What's on Tap...

A brew of marketing and advertising news for your insatiable knowledge palette

6 Facts about Newspaper Advertising You Probably Didn't Know

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 @ 11:12 AM

There are many benefits to newspaper advertising which you may be aware of: it tends to be cheaper than other media channels; it is highly effective for repeat exposure; it offers great local market penetration and more flexibility; and consumers seek it out to help them make buying decisions.

But, here are six facts about newspaper advertising you probably didn’t know:

1. The Newspaper Industry is Quickly Evolving

Data from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) indicates that circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers experienced a second consecutive year of growth with figures increasing 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013. Their report stated that "this trend reflects an industry evolving its business model in a significant way, taking advantage of developments in technology, consumer behavior, and advertiser interest, to grow audience and diversify its revenue stream."

2009 reading newspaper NYC 4328271821

2. Newspapers Have More Reach Than Stretch Armstrong

Have you heard newspapers are dead? Then how do they still, hands down, offer more reach than any other advertising vehicle? According to Scarborough Research, nearly 105 million people read the newspaper in print or online on any given weekday nationally, and more than 110 million adults read the Sunday newspaper.

3. The Affluent Crowd Reads Newspapers

In an effort to determine the most effective way to engage highly affluent consumers, Shullman Luxury, Affluence and Wealth Pulse asked wealthy participants which media platforms they remembered seeing advertising in the past 30 days and their reaction to it. The results? Despite all of the attention digital media garners, affluent Americans are far more likely to engage with advertising in printed newspapers than any other media channel, followed only by online newspapers. Download our white paper: Proven Methods for Reaching Affluent and Educated Consumers.

4. Small Town Communities Love Their Local Papers

In 2013, the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) conducted a Community Newspaper Readership Study on behalf of the NAA and found that 67% of small town residents read their local paper at least once a week. 78% of respondents said newspapers were their main source for local news and information, and 71% responded that newspaper inserts helped them with their buying decisions.

5. Millennials Rely on Print for Savings

Yes, you read that right. Millennials, those digitally-savvy consumers who seem permanently connected to their mobile devices, actually look to print newspapers as their main source for coupons, promotions and deals. This information comes from the Sixth Annual RedPlum® Purse String Survey that offers insight into Americans’ shopping behaviors. According to the survey, 51% of Millennials responded that print newspapers were their go-to source for savings.

6. Newspaper Advertising Drives Action

According to an NAA study, 81% of adults took some form of action, such as clipping a coupon or visiting a store, after seeing a newspaper ad in the past 30 days, and more than half (53%) made an actual purchase because of it.

The study also revealed that newspapers ranked the highest (at 62%) as the most noted source people used to plan their shopping. Inserts scored very high, with 81% of respondents saying they took action in the past month after seeing an ad; and seven out of 10 respondents said they regularly seek out inserts.

Even those respondents who considered themselves “non-readers” said they did in fact use newspapers to clip coupons, compare prices, and check for sales in their local stores.

We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it: newspaper advertising is still an extremely effective option for business owners who want to penetrate their local market, connect with their target demographic, and drive them to take some form of action.


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Tags: newspaper advertising

Were Your Local Advertising Tactics Naughty or Nice This Year?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Dec 09, 2014 @ 08:57 AM

If you’re a local marketer, you know how important it is to use your advertising time and dollars wisely to generate leads and sales and build brand loyalty. But many small, local businesses aren’t always aware of the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. ‘Tis that time of year to look back on your advertising and take stock in what worked and what didn’t.

Were Your Local Advertising Tactics Naughty or Nice This Year?

With this in mind, here are some nice and naughty local advertising tactics that you should and shouldn’t use in the coming year:

Not Tracking Results - NAUGHTY

Continuing with the theme of not knowing if your marketing efforts are paying off or not, if you’re not tracking your results, how will you know if you’re wasting your time and money or investing wisely? Your ads must be trackable, so use a special URL address, QR code, 1-800 number or coupon. If only three people visit your dedicated landing page or call your dedicated 1-800 number, then you know either your ad’s message was wrong, or the ad was in the wrong place.

Get to Know Your Customers – NICE!

Speaking of putting your ads in the wrong place, why did that happen in the first place? Chances are it’s because you don’t know your customers and prospects well enough. You don’t know which print channels they engage with most or what time of the day or week is best to reach them.

Target marketing, knowing your customers’ behavior, needs, and wants, will help you craft the right ad copy and place your ads properly so your budget is not so much an expense but a true investment in your business.

Spending the Same Budgeting Dollars Each Month - NAUGHTY

An easy way to budget your advertising expenses is to spend the same amount each month over the entire year. At first glance, this seems like a good idea, but is it really? What happens if your competition down the street runs a giant promotion or your particular industry gets a bit of bad press? Will you have the necessary ad dollars to combat these issues? Don’t view your advertising through a month-to-month lens but through a yearly one and always have enough reserve funds in case of an advertising emergency.

Were Your Local Advertising Tactics Naughty or Nice This Year?Staying True to What Makes You Special – NICE!

One of the first things any business does when starting out, no matter how big or small, is determine their Unique Value Proposition (UVP); what makes them unique from their competitors? Those businesses who can state their UVP clearly and capitalize on it will become top-of-mind to customers and prospects.

For instance, if you’re a local restaurant that caters to families, you may have found that offering family style dining with platters of food in a casual atmosphere attracted steady business. So it wouldn’t make much sense to suddenly change your niche and offer upscale dining with smaller, fancier (and pricier) dishes in a romantic setting to attract a different clientele. And yet this is what many businesses do.

Whatever it was that made you unique and set you apart from your competition, stay with that angle and work it for all you’ve got.

Trying to Attract New Customers and Forgetting Loyal Ones - NAUGHTY

All businesses want to attract new customers, but generally speaking, it takes far more advertising dollars to attract new customers than it does to keep existing ones. It makes much more sense to put some of your budget and time into nurturing existing relationships either through a monthly newsletter or via loyal customer rewards programs. Customers who are real fans won’t just give you repeat business; they’ll also become brand ambassadors and drum up new business on your behalf.

Promote Benefits Instead of Features – NICE!

Which of the following gets your attention?

The such and such car has a 420-horsepower V8 engine…


The such and such car is rated number one in safety, which means you and your family can enjoy your summer road trip without worries…

Obviously the second one. The second promotes the benefits of owning such and such car while the first ad promotes the features.

Don’t list your product or service features; always create ads that tell prospects what your product or service will do for them.

Not Using a Media Buyer – NAUGHTY

Today’s media landscape is far too fragmented for most small business owners to be able to navigate properly and make effective and affordable ad buys. Nowadays, not using a media buyer and trying to go it alone is a bit like not going to the dentist and doing your own root canal.

Effective media buying is an art form, and successful advertising campaigns require strategy and an understanding of cost and placement options. Good media buyers bring with them a reservoir of data that can help make proper ad buys and uncover hidden opportunities while reducing media costs.

Here’s hoping 2015 sees less naughty and more nice tactics in your advertising strategy.


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Tags: local advertising

Advertising Trends We Can Expect to See in 2015

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Dec 02, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

Just when CMOs think they’ve got a handle on their advertising channels and strategies, new technologies and business models crop up and consumers shift their behaviors once again. 2014 saw more of the industry embrace big data, mobile and native advertising, while local advertisers found more efficient ways of aligning their offline and online tactics.

Here are some advertising trends we can expect to see in 2015.

Advertising Trends We Can Expect to See in 2015Advertising Goes Old School

The past 10 years have treated digital advertising like Marcia Brady, and everything else like Jan. “Marcia. Marcia, Marcia!” Well, 2015 may see advertisers focusing less on all things digital and more on getting back to old school marketing basics. Don’t remember what those are? You know, sitting down and really making sure you have a handle on your target audience, using a set of metrics that makes sense for your particular business to figure out what has been working for you and what hasn’t, and taking a closer look at your budget and resource allocation patterns.

Your Time is Officially Up

You’ve had five years of marketing experts tell you you’d better jump on the mobile bandwagon, and did you listen? I really hope so. If not, 2015 might actually be the year your inability to heed the advice of industry leaders comes around and bites you where the mobile phone don’t ring. Usage of smartphones is currently through the roof and that trend will continue for years to come. According to Forbes, 87% of connected devices sales will be tablets and smartphones by 2017.

In all seriousness, and consider this your very final warning, if you haven’t yet incorporated mobile marketing strategies into your overall plan, or, gasp, even optimized your website for mobile users, you had better do it NOW. If all of your competitors are mobile-ready and you’re not, why would customers do business with you instead of them?

Go Transparent or Go Home

“Knock Knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Consumers, and they’re still wielding all the power and influence in 2015.”

Though the concept of being fully transparent has been around awhile, few brands have fully embraced it. In fact, many seem to be downright uncomfortable with the notion. There is a pervasive myth in advertising that says, “As long as you feed consumers a good story, even if it’s not really yours, they’ fall for it and buy from you.” That tactic is dying and will most likely take its last breath sometime in 2015. The brands that offer a real picture of how they really do business, always with the goal of keeping the consumer’s best interests in mind, will come out on top.

CMOs Will Keep it SimpleSilo

The tendency with many companies is to make things harder than they need to be when it comes to advertising, which is crazy because the landscape itself is constantly evolving and becoming more complex. In the past few years, the trend has been for CMOs to get themselves tangled up in new vertical silos instead of freeing up the flow of creative ideas.

In 2015, CMOs will make a shift and begin silo busting and, instead, think of their marketing in a holistic way by focusing on their overall value proposition and cleanly integrating their messages across multiple channels.

Local News Partnerships

2015 will most likely see more local news media outlets partnering with digital channels if not creating their own “stand alone” websites. In fact, we will most likely see new online newspapers emerging on a regular basis.

What trends do you see as being the ones to watch for in 2015 and how will they change your approach to advertising? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credit: Concrete Silo Brockhall Farm (Tom Richardson) / CC BY-SA 2.0

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3 Newspaper Industry Trends That Helped Shape 2014

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 @ 07:39 AM

The newspaper industry continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace and in ways no one imagined it would. With growth comes challenges, and with challenges come innovation and creative solutions. 2014 saw many of innovations and solutions make their mark in the industry, but three particular trends stood out.

Adoption of Mobile-First Strategies3 Newspaper Industry Trends That Helped Shape 2014 - Mobile

At every single point in its history, the newspaper has had a single goal: to share the news with people in the most accessible way. Up until recently, the easiest way for people to engage with a newspaper was to fold one up, tuck it under their arm, and take it around with them wherever they went. Much of today’s audience prefers to take the newspaper around with them on their mobile device.

Newspapers started to reconsider mobile in 2014. Instead of wondering if they really needed to incorporate it into their strategy, many took a mobile-first approach and optimized content for users on every platform. Big players like The Washington Post, that launched a mobile news interface in September, realized the necessity for rethinking the news experience for mobile consumers. 2015 should see even more publications jump on the mobile-first bandwagon.

Native Advertising as a Viable Revenue Stream

There has been much debate about native advertising and whether or not it has a place in traditional advertising channels, and whether or not the tactic is transparent enough and able to be measured accurately. This past year the debate was quieted a bit as both publishers and advertisers saw the revenue potential in incorporating good storytelling that engages readers. In 2014, many publishers came to terms with decreasing display advertising and reader subscriptions and began to embrace native as a new revenue stream with long-term potential for tremendous growth.

Big Data Made Big Strides

Other industries have been successfully leveraging Big Data as a way to deliver relevant messaging to their respective audiences, so it was only a matter of time before the newspaper industry got on board. In 2014, many newspapers became information curators by wading through the data, listening to their readers’ preferences, and tailoring their publications accordingly.

Publishers and journalists will continue to leverage big data in the coming year as a way to create better products and customer experiences, and they’ll most likely do it in a few specific ways:

Customized Content

It’s one thing to listen to the data in order to predict what types of content readers want; it’s another thing entirely to customize content that offers each reader a personal and relevant experience. For instance, some publishers may curate content and recommend specific stories to their readers, based on the readers’ interests and search history. Others may even customize the homepage so it displays personally relevant stories. Customized news experiences will lead to happy consumers, and happy consumers will lead to brand loyalty.

3 Newspaper Industry Trends That Helped Shape 2014 - Customized Content

Product Innovations

Big Data offers publishers not only a means of connecting with consumers in more engaging ways but the potential to create new products and solutions that speak to their readers personally and add value to their experience. Many publishers are already innovating with video content, mobile strategies and reader-focused designs. The better newspapers become at processing Big Data, the more successful they will be at attracting readers, and the more advertisers will be willing to spend their marketing budgets on their digital platforms.

Real-time Marketing Adjustments

One of the biggest benefits of Big Data is its ability to “see” real-time consumer behavior. Newspapers that leverage Big Data will look at real-time behavior and be able to adjust their marketing strategies. By taking a look at their readers’ search patterns they’ll be able to increase engagement and views by quickly updating the placement of advertisements and stories.

2014 was an exciting year in the newspaper industry. While some still claim that print is dead, newspapers continue to shift and evolve into viable and powerful channels capable of true engagement.


Image credit: Washington Post, New York Times

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Tags: newspaper industry

9 Tips for FSI Campaign Success

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 @ 08:37 AM

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, more retailers and advertisers will be using free standing inserts (FSIs) to get their offers in front of holiday shoppers. FSIs are a great way to create awareness, drive traffic, and keep advertising costs at a minimum while targeting a specific demographic that already trusts the printed channel.

With this in mind, here are nine tips for creating a successful newspaper insert campaign:

Make Sure Your Creative Triggers an Emotional Response

Print ads are sometimes lazy ads. Instead of exciting or enticing the reader to take action, they simply list the offer and company information, like a wordy business card. One of the biggest benefits of FSIs is readers welcome them and actively seek them out. Don’t waste this enthusiasm with a boring creative. Harness consumer enthusiasm and create messaging that triggers some kind of emotional response.

Use a Professional Designer

Would you let your hairdresser give you a tattoo? Or your gardener cut your hair? Didn’t think so. Don’t let the local newspaper design your creative for you – you most likely won’t be happy with the results. Hire an agency or a freelancer, and preferably one that specializes in FSIs, to design and create ads that will have the most impact. Check out our creative ad services and request a free consultation today.9 Tips for FSI Campaign Success

Make it Easy to Track

Why do so many advertisers think only digital campaigns can be tracked? This is one of the biggest print marketing myths out there. All print ads, including FSIs, can and should be trackable using either a specified URL address, dedicated 1-800 number or a coupon code. This will help you identify how your insert campaigns are performing over time.

Minimize Risk by Testing Smaller Campaigns First

Many advertisers assume they need a large budget in order to be successful with FSI campaigns, but this is simply not the case. The key is to test smaller campaigns to determine if the messaging will get a good return on investment. The initial testing, however, can be small. Consider testing two campaigns with 20,000 pieces each instead of one campaign with 75,000 pieces. The smaller number will give enough data to gauge whether the response hit your objective without breaking your bank.

Focus on Demographics When Testing Channels

When selecting which channel to test, focus on demographics instead of sheer volume of subscribers. By focusing on the audience at the other end of your message you will ensure you align your campaign with the proper delivery channel.

Be Patient with Testing

Many advertisers make the mistake of only testing once before rolling out a campaign, but this won’t always lead to reaching campaign goals. It’s much better to be patient with the testing process to make sure the positive results are 100% accurate and scalable before committing to a larger buy.

9 Tips for FSI Campaign SuccessUse a Media Buyer

The good news about FSI advertising is there is a plethora of media channels to choose from. The bad news about FSI advertising is all of these possibilities can become a bit overwhelming. Working with a media buyer can help you determine which newspapers and regions to target and how to position your offer to give you the broadest range at the most affordable price.

Communicate Your Successes and Failures

When working with a media buyer, always share test results in detail so they may adjust their approach and make even better recommendations for future buys. Don’t be vague and say “it didn’t work.” Give them numbers and data they can work with. They are there to help you succeed, so help them help you succeed.

Optimize for Mobile

Many print advertisers have come to embrace mobile, albeit kicking and screaming. But many more still have neglected to optimize their website for mobile consumers. It’s not enough to include a mobile link within your insert – make sure once the reader lands on your page they can actually interact with it.

FSIs are a crucial ingredient in any integrated marketing mix, especially around this time of year. To ensure you deliver the strongest messaging within the optimum channels, create real engagement through emotion, use a professional designer who specializes in FSIs, make your ads trackable, test, use a media buyer who can increase your reach while decreasing ad spend, communicate results with your buyer, and for the love of God, optimize for mobile already.


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Tags: advertising with free standing inserts

20 Reasons to Advertise with Free Standing Inserts This Black Friday

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 @ 07:58 AM

For the next six weeks, retailers and advertisers will be thinking about little else except how to reach consumers who are ready, willing and able to spend their holiday dollars. According to the Newspaper Association of America, the answer to that question is the same this year as it has been in previous years: through newspaper media.

While many advertisers and retailers will experiment with mobile apps, geolocation push notifications and other channels that promise to reach the masses, those in the know rely on cold-hard data which clearly indicates that print remains one of the most effective forms of advertising.

The Proof is in the Numbers

Here are 20 statistical reasons you should advertise with free standing inserts this Black Friday:

1. A national survey found that 79% of adults have taken action as a result of seeing a print ad in a newspaper in the past 30 days. More than half of those people went on to make a purchase.

20 Reasons to Advertise with Free Standing Inserts This Black Friday 2. The same survey indicated that 69% of adults cite newspapers as their key source for finding coupons.

3. In October, the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced it expects sales in November and December to increase by an impressive 4.1%. If that figure holds true, this holiday shopping season will be the first one since 2011 where sales surpassed the four percent mark. 

4. The NRF also anticipates that holiday sales will make up 19.2% of the retail industry’s $3.2 trillion total annual sales. 

5. According to the 2013 Christmas & Holiday Shopping Forecast released by America's Research Group and Inmar, almost 75% of shoppers last year spent part of Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday or the holiday weekend in retail stores. There is no indication these numbers will significantly shift.

6. In the same study, ARG and Inmar found that while unplanned purchases were not uncommon among shoppers, the majority braved the crowds and went to the stores having already done some research -- and free standing inserts were key. Specifically, they found:

7. 78% of shoppers reported studying the inserts in the Thanksgiving Day newspaper.

8. 93% of those who examined inserts said they found them helpful.

9. 58% of those who looked at inserts took them to the store.

10. Nearly 20% of shoppers reported spending $750-$2,500 on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

20 Reasons to Advertise with Free Standing Inserts This Black Friday 11. According to a U.S. consumer behavior survey conducted by Synqera, most consumers (75%) still prefer promotional content and coupons from traditional print media -- such as magazines, newspapers, inserts, and flyers -- followed by savings found online (72%) and coupons received after a purchase for future shopping (62%).

12. According to Nielsen's Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messaging report, newspaper advertising is still the most-trusted form of paid media advertising in North America. 

13. According to a report put out by
Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), a consumer and marketplace insights firm, coupons and newspaper inserts will continue to be the go-to sources for grocery and drugstore shopping savings and brand influencers throughout 2014. 

14. According to a survey by the research organization, the Shullman Research Center, traditional media still claims top spot for reaching affluent adults. In fact, newspapers ranked the most effective advertising platform by luxury buyers in the $500,000+ income segment.

15. According to the 2014 Inmar Coupon Trends Report, 74% of shoppers say using coupons found inside newspapers makes them feel smarter.

16. The same Inmar study also found that FSIs rank as the top regularly used resource for shoppers.

17. In a Shopper Sciences national study commissioned by Google, five of the top six marketing types consumers reported as increasing their awareness and familiarity with a product or service were paper-based.

18. In a study of over 2,500 Internet users conducted by the NAA, 73% responded they had used newspaper inserts within the previous month. Even more shocking was the fact respondents said they preferred print circulars over electronic marketing because of the greater portability and ease of scanning of print coupons!

19. The 2014 annual holiday shopping survey by Accenture finds U.S. consumers expecting to increase their holiday spending this year and their enthusiasm for Black Friday shopping has reached its highest level in eight years.

20. According to a BrandSpark/BH&G survey of more than 75,000 U.S. consumers focused on which sources they rely upon to get shopping ideas, 66.9% of respondents listed circulars and flyers; 29.2% listed newspapers; 25.1% listed websites.

There you have them: 20 statistical reasons you should advertise with free standing inserts this Black Friday. We rest our case.


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5 Strategies for Multi-Channel Marketing Success

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 04, 2014 @ 10:51 AM

Today’s advertising landscape creates a constant battle of wills: consumers demand to be truly engaged by brand messaging while organizations, in order to stay competitive, must increase conversion rates and sales more than ever before. The need to create a cohesive marketing strategy has become vital, and, with the broad range of channels available, today’s businesses are presented with incredible opportunities. Having pointed out the obvious, it’s important to note that simply blasting campaigns across a range of channels will not necessarily lead to success.

Here are five strategies that will help your multi-channel marketing efforts:

Develop a Consistent Brand Message

Consumers don’t so much buy products as they “buy into” brand experiences. They don’t buy a hamburger; they buy two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-5 Strategies for Multi-Channel Marketing Successseed-bun. (If you heard the jingle in your head congratulations – you’re old like me.) Your brand is your commitment to consumers to provide them with consistent product performance and a consistent level of service.

The growing number of channels for media consumption makes it imperative that marketers execute a unified promotional plan, but many drop the ball. Just as the flavor chocolate can be consumed in candy form, ice cream form, and milk form but is always chocolate no matter what form it takes, so too can marketers communicate a single brand message through multiple channels. When brands create a consistent message and leverage multiple channels to distribute it, they create possibilities of true engagement with consumers.

Test Emerging Channels

New digital channels crop up even faster than new pop stars with little-to-no talent, and it’s important for organizations to always keep an eye out for emerging platforms that align with their business objectives. Tomorrow’s marketing success requires investing in today’s innovations.

Develop a Unified Marketing Approach 

A unified marketing approach will deliver a consistent experience for the consumer, whether that experience happens on a blog, social media platform, mobile app or through traditional media such as a newspaper ad or radio spot. Because today’s consumers are in a constant state of motion, brands need to create a framework that allows traditional and digital marketing strategies to be leveraged while at the same time ensuring redundant messaging and efforts are kept to a minimum.

A unified marketing approach also dissuades companies from allocating too much or too little ad spend to 5 Strategies for Multi-Channel Marketing Success - Unifiedany one particular channel. Marketers who understand the value of attacking multiple channels simultaneously know that no one tactic is enough, nor will it be solely responsible for persuading prospects to take action. Because of this, the ROI of all tactics, no matter what channel they are assigned to, can and should be calculated.

Plan Your Campaign Before Launching it

Launching a single channel campaign is a bit like coaching a single tennis player; the focus being entirely on what that player will do and how they should perform. Launching a campaign across multiple channels is akin to coaching an entire football team – you now have to consider how each player is going to work with the others in order to get that ball into the end zone.

When juggling multiple touchpoints, a good communications plan and timeline, as well as some good ol’ lateral thinking, is essential. Don’t rush through the planning process and take a buckshot approach - your marketing efforts will be scattered instead of targeted.

Collect Data

What is data, really? It’s information regarding your customers’ and prospects’ activity, and that’s information that will help your future marketing efforts. Track all activity easily by giving each channel a unique landing page, and experiment with various metrics, adjusting the process when necessary.

Today’s marketers face big challenges in engaging prospects in an increasingly crowded and noisy environment. Putting all your marketing efforts in a single channel is like putting all your eggs in one basket or all your socks in one drawer (hey, I tried). You’ll get far more bang for your buck and see a bigger ROI if you move to an integrated, multi-channel marketing campaign that offers further reach and greater opportunities for increased leads and sales.



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Tags: multi-channel marketing

5 Treats for Effective Newspaper Ads

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 @ 11:42 AM

Last week we spoke about the horror of trendy Halloween costumes, tsunamis and the cancellation of TV’s beloved Veronica Mars. Oh yeah, and what NOT to do when creating newspaper ads.

Here are five TREATS to make your newspaper ads ridiculously effective:

TREAT #1: Make Your Ad Trackable

Investing in any kind of advertisement is a big deal, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses. If you hand over a good chunk of your ad spend, you better make sure you have a way to track whether that particular ad and distribution channel gives you a return.

For real tracking success, make sure your ad has a specific purpose, such as a discount or free giveaway, and then a means to track responses, such as a dedicated URL address, QR code or phone extension.

TREAT #2: Hook ‘em with a Bold Headline5 Treats for Effective Newspaper Ads

At one time, so the theory goes, human beings had long attention spans, no doubt from waiting weeks to receive a “Dear John” message delivered by a game bird. Nowadays, thanks to messages delivered in 140 characters and six second videos, our attention spans are minimal at best. The point here is, you have about two seconds to grab a prospect’s attention and get them to read your entire ad. What’s the best way to grab their attention? With a big, bold headline, that’s how.

In order to write a great headline you’ve got to know who your target audience is and what their needs are. Assuming your product or service meets these needs, you’ll be able to tailor your headline to engage your audience and communicate your solution.

TREAT #3: Make Your Ad Readable

I’ve never understood the appeal of candy apples. To me, candy apples are just too darn hard to eat. If I see a candy apple, I ignore it.

Make sure your ad can be easily read by your prospects. If you find yourself having to use 6 or 7 point type size just to fit all your copy, you know you’ve got too much copy. The minimum point type you should employ is 8 or 9, so keep your message short and to the point.

TREAT #4: Limit Your Fontstoo-many-fonts

While your children may squeal with delight at the sheer variety of candy they score after an evening of trick-or-treating, variety isn’t always welcome. Using too many fonts in your ad makes for a busy and unattractive message. Using no more than three fonts will make your ad look professional and draw the reader’s eye.

TREAT #5: Test, Test, and Test Some More

Effective ads are those that have been scrutinized and repeatedly tested using the A/B or “split testing” method. Split testing is a way to test two components of an ad side-by-side to see which yields the best result. Guessing what works won’t generally increase your leads and sales, but rigorous analytical testing generally will.

What components should you test in your ad? All of ‘em. Test your headline, your main offer, your copy, and the images. You’ll also want to test which section of the paper your ad appears in and which days it runs. When split testing, follow the three golden rules:

Test One Component at a Time

When putting ad variations up side-by-side, they have to be equivalent. In other words, if you put your original ad (ad A) up against a new version of your ad (ad B), ad B should only have one change – for instance the headline; it shouldn’t have the headline and the image and the font changed. Make sure to always measure the impact of one change at a time so you’ll know what to credit (or blame) for increased (or decreased) performance.

Test with Similar Audiences

You can’t show ad A to a group of teenagers and then ad B to a group of senior citizens. Always show both versions to a similar demographic. Ideally, you should take your target market and split it up evenly to view and rate the ad.

Don’t Quit

Your 8-year-old doesn’t go to two houses on Halloween and then quit. She goes to every single house in the neighborhood and exhausts all her possible avenues of sugar.

Testing is a game of patience, but that patience will literally pay off with cold, hard sales. Take your time and test all the components of your ad before you launch as well as after.

Creating newspaper ads doesn’t have to be a spooky situation. By following these five tips you’ll create effective ads that will help your business reach its campaign objectives.


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Tags: effective advertising, newspaper ads

5 Tricks for Effective Newspaper Ads

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 11:08 AM

It’s that time of year again when grocery stores stock their shelves with giant bags of candy corn and Hershey’s miniatures, and parents scramble to put the finishing touches on costumes that may or may not be lame and uninspired, or worse, too trendy (“And what are you supposed to be?” “I’m an App!”).

As every child between the ages of one and 12 will tell you, certain Halloween booty is a treat while others are a trick. Snickers bar (of any size): TREAT. Bag of Skittles: TREAT. Apple: TRICK!

With this in mind, here are some tricks (things to avoid) to create effective newspaper ads:

5 Tricks for Effective Newspaper AdsTRICK #1: Not Including Contact Details

How many times have you seen a full or half page ad that has a bold image and some slick copywriting touting that week’s deals and steals, but no real contact information? Maybe there was a tiny, tiny web address barely visible at the very bottom, but otherwise no real way for prospects to make a connection. Talk about scary! Those ads cost a pretty penny and, without including basic contact information such as a website, phone number or street address, the possibility of getting a good return on the investment becomes next to impossible.

TRICK #2: Including Meaningless Imagery

I saw an ad last week I assumed was for diapers because there was, front and center, a picture of a cherubic baby in only a diaper. You can imagine my surprise when, upon reading further, I found the ad was for new doors and windows. Um, huh? First of all, to the parents of that baby, if your house is drafty because of your old doors and windows, then for the love of God, please put a shirt on your child.

You only have a few seconds to capture and KEEP a reader’s attention. Don’t trick them with some lovely imagery only to try and sell them something totally unrelated. You’ll confuse and annoy them.

TRICK #3: Creating Information Overload5 Tricks for Effective Newspaper Ads - Crayola Crayon Costume

When your kid comes to you the day before Halloween and announces he wants to be a box of crayons, and not the small box, the 64-count, you can either say, “Sure honey, I’ll get started on your costume right away,” and spend hours creating something that ultimately winds up looking like an unrecognizable mess – OR - you can tell him he’ll be the Royal Blue crayon, go find a pair of his jeans and a blue T-shirt, write the word Crayola on it and call it a day. The latter is much simpler and everyone will know instantly what he is.

Keep your ad simple and don’t create confusion with mixed messaging. Your product or service may have numerous, wonderful benefits, but don’t list every single one. Choose the best one and create an ad around it.

TRICK #4: Forgetting to Create Urgency

Do you remember those Halloween movies from the 80s? If so, congratulations, you’re old like me. Imagine if those movies didn’t have someone always running for their lives from a serial killer. They would be pretty dull.

This same sense of urgency needs to be in your ads. You don’t just want your ad to make somebody want to buy your product, you want your ad to make somebody want to buy your product NOW. Including a deadline for your offers is a simple and highly effective way to increase your response rate.

TRICK #5: Not Including a Call-to-Action

Once you have a clear, singular message that includes a relevant photo and a sense of urgency, what are you going to do? What do you want your prospect to do? In a perfect world the reader would know exactly what to do after reading your ad. But we don’t live in a perfect world, as is evidenced by tsunamis and the cancellation of Veronica Mars.

A clear call-to-action, such as “bring this coupon in for 50% off your next oil change,” will ensure your ad reaches its objective.

Now that you know what NOT to do when creating your newspaper ads, come back next week to discover what sweet treats will make your ad ridiculously effective.


Image credit: Club ChicaCircle

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Tags: newspaper ads

7 Benefits of Advertising in Digital Magazines

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 @ 10:21 AM

Unless you have a strong aversion to dealing with reality you’ve no doubt become aware of the fact the human race has gone mobile. Smartphones were adopted in a relatively short amount of time and have great influence on consumers. Additionally, this increased mobile usage has led to an increase in the consumption of digital content.

7 Benefits of Advertising in Digital MagazinesAccording to the Magazine Media Factbook 2013/2014, more than 90% of American adults still read magazines and an increasing number of them are doing so on tablets and smartphones. The report goes on to say that one in 10 tablet owners read digital magazines daily, and magazine apps frequently top the iPad charts in categories like Lifestyle, Health and Fitness, and News.

The factbook shared some other eye-opening figures that speak to the trend of consumers demanding and consuming more and more digital media in the form of online magazine publications:

  • 80% of respondents took some kind of action after downloading the digital version of a magazine such as visiting the magazine’s website, social media sites, or recommending the magazine to a friend or family member.
  • It’s predicted that by 2016 59% of U.S. Internet users will own a tablet.
  • 10% of tablet owners read digital magazines almost every day, and 13% of tablet users read digital magazines at least once per week. 17% of tablets users said they read digital magazines one to three times per month, while 40% read digital magazines once per month.

What do these figures mean to marketers considering advertising in a digital magazine? Digital magazines offer tremendous benefits unmatched by other media channels.

1. Reach Readers beyond Regional Boundaries

Digital magazines have the ability to reach readers on a global scale. They have become a powerfully engaging way to keep a reader’s interest while maintaining loyalty, even when readers have moved to another location. Digital magazines allow publishers to send content to readers no matter their location.

2. Faster Publishing and Distribution

Digital magazines reach their audience in a very short amount of time, and online readers often consume the edition the very same day it’s distributed.

3. Content Flexibility

One of the advantages digital magazines have is they can contain an increase in the number of pages without changing the layout or having to condense text to work with a particular format. Also, publishers do not incur additional costs for paper or printing additional pages in a digital version of a magazine, which means no additional fees are passed on to advertisers.

4. Digital Magazines Don’t Kill the Printed Versions7 Benefits of Advertising in Digital Magazines

Some would have you believe digital publishing replaces print, but this is simply not so – there is room for both printed and digital magazines. In fact, the MPA factbook reports 87% of those interested in reading magazines on a mobile device still want a printed copy. Owning the digital publication of a magazine does not stop readers from wanting the printed copy as well.

5. Better Understanding of Readers

True customer satisfaction often relies on two-way communication, and digital publishing software allows digital magazines to track reader engagement and identify preferred topics, which can then enhance future publications. When content is created around the audience’s interests, they are more engaged and more apt to click on advertisements distributed throughout the content.

6. No Revenue Loss from Unsold Copies

With digital magazines, publishers don’t have to worry about the expense and logistics associated with unsold copies. Again, the more money a publisher saves, the more savings will be passed on to advertisers.

7. Built-in Metrics

Thanks to ad-management and ad-serving technology, publishers can tell advertisers exactly how many readers clicked on ad links. Advertisers are also not limited to plain text links but can now use and get reporting back from rich media such as videos and interactive links.

Digital magazines offer an enhanced brand advertising experience because they place the reader in a highly designed editorial context which drives reader engagement and purchase intent. Publishers can then use special tracking software that uncovers actionable insights into how audiences engage with editorial and advertising content, which allows advertisers to tailor future campaigns for maximum results.


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Tags: digital advertising