Newspapers are still considered the primary advertising medium by 99.4% of retailers. They have been present in every aspect of a store owner’s life, from birth to death. Despite declining circulation figures and increasing ad rates, newspapers still reach large audiences daily. Many retailers create their own ads, believing it’s the only way to get it right. This has led to a new breed of newspaper salesperson who lacks training and simply asks, “Got your ad ready yet?” However, it’s important to understand the weaknesses of newspapers and avoid them whenever possible.
There is no proof that full-page or double-truck ads are more effective than half-page ads. The savings can be spent on concurrent radio campaigns or billboards. Similarly, although color looks great, the increased cost often doesn’t justify the small increase in readership. Instead, it’s better to go with more frequency.
While the paper is delivered daily, there’s no need for an ad every day as the paper reaches the same readers. Three times a week works fine, and the difference can be spent on a shopper or supporting radio campaign. Newspaper coupons have a better redemption rate with a radio chaser, particularly if they’re not in a Sunday paper competing with 85% of all weekly coupons. Consider running coupons on Tuesdays with supporting radio to drive traffic.
It’s important to note that less than half of newspaper readers read the entire paper. Most are skimmers, and it can take a while to find your own ad. Additionally, over half of every paper is ads, making it almost as bad as TV. Rates are climbing faster than the space shuttle, and the smallest of ads in the smallest papers can cost over $100. Newsstand and subscription prices are also rising.
Most papers offer no competitive protection, meaning your ad can be placed side-by-side with the competition. Daily newspaper numbers are dwindling, with only a few more than 1,000 daily papers. Smaller communities often rely on weeklies or papers from another area with a “local” section.
Newspapers are still a formidable advertising force, but it’s important to find ways to use them alongside other advertising mediums to increase store traffic. Don’t let anyone tell you not to advertise in the paper. For more information about advertising, read “Do Your Radio Ads Work?” by BIG Mike McDaniel, a professional speaker and small business consultant with over 30 years of experience.