When you think about promoting your company and its products, one of the things that immediately comes to mind is print advertising, the traditional staple of small business marketing campaigns.
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But how much does a successful print campaign cost? And more importantly, what can you do to get the most bang for your buck?
Right off the bat, you need to know that not all print ads are created equal. The net effectiveness of a print ad boils down to a variety of factors including ad size, circulation, target demographics, and (of course) cost efficiency. The challenge is to select a print medium that gives you the broadest possible exposure to people who may be interested in your company's products and services - at a price that fits your budget.
Although there are a lot of alternative outlets for print ads, the two most popular outlets are newspapers and magazines, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here's what you need to know about both options.
Newspaper Print Advertising
A big benefit of newspaper ads is that they are capable of targeting a customer base located within a specific geographic area. Since many small businesses rely on local patronage for the majority of their business, newspaper advertising makes a lot of sense. Additionally, newspaper ads tend to be relatively inexpensive, can be changed quickly, and can leverage features such as coupons without difficulty.
The downside of newspaper ads is that they are not nearly as sharp as glossy print ads, severely limiting the use of photos and complex graphics. Also, the effectiveness of the ad can be constrained by the paper's readership on the day it runs and by the section in which it appears.
Magazine Print Advertising
Unlike newspaper ads, magazine ads don't typically target a city or even regional customer base. However, what they lack in geographic specificity, they make up for in longevity. While a newspaper ad is only good for a day, a magazine ad lasts for a month or longer, depending on how long the subscriber holds on to the issue. Also, magazines tend to target readers who share similar interests, making it easier to focus your ad on enhancing your company's image among those who are interested in your field or industry.
On the other hand, magazine ads tend to cost significantly more than newspaper ads and require a much longer lead time. Unless you are able to plan your advertising schedule months in advance, magazine ads probably aren't an option.
Print Advertising Costs
The cost of a print ad in a newspaper or magazine can range from relatively inexpensive to exorbitant. Depending on the size of the ad, small circulation newspaper ads can be purchased for as little as $50 or less. An ad in a mass circulated magazine, however, can cost thousands of dollars. The most direct way to price an ad is to contact the publication's advertising department and compare costs, keeping mind that it's not uncommon for publications to offer discounts for multiple run contracts.