How to Make Print Advertising Worth Your Time and Money

by Corey Philip
November 29, 2017

Print ads salespeople.

They come into my office or call my phone basically every single day.

If you’re a business owner, you know the pitch. They want you to put an ad in the local digest, golf course newsletter, or whatever other little publication that they’re putting out each week.

Generally, I’ve found investing in those ads to be a poor investment. However, I do think that there’s a way to make those advertisements worth your time if you can spin it the right way to the salesperson.

Let’s take a look at some of the problems that I have with print ads and how my solution will help you get a better ROI on those ads if you’re running them.

My Problems With Print Ads

Although print advertising was one of the preferred methods of advertising in the past, there are so many more effective ways to spend your marketing dollars these days.

These five problems are the main issue that I have with print advertising.

    1. Print Publications are Decreasing in Popularity

      Over the last 15-20 years, print publications have been dying slowly. Between 2011-2016, the newspaper publishing industry lost a significant chunk of money. Revenue dropped from $33.59 billion to $30.47 billion in those years alone. And digital publishing is only increasing. In fact, digital magazines are now outselling their traditional counterparts by at least three to one.

      Browsing on a tablet, computer, or phone is more convenient and environmentally friendly, and it doesn’t appear that we’ll be returning to print publishing anytime soon.

    2. It Creates Extra Effort

      Many people just can’t be bothered with something if it takes any extra effort. Even the smallest bit of effort. When you run a print advertisement, you’re creating an extra step for your customers to get in touch with you (albeit a small one).

      Once they see your ad in print, they either have to manually dial your phone number, come into your store, or find you online to send you a message.

      With digital advertising, they just click on your phone number and it dials for them, or they click your ad to learn more about what you’re offering.

    3. They’re More Difficult to Target and Track

When you create a Facebook ad, it’s super simple to narrow down your audience as specific as you need it to be, and then tracking your ad is even easier. You know 100% that your target audience is going to see your advertisement. With a print ad, that isn’t always a guarantee.

While you have an idea of who that magazine or pamphlet is going out to, you don’t know for certain that your target demographic is going to end up seeing your ad. You don’t know that they’ll even read the publication at all.

  • The Timing isn’t Always Right

    If you’re running a special, it’s likely for a limited time.
    Thus, you want your ad out as soon as possible so that people can actually take advantage of your sale. When you sign up for a print ad, you don’t know exactly when that publication is going to go out. Especially with smaller publications, they might run into a distribution problem or may have to correct an error before sending it out. With a digital ad, you know that you can have one running in the next ten minutes.

  • Price

    In my experience, I’ve never thought that the price on print advertising is that good. With digital advertising, you can nail down your marketing campaigns to be much more cost-efficient. It’s also much easier to measure your ROI. However, I have a solution

    1. How to Make Print Advertising Worth Your Time and Money

      Next time a salesperson comes in with their offer for print advertising, don’t turn them down. Instead, pitch them with this idea. Tell them that, while you aren’t willing to pay their rates, you do have an idea for how to make it worth both of your time. See, my biggest problem with print advertising is that it’s difficult to measure my ROI.
      However, I can easily fix that problem using CallRail. With CallRail, you can generate a new phone number that forwards to your business phone number so that you can track exactly how many calls are coming from each advertising source. With a phone number like that, you can then tell the salesperson that you’re willing to work with them if they will work on a pay-per-lead basis.

      For example, I’ll pay them $20 per lead instead of just paying to have my ad in some print publication. When they’re charging $1,000 a month for an ad and are saying that you’ll get 600-1,000 new leads, that would work out great for both you. You would get a guarantee of actual leads, and the salesperson would end up making more money for themselves.

      The Takeaway

      Some people do find that print advertising works for them. However, in my industry, I haven’t found any that really work for my company (relative to digital advertising). For me, the benefits of digital advertising outweigh the benefits of print advertising too much for me to take a risk on a random local publication.

      However, I would love to work with any of these salespeople if they would be willing to work on a pay-per-lead basis.

      What do you think? Are you running print advertising?

      Let me know what your experience has been in the comments section below!


About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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