Dealing with Print Advertising “Opportunities”

If you own or are responsible for marketing a business then it’s very likely that you have been on the receiving end of a few calls and/or emails informing you of the incredible opportunity that is waiting if you choose to advertise in a local paper or periodical. These organizations routinely slash their rate cards to offer one-time deals to get businesses’ attention. But while they are busy singing the praises of their “audience” you are left to wonder if it will really do you any good. Where would something like this fit into your overall marketing plan?

The short answer is that these types of ad deals can play a part in your advertising, but you need to have a good grasp of which potential consumers it can reach and what the real value to your business is. To do that you need to understand the advertising landscape as it exists today.

Outbound With Advertising

With all of the energy that is being spent selling the wonders of Inbound Marketing, it would be easy to assume that advertising is dead. But if you take a look at your overall marketing plan you will quickly realize that there is a large segment of potential customers that are not actively attempting to solve a problem, which removes them from the reach of inbound marketing. We consider this group of potential consumers to be in a state of Equilibrium. They are a vast audience whose problems and desires lie entirely below the surface. They need a stimulus. This is the group that can be spurred into action with creative advertising campaigns that draw emotional connections. These consumers are reached through sideways glances, and whispers on the fringes of other activities that remind them there is something that will make them happy, something that will make them feel better. To motivate these consumers you must have an advertising strategy in place, and it needs to leverage the most effective channels first. In today’s landscape, that is social media through native advertising.

The Advertising Landscape

Newspapers, cable television, and magazines were once the go-to platforms for getting your message in front of large audiences. Now opportunities in social media have pushed to the forefront and offer cost-effective advertising with great tools for targeting specific groups and tracking results. We have talked about this in great detail in previous articles so we won’t go into it here other than to say that for small to medium-sized businesses, native advertising has established itself as the foundational component of your outbound efforts. But, despite its amazing power, it cannot reach all of your potential consumers. There is still an offline segment that cannot be reached through these channels. The only way to reach this remaining segment is through traditional media advertising. This means that this second group will be much more costly per lead and this is precisely where those “print advertising opportunities” can come into play.

Why Use Print Advertising At All?

Offline consumers are a shrinking group, but they still represent a lucrative target for many businesses. The problem is the cost per conversion can be 10 times the amount of an online lead. That means that this segment gets pushed aside and will only get attention when the more cost-effective online group has become saturated, or when the cost per conversion goes down. That’s exactly where those intermittent “print advertising opportunities” can play a valuable role. If you plan your messaging so that it can come out at a minute’s notice when you get that call offering a last-minute deal on ad space you will be able to leverage it and squeeze some value out of it. You have to consider what motivates the offline segment and what gets their attention. Design campaigns that push those button and or at least have an idea as to what the ads would include so that when that offer drops in your lap, you can have your marketing team pull an ad together quickly that will actually make good use of the opportunity.

Priorities and Opportunities

When planning for advertising, you have to hit the low hanging fruit first. You want to make sure you are reaching the lowest cost for conversion first and then you should move towards the groups that require more expensive conversion costs. Segmenting your advertising will help keep the leads flowing while managing your costs. Advertising campaigns running on social platforms can provide the baseline but if you make room in your plan for print ad deals when they arise you can also reach those offline consumers and not be footing the full rate card for platforms that are waning.

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Mike Dowling

Mike Dowling

Marketing consultant.