Don’t Pull the Plug on Print Advertising for Your Small Business

Looking for ways to cut marketing costs? How about eliminating your print advertising? After all, everyone’s online now, right? Not so fast. There still may be a role for print in your overall promotional plan. And it’s often an affordable way for a small business to have a local presence. Ask yourself these questions to find out if it’s right for you (then learn some basics before you get started).

When It’s Right, It’s Right

Print advertising has certaincharacteristics that make it more effective in the right situation. Here are some questions to help determine whether it should be part of your marketing plan:

  • Who do you want to reach? – Certain ages tend to use print media more often. For example, the Newspaper Association of America reports that 66 percent of adults over 35 have read a print newspaper during the last week. So a small business that targets older ages might consider newspaper ads to reach that group.
  • How long do you want your message to last? – It’s easy to ignore an email. Just click the trash icon and it’s gone. But print materials have a longer shelf life. A postcard can be tacked to the refrigerator, coupons can be clipped and filed for later use, and a calendar with your name on it is seen every day of the year. If the goal is to keep your business top-of-mind, print advertising can be that longer-term reminder.
  • Are you targeting a specific market? – Print publications tend to have loyal readership and are often targeted to a specific market. For examples, local newspapers have neighborhood editions that are delivered to specific geographic areas. Magazines center around a specific interest or hobby, like fishing or local entertainment. When placed in the right publication, your print ad is likely to be seen by more people who are interested in the products you offer.

Before You Start

If you think print advertising will support your business goals, here are two basics to know before you get started:

  • Cost – The cost for a print ad is based on several factors—size, frequency, and placement. Generally the larger, less frequently run ad placed in a highly visible location will cost more. But each of these variables can be manipulated to achieve different results. For example, you might place a smaller ad but run it more frequently. Other variables such as color and the popularity of a publication can also influence cost. When evaluating cost, think in terms of how likely people in your target market will see and remember your ad.
  • Reader Profile – Ask the publication to provide a profile of their readers. This should include the number of subscribers along with demographic information like age, income, geographic location, or gender. Compare that information with what you know about your target market. The closer they are, the more likely the right people will see your ad.

When used for the right reason, print advertising can be an important part of your marketing plan. It’s characteristics make it uniquely suited to make a longer-lasting impression. But before you start, consider how likely your target market will see it.

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