May 28, 2020  
 
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Magazine Ad Buying Advice for Business Owners

Running ads in magazines sounds like a great way to get exposure for your business. Maybe it is . . . and maybe it isn't. Here's what business owners need to know before they drop a bundle on magazine ads.

Profitable small businesses invest in coordinated advertising campaigns that combine online and traditional marketing channels.

There was a time when magazine ads were considered to be the pinnacle of marketing success. Those days are over but that doesn't mean magazine ads don't have value for small companies.

The downsides of magazine advertising are cost and return. Large, glossy magazine ads are pricey and on the whole, print ads tend to generate lower returns than other forms of advertising. But for some companies and product categories, it's difficult to find a marketing medium that can compete with a high-quality, photo-rich magazine layout.

Small to medium-sized businesses can leverage magazine ads to generate brand awareness and to encourage direct responses in the form of web traffic or other mechanisms. Although magazine advertising should never be used as a standalone marketing device, there are some instances in which buying print ads can be integrated into a broader marketing strategy. Here's how to get the biggest bang for your buck when buying magazine ads for your business.

  • Keep it simple. High impact ads recognize the limitations of print advertising. If you're looking for a vehicle to relay facts and figures about your latest product innovation, try a whitepaper or a press release. Magazine ads are intended to be visual with extremely concise messaging. If readers can't get the point at a glance, they won't get the point at all.
  • Keep it small. If you're just dipping your toes in the water of magazine advertising, avoid buying large half-page or full-page ad spreads. Instead, start with either a quarter or one-third page ad that is integrated into the magazine's normal content. Once you've achieved success with smaller ads you can consider moving on to larger formats.
  • Be creative. Creativity is encouraged in magazine advertising as long as it doesn't cross the line into the absurd. The idea is to grab the reader's attention and quickly communicate a single message. If the ad is too creative or tacky, your message is guaranteed to get lost in the shuffle.
  • Use professional designers. Given how important it is to catch the readers' attention, we recommend using a professional ad designer. A good graphic designer can ramp up the wow factor and increase the value of your investment.
  • Track results. Don't buy magazine ads unless you're prepared to track their effectiveness. There are multiple ways to track print ads and you'll need to implement a tracking system to determine whether future ads are worth the investment.

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