Below is an overview of the newspaper ads / newspaper advertisement industry, and below that is tips and tricks on choosing the right newspaper company and newspaper ads format. Newspaper ads are still an effective form of advertising, but you have to make sure that they fit the needs of your marcom strategy (linked page is about internet marketing, but applies to all forms of marketing) or marketing communications plan (sample marketing plan).
59 million households within the United States alone, receive at least one newspaper at least once during a weeks time. The newspaper that has the largest circulation is the U.S.A. Today, with a daily circulation of 2.22 million. It is followed closely by the Wall Street Journal with 2.11 million daily circulation.

Newspaper ads used to be the most widely used medium for marketing communications efforts, but in recent years it has been passed up by television in both the amount of use and in the amount of expenditures. There has been a constant decline in the number of people who read newspapers. This has mostly been caused by the increasing numbers of people who going to the Internet to find information. Newspapers have been having a hard time detouring this because of how the Internet allows users to find specific information that suits each individual’s specifications. Most newspapers are trying to establish a web presence to minimize their readership losses.

Most of the newspaper industry’s revenues come through the sale of localized advertising, although the industry has been making efforts to increase national advertising campaigns. The Newspaper Advertising Organization has been been starting to provide a number of services that are helping to facilitate the success of these efforts. Google has introduced an online service that makes selling advertising space easier. Companies that participate in this program are able to sell advertising space quicker and to a larger audience. Perhaps in the future I will do a (some) entries on this service.

Newspaper display ads and classified ads can be a good way to advertise your business, and depending on the type of service or product you offer the ads can dramatically increase business.

Selecting the newspaper to run your advertisement in is of utmost importance. For example if you have a Ebay listing service, don’t pick a large metropolitan newspaper, pick something smaller and more local. People are not going to want to drive all the way across town to drop off there items to ship. Usually large newspaper have a better response for things like real estate ads. Before you select a newspaper, think about what type of service you offer, and about your current customers. Are they local? Or they come from pretty far? If you go to them, how far are you willing to travel to provide service?

Once you have decided what kind of geographical reach you would like the newspaper you are going to run your ad in to have, consider which specific newspaper you are going to use. The Monroe times? The Toledo Blade? If there are newspapers that target specific audiences, you should consider those before you consider other newspaper companies. If you have a hunting supply store, and there is a newspaper in your area that caters to the outdoors audience, then you should probably consider advertising with them.

Next you need to consider cost. Don’t just compare local newspapers and then assume that the cheapest is the best. Ask the publisher what the circulation of the newspaper is. 15,000? 30,000? Daily? Weekly? Calculate the CPM (cost per thousand) for each (divide cost by the number of thousands). When considering cost consider different sizes, what page in the paper you will be on, if you can get an ad above the fold, and if you can have an ad in full color. All of these will have an impact on how “seen” your advertisement will get by the readers of the newspaper.

Consider running the advertisement more then once. Run it for a few weeks. Marketers agree that it takes about three ad impressions for a consumer to properly remember the advertisement message.

Try to make some kind of promotional offer in your advertisement. Don’t just put a logo of your business and expect people to come flocking. Make it a good offer. While working for an advertising company awhile back, we once had this barber who would come in and want us to run his ads with a “dollar off” offers. Then when he didn’t get a good response he couldn’t understand why people didn’t bring them in more. Nobody will remember that, “Oh, I have that dollar off coupon somewhere” when they need a hair cut. If, however, he had done as we advised and given half off to first time customers, I’m convinced that he would have had a better response. If you have an offer at all, make it good. Don’t do something like “Ten percent off.” That just won’t work, especially if you are trying to pull customers away from your competitors. Consumers perceive changing to another company as risk. The only way they are going to take that risk is if they perceive the potential benefit as greater the perceived risk. You are not trying to make money on there first visit. You are trying to get a customer and then once you have that customer, you try to keep that customer and you hopefully try to keep that customer happy. Getting new customers is always more expensive then keeping current customers satisfied.

Try getting a press release published in the newspaper about your business. They can provide a good cheap source of customer if used correctly. Also, if you are a good writer, write find a newspaper that will let you write a column about your area of expertise. If you are a lawn care company, then do a column about lawn care and landscaping. Don’t make the column a sales pitch for your services, provide good information, and people will come to you.

If used correctly, newspaper ads can be a good source of new customers. They are a good way of getting the word out fast and they can be used to convey a lot of information. Turnaround time is very short, which allows for quick ad changes if the first version of you ad didn’t work so well. This also makes newspaper advertisements a great way to advertise sales and special events.