electronic media, newspaper advertising can be a great way to provide a final “stimulus” and connect with your potential customers.
So the first recommendation is to run radio/television ads in your local market to support your newspaper advertising. Use either or both of those to create emotions and excitement. Then as you begin crating your newspaper ad, keep in mind WHY people are reading the newspaper – they’re reading the newspaper for NEWS. I know it sounds simplistic – but stick with me. One of the reasons newspaper advertising is so effective for small businesses is that the people who are reading the newspaper are already in “information gathering mode” so make sure your newspaper ad DELIVERS what readers want – information!
Treat your newspaper advertising like it’s “news”. News is always very “in the moment.” This means your newspaper has a VERY short shelf life. With that in mind, don’t run a single newspaper ad on Sunday for a sale that begins on Friday. While you – the business owner – may clip and save the ad, don’t expect your customers to do the same.
Instead, begin running ads for your Friday sale in the newspaper on Thursday – for those who don’t get around to reading the paper until they get home from work. Then, follow up that ad with another ad on Friday announcing your sale.
News coverage traditionally begins with the “five W’s”—who, what, where, when, why. Apply those standards to your newspaper advertising copy as well!
To be considered newsworthy, an event usually must have broad interest due to one or more factors:
- It has an effect on the community at large.
- It is timely and relevant.
- It affects the local audience (proximity).
The fact that you have the best trained staff in a three county area is not “news” unless you’ve just gotten the results of an independent survey which confirms this as fact.
Meanwhile, your 30% off sale that ends Saturday is NEWS! It will definitely have an affect on the community. It’s timely and relevant and it will happen locally. Of course, trying to convince your local paper’s editor that your business’ “Once a year clearance sale” is news won’t get you far, but it does help you to decide what promotions you should be promoting using newspaper advertising.
Newspaper advertising should never be your only way of advertising your business. Be sure to support your newspaper ads with radio, television and/or the internet.
It’s no secret that newspaper readership is on the decline. More people are getting their news online – which means your business needs to be found online as well. Make sure your business can be found by picking up a copy of the Business Owner’s Guide to Local Search.