Biz: advertising in magazines

Advertising in magazines or any hard copy publication is one of those dilemmas every new start up goes through. Should we or shouldn’t we? If we go ahead what are we getting from it? If we don’t what are we missing? Obviously you have to look at your business model and write down your marketing strategies but here’s what I’ve learnt.

This time round I’m not planning to buy any magazine spaces for the time being. By which I mean not until I’m well established. Many business owners start advertising in magazines very early on in a hope that it will generate enquiries which hopefully turn into sales..eventually. I remember when I put a quarter page ad in Grand Design magazine, I was sitting on the floor packing brochure requests that kept coming through after the issue was published. I must have spent at least 4 days packing and franking all those envelopes. I was ecstatic. There is actually a demand for my products. Great! But and here’s a but, the problem was that none of those enquiries actually turned into a sale. Scheisse! Now what. So here I give you 5 things I learnt from advertising in magazines:

1. Momentum – you have to keep it up. Don’t buy just one ad in one issue. You need to budget for at least 12 issues. If you buy the whole year change the look and design of your ad every 3-5 months. You need to let people see your ad more than once, twice etc. If you change the design or product on your add too quickly, your money will be wasted. It’s not effective.

2. Don’t get under the advertising agent spell. They are there to sell you the biggest space in the front of the magazine for ridiculous money. Yes, they will say that readers won’t miss your ad but it still doesn’t change the fact that you won’t get your money back in sales terms. You see you have to look at magazine ads as an investment/expenditure.

3. It can be effective for public awareness. But you must find the right publication for your business. Your readers must be your targeted audience. Easily said than done. There are so many publications, it’s like a jungle out there. So be selective. Request the magazines information pack with statistics.

4. Make a deal with a publication. Offer some advertising plan to them and ask for editorial in return. This, I think, works well with regional publications.

5. Have a realistic idea of the overall outcome you want to achieve from advertising in magazines. The reality is that it doesn’t bring you sales overnight. I think that this type of advertising works really well for already well established businesses launching a new product, or an event because you can reach so many readers in one go.

From what I’ve learnt my current business is not in a position (yet) to start the marketing campaign via magazines but what I would consider now is advertising on magazines websites. As digital world is changing the way how we consume information, I think this platform is very attractive for many reasons. First it’s much cheaper than hard copy. Second they have already well established readership online. Third it’s flexible (terms wise). And fourth you can advertise on many websites in one go giving you a great online exposure.

Have you got any advertising experiences? I want to hear them! Back later with my kitchen project.

Karolina Barnes


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