February 7, 2017
Having sold print ads for newspapers and magazines throughout the years and even for my own niche newspaper in 2003-2004, I’ve answered many questions about print ads, particularly centered around, “Do they work?” or “How can I get them to work?”
For any ad to work–meets the advertiser’s objective–many components and considerations are necessary. The top ones:
- Distribution and target audience of the publication… are your prospects reading this publication? (Look at their demographics.)
- Your ad creative (catchy headline and image)… you have to grab a reader’s attention, especially when they’re in scan mode and your ad is surrounded by competing distractions.
- Your offer (CTA aka “call-to-action)… do you tell the reader what to do next?… yes, guiding them will help your ad pay off. The ad must make it clear what the reader’s expected next steps are.
The CTA and its setup is the focus of this blog, because this critical step is not only where most print ads fail in terms of generating revenue but is also where you can make the jump across the digital divide by using a readily available texting feature, “LeadDigits”, part of the LeadPages software that I use for my clients.
I was visiting my sister in Steamboat Springs, CO, for an extended visit this past summer and came across a “Bodyworks” guide that consisted of healthy and alternative care practitioner’s ads. My sister is a certified postural alignment specialist using the Egoscue method, so she was showing me her listing in the publication. Having sold my first print ad for the Cal Aggie in 1982, it struck me how far we’ve come and the helpful tools at our disposal to measure print ad success.
Many small business owners only have anecdotal ideas of whether their ad is a success, though some do run a special or require a coupon or promo code, but many don’t even put an offer or CTA in the ad. I always advised small business owners to never run a branding ad, leave that to the big companies who have that kind of budget. Instead, I would recommend they always use a CTA for which they could measure its results.
Another obstacle to measuring a print ad’s success is that businesses will often forget to ask how the customer found them. Or the prospective customer would forget where they heard about the business. And it’s never known how many people cut out a coupon or ad and put it aside only to forget about it. The ROI on print ads can be nebulous, and small business owners often feel unclear about the ROI or that the print ad was a complete waste of money… because it could have been done in a more effective way.
If I was working in an advertising department at a publication with today’s technology available, I’d get hold of software such as LeadPage’s “LeadDigits” product. Their “Text PROMOCODE to #_____” feature would help advertisers measure the ROI on their ad, and it’d give the ad reps a selling point–a big one–and it’d also help grow the publication’s email list–which is an email marketing opportunity–in addition to passing leads onto the advertisers so they can nurture the leads through their email system.
It’s also doable for an individual business to open their own LeadPages account and use the LeadDigits feature for themselves. For example, the ad I saw in the publication is fairly standard in which it asks folk to visit their website, call or book a float therapy appointment. Instead, they could be getting a lead into their database and sending a followup email that includes the offer and then an upsell. With LeadPages, the advertiser can create a trackable campaign by offering a compelling piece of content or offer, so enticing that the person texts to receive the content or coupon, for which it is delivered via email with either a content download or a promo code. Additionally, the promo code obtained by Texting automatically populates the texter’s given email address into the company’s integrated email account for further nurturing.
With LeadDigits, the CTA for this example print ad could have read something like: Text “FLOAT$15” to #_____ to get your Promo Code for $15 off your next float. Or, alternatively: Text “FLOATSUCCESS” to #_____ to receive our guide on “How I used Float Therapy to Achieve Nirvana”.
How would this look? Here is a video explaining the “LeadDigits” feature that I use for my clients and recommend for making your print ad cross the digital divide:
This tactic can also be applied to Direct Mail, Email Marketing, Event Marketing (at your booth), a speaking event or even a BBQ! Where’s there a Smartphone, there’s an opportunity!
I hope you found this content helpful and is something you can put to use in your own business. If you have any questions about the information presented here, feel free to connect in Comments below, at 541-728-3590, or via email.