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So you're thinking about advertising in your local newspaper and you wanted some advice from the greatest small business expert alive - good for you! So, let's grab a spoon and dig right in to this delicious feast I've prepared for you.

Tip 1: Bigger is Not Always Better

Okay dirty mind, I'm talking about the size of your advertisement.

The bottom line is you have so much money to do so many ads, and that means maximizing your budget for maximum sales. Because of this, I'd rather you run several smaller ads than one, or a couple, bigger ads. Why? Well, you see, consistency is the key with advertising because people will need to see your ad at least a few times before they trust you enough to contact you. One big ad says, "call me now or else." Several smaller ads say, "we're here when you need us." Huge difference!

Tip 2: Keep It Simple, Stuuuuuupid

We've all heard this, so what the hell does it have to do with advertising?

Quite simply, every ad you have should have one message, for one market. When you go around creating ads that try to serve everyone in your target audience all at once, it appeals to no one in particular at best, and at worst, it comes off as desperate. So, if you're a commercial/residential plumber, advertise commercial plumbing services in one ad in one newspaper, and residential services in another. This is much better than advertising in 2 newspapers with 1 crappy message.

Tip 3: Location, Location, Location

So many clients run to their advertisers each month furious over the placement of their ad with regard to what 'page' it's on. What they don't realize is advertising real-estate in newspapers is all about the proximity of your ad to relevant editorial content. This is because people in your specific audience are most likely going to visually congregate around information that pertains to their particular need which is also related to your particular service or product.

So, if you're the new play in town, stay close to the entertainment section. If you're a real-estate company, stay close to the public sales announcements.

Tip 4: Who is Your Audience

In South Jersey, we have the Courier Post, but there are also several other local papers that sell great advertising too.

For example, "what's on" is a paper local to Haddonfield, Collingswood and Haddon Heights. What's great about this paper is it is only about future events that readers may wish to attend, such as hayrides, Easter egg hunts, choir shows, health fests, car shows and carnivals.

So, the target audience of this paper is people who like to get out and do stuff probably as much as they like to maintain a great household. After all, the median income of Haddonfield is twice the National average. So, a few local businesses that should be advertising in what's on are:

  • Restaurants (in Jersey and Philadelphia)
  • Chimney sweepers
  • Babysitting services
  • Medical Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Real estate companies
  • Etc.

So, you have to be very thoughtful as to where to place your ad. Write down a list of every newspaper  your target market reads, and think hard about which ones will produce the greatest response. Either way, never stop experimenting until you find that sweet spot.

Tip 5: A Call to Arms

Unless you tell people what to do, they will rarely do it.

Yes, consumers may see a great ad, but even the smartest and most eager consumer may come away from your ad thinking, "well, I guess I'll contact them later." Trust me, they'll forget. The bottom line is always give people a clear action they must take. For example: Call us now. It sounds so easy, and yet, too many of you forget to add this critical element.

That's all for now. Good luck to you fellow biz owners!

Don't compete — DOMINATE.


Matt Steffen

"Don't compete -- DOMINATE!"

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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.