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Newspaper Or Wastepaper?
As with all forms of advertising the newspaper requires good research, an ad plan with budget and a target goal. You need to know how much to spend and in what paper to spend it in. Newspapers have some built in targeting potential but at the same time this targeting is a bit diluted by the nature of the fact that their distribution is hemmed in by geographic boundaries. Some of the specialty papers have a fine tuned audience and your conversion rate from this type of paper will be stronger. All is not lost of course with the larger more diversified papers.
Your ad can easily get lost in the deluge of words and ads that cover the pages of these daily birdcage liners. Product ads in newspapers seem to have a very poor return for dollars spent. Multiple small ads in an attempt to sell products will just create a slow leak in your ad budget with little to show in return. If you want to sell product via newsprint use large less frequent ads. The limited format of a newspaper will make your ad look like all the rest unless you really get creative and offer some looks that havenít been seen before.
Words Work Wonders
The old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword may not be true if you are face to face with someone with a sharp sword, but in terms of widespread influence nothing has been able to replace the written word (television and the internet are just word put to different music). Many advertisers donít give their words enough consideration and allow insipid milk toast verbiage to dilute their written ad campaigns to the point of ineffectualness. While the poor quality of newsprint and a print quality that is also limited by output resolution images are hard to make effective in newspapers but it is possible and one must give greater thought to image use in this medium as opposed to some nice high resolution glossy ad in a magazine. Know what the limits of the ad media you are going to use then write and design accordingly.
Should You Make Your Ad Look Like An Obit?
Since most people only read headlines, subheads and photo captions some definition of newspaper ad design seems to be implied by user habits. If you ignore basic principles of human behavior you run the risk of being ignored. If you are offering services you need to be clear as to what you offer and you need to do this with as few words as possible. In newspapers white space works. One of the most successful newspaper ads ever run was the Volkswagen full page add with one word.
Where you place ads in the paper is obviously very important. If you run an for your lawn mowing service next to the obits the odds of contacts seem slim but if you run your funeral flower ad there it may seem crass but I bet it will work.
Loss Leaders Can Make Profit Leaders
There are several Pavlovian response words and these include the words Free, Sale, Specials and Discount to name a few. How you can cut deep enough in the profit margin to compete with the mega store discounts and make the use of these words of value to shoppers is a problem but the use of Loss Leaders is certainly a good way to bring those value shoppers into your establishment.