Why You Should Advertise in Newspapers
by Steven D. Strauss

Not advertising is like being alone in a dark room with the door closed. You know you are there, but no one else does. Most businesses have to advertise if they are going to succeed because it is the basic way new customers learn they are out there.

Yet it is surprising how many small business owners assume that their great idea, or cool location, or bright sign, or good looks, or whatever else it is, will bring people in the door. Here’s what brings new people in the door: advertising. Sure, marketing is great and important, as is networking, and social networking, and customer service, and word of mouth; but advertising is the route with potentially the biggest payoff. Advertising turns the light on —it lets people know you are out there.

Which then begs the question: In this Internet era, is newspaper advertising still a good choice? The answer is yes.

Today, it’s not that difficult to get lost in an online advertising campaign, but offline, in the paper, you can be a big fish in a smaller pond, and at a fairly reasonable cost. Sure, younger people are generally not in the newspaper-reading habit. But if you are targeting a demographic older than, say, 30, newspapers can make the most sense. Also, who is the bigger consumer 20 year-olds or 30 and above? Yep, 30 and above; those who have more money, more education and read newspapers!

I am partial to newspaper advertising for many reasons.

•Your ad is physical and, as such, can be clipped (no need for printing from online.) It can contain details, prices, offers and contact information that is sometimes more difficult to get across (and remembered) with the electronic media.
•Because it is tangible, a newspaper ad is not a click, or DVR fast forward, or changing away to another channel.
•People take time with the paper, and thus can really read your ad.
•Studies show that newspaper readers tend to be a little older, better educated, and better off, which sounds like a great customer to many a business.
•As indicated, with fewer ads, yours can stand out.

All of that said, consider this: Where do big advertisers buy ads? Online? Sure. TV? Yep. But if you open your paper, you will see that they are there, too. And the reason savvy advertisers place ads in the paper is simple: It works. Newspaper ads pull.

Success in newspaper advertising requires a few things: You should begin by speaking with an ad rep for the paper. He or she can not only help you get the ad designed in-house, but will also help you devise a budget, choose the right section, and even suggest which days/weeks would work best for you.

The toughest question is how big of an ad to run, and how often. The answer is: As much as you can afford. Like most advertising, with newspapers repetition is the key, repetition is the key, repetition is the key. What is the key? See?

Newspapers: The counter-intuitive smart choice!

About the author: Steven D. Strauss is one of the world’s leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success by visiting his new website, and follow him on Twitter, © Steven D. Strauss

Art due the Friday prior to publication.

Debra Wells
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