A lot of businesses advertise in magazines and other print publications as part of their marketing strategy but don’t always know how to get the most from their advertising experience. It’s a costly exercise to go in a print publication, so here are 12 quick tips to help you maximise your advertising Return On Investment (ROI).

  1. The Early Bird Catches The Worm – Try to get advertising placement as early in the edition as you possibly can. Some publications charge a premium-positioning fee to be earlier in the edition. If you can afford this, it has been shown to be more effective.
  2. Be Right – Key positions are obviously the cover, back page and inside front page etc. However if you have a half page ad or other smaller size, then a good suggestion is on the right. Particularly right hand side top first, then right hand side bottom corner. Or if it’s vertical then outside right hand side. Try to get corners or edges rather than in the middle.
  3. Push Your Luck – Ask for editorial space. It doesn’t hurt to ask and very often when placing an advertisement, a publication will let you have some editorial space at no extra cost. Editorial is always a lot more creditable than advertising and it will reinforce your advertisement. If you don’t have anything written get a marketing or PR professional to help you write an article.
  4. Be Relevant – Where possible get your advertisement placed in context, i.e. surrounded by relevant, appropriate articles. This will be where your target audience is reading and will reinforce your offering.
  5. Don’t be One of the Crowd – Where possible try and stay away from other advertisements as it can get crowded and you can get lost.
  6. Professional Design – Try to use a professional graphic designer or marketing agency rather than letting the publication design it, often their advertisements look similar and you want yours to stand out. Talk to a marketing or advertising professional so your design is strategic with a solid strategy, message and call to action. To be effective your advertisement needs to visually represent your brand and be strategic in every aspect.
  7. Calling All Prospects – Have a strong call-to-action, i.e. an offer, promotion, etc. You need to give them a reason to call you or go to your website.
  8. Stay Focussed – Know your objective and determine what your key message is to prospects. You’ll be lucky to get one message across through your ad so stay focussed on exactly what that is and don’t get distracted by the design or trying to say too much.
  9. Keep it clean, not too busy – Remember it’s not a catalogue. People are flicking past and they are going to be lucky if they notice one thing, so make sure it is not so cluttered that they don’t notice anything.
  10. Have a way to measure, e.g ‘mention this ad…’ or a unique promo code or a unique phone number to call.
  11. Always have a specific landing page rather than your home page so you can track visitors etc.
  12. Rinse and Repeat – Think about the number of placements you are doing. One ad placement will not be very effective. People need to see things a few times before they remember it and take action.

Whilst we always recommend getting a professional to help with the marketing strategy and concepts for an advertisement, hopefully this will give you a few pointers to improve your Return On Investment when doing it yourself. Don’t just be ad hoc in your print ad placement or your execution of it. The more strategic you are with your advertising the better your returns will be.