Q: What is your opinion on print advertising? Is it dead like some critics say? I see three potential venues for my ad dollar: print, social media, and online. Where would you spend your advertising dollars?
A:To put a little spin on Shakespeare, I have come to praise print and not bury it.
Now is it true that the world of print media is changing radically? Of course. But I also think that the reports of print’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Go to any magazine stand and you will see what I mean. There are still hundreds of magazines out there, and newspapers big and small alike are somehow figuring out ways to carry on.
That said, it is equally true that there are certainly fewer ads and fewer print options than even a decade ago. Let me suggest however that those very changes offer the savvy small business person some tremendous opportunities.
For starters, one of the main things you want from your advertising is the chance to STAND OUT. It used to be that advertising in the print media made that very difficult because there was so much competition. But because there are in fact fewer businesses advertising in print, and fewer ads in those publications, your ability to stand out has increased.
Fewer ad pages mean your ads can be stars.
In addition, because print mediums need advertisers, there are some very good deals to be had out there. As such, a half page ad in a magazine or large ad in the paper will not only offer you some great exposure due to less competition, but it will also cost less than you probably expect.
But that’s not all. Print advertising continues to offer some great benefits not shared by its online counterparts.
Print advertising offers you the chance to catch people by their interests, or religion, hobbies, work, age, etc. Targeting your marketing to the right demographic is fairly easy by advertising in the right place and can be highly profitable.
Magazines stay in homes for months. Newspapers may be around for days. But web pages come and go. In addition, people reading web pages digest information far quicker – and move on – than do people reading print content.
A print ad is a physical thing. It can be copied and placed in your store, or on your website even, for years. E-ads do not have the same cachet.
All of this is not say that online advertising is not important. Of course it is. But by the same token, as we rush to understand and embrace this new world of e-advertising, let us not forget that print can play a significant role in the mix.
Indeed, ideally, your print ads can and should empower your online ads. Research indicates that a not insignificant portion of online searches stem from offline ads. People see and ad in a newspaper or magazine and then search that topic on the Net. As such, aside from your URL, print ads today should contain product names, key words and phrases, taglines, etc. By using your print ads to drive people to your website, you essentially get a twofer, benefitting from both offline and online exposure.
Bottom line is print ads are not only a smart offline tool right now, but can become an effective part of your online strategy as well.