Marketing Secret #33 The Best Places To Advertise

One of the questions that frequently comes up when people talk about their advertising is, “Where do I place my ads?”

This question needs a lot of discussion.  It is not a simple question, and it doesn’t have a simple answer.

One of the answers that people don’t like to hear but I have to tell you is:  It depens! 

On what?

First of all, it depends on what type of advertising you are doing. For example, if you are looking for patients for plastic surgery it would be best to place an ad in a location where buyers are likely to be found. For example, a woman’s magazine.

Or you might advertise in a specialty publication that is for a country club where there a people who could afford elective surgery.

What you don’t want to do is place your ad in a publication where your prospects aren’t likely to read or see your ad.

So here is the first criteria you need to address:

  1. Who is your ideal customer?
  2. What publications are they likely to read?
  3. Where are these publications located and distributed?

One of the first things that people do is go and look for the most obvious, best known publications in their area…and run their ads right there.

Now, let me tell you that 1) it may not be the best place to advertise, and 2) if you do try big publications, you have to be very careful about your testing.

You see, a lot of times the biggest publications are the best place to advertise. And here’s why:

  1. A lot of times the publication has numerous sections. There are a lot of places to test, because not everybody reads the whole thing
  2. There is a lot of waste involved, because many people who read that publication aren’t really interested in your particular product/service. Just because the publication is big and obvious, and just because you read it…doesn’t mean it’s the best place to advertise.

Now, if you are going to try a big, well-known paper in your area, I would definitely first test your ad in the news section. In other words, the first part of the paper, where the news usually is, may be the best place to test.

Make sure that your ad doesn’t look like an ad; it should look like an article.

Don’t reverse type – in other words a black background with white letters.

Avoid using graphics or art work. Just make it plain with one, two or three columns of copy below the headline so it looks like an article.

People looking through the news section are not necessarily expecting this type of an ad here, and it does have the psychological edge of looking like an article…so people pay attention to it.

Now of course, there are other sections of the paper in which you can advertise and test.  You can test the sports section.  You can test the Classified section, but put a display in there and not a classified ad.

You can test in the section where the TV listings are, or by the movies and the obituaries. We can’t give you a specific section that you should test; all we can tell you is that you must test, test, test…and change only one variable at a time.

One of the biggest mistakes we see people making is not looking for publications that aren’t highly visible.

If you go to your local public library, you will find that there are all kinds of publications distributed in your area that you probably have never heard of.  There are an assortment of publications such as parenting and family that could be more suited to your target audience.

Find out if there are any publications issued by your Chamber of Commerce which lots of business owners and successful people read. Find out if there are other associations and groups in your area that publish material, such as country clubs, golf clubs and not for profit groups.

Be creative – check and see what is available. Get on as many mailing lists as you can. In other words, join, subscribe, find out what’s there…and see if you can get your ads published.

One of the things you know for use is, if you are in any of these lesser known publications, your editorial-style ad will be unique. Using advertising this way can be a powerful tool in these papers and publications that very few use or even know about.

However, the readers of these publications are usually very serious because they belong to this organisation or group or club or live in the neighbourhood. They are usually interested and curious to read what is going on in the particular niche that they are involved in.

So, go out there find out what is available, see where you can advertise without spending a lot of money, and look for those places that nobody else is looking or bothering to worry about. You will see your results improve dramatically for the dollars invested.

Another quick point.

Wherever you advertise, try to get on a right-hand page, above the fold, as far up front as possible.

Many publications will not guarantee any particular placement. Try to get the publisher or whoever you’re dealing with to do what you want because you are a direct response advertiser. Try to explain that, if you get responses, you will continue to advertise. If you don’t, you won’t.  try to get your publisher to see that you need good positioning if you are to keep running your ads.

Explain that all the other image advertisers don’t get responses anyway, and that since you keep track of your leads very closely, you need the best position possible! If they hassle you, do the best you can, and see what happens. Some papers will accommodate you and others will tell you to go scratch.

That’s why you have to test papers, locations, days of the week, etc…and have other places to diversify your efforts!