Thursday, July 15, 2010

Print Marketing Tips & Hints for Small Businesses

Running a print magazine has given me some great insight into the do's & dont's of running a print marketing campaign, i wanted to share with you some hints & tips for putting together a successful advertisement for my first Blog.

These principals can be applied to an advertisement online, in a magazine or newspaper or even in a direct mail flyer.

As a small business (or any business for that matter) we generally don't have thousands upon thousands of dollars to spend on ad's so making sure that time is spent putting together an advertisement that reaches your target market is vital in saving you time & money.

This information is based on a presentation i did at the Ulladulla Tourism meeting last month.

** Scroll to the bottom to see some really creative print advertisements.

What do you like/dislike about your competitors advertisements? Are they too cluttered, not enough 'bold' or colour used?

Have a catchy heading or logo
Find an eye catching way in which to present your product or service.

Your message
Think about what the main message in your ad will be- is it for brand recognition or for a particular sale/offer? What message are you trying to convey.

Point of Difference
Focus on one clear point of difference, the more specific, the higher the impact. Avoid promoting a 'shopping list' or products you provide. The POD is something you provide that your competitors dont. Eg- serving only fair trade coffee where other cafes in your town don't. 'Great service' & 'good staff' are not your POD as most businesses claim to have this.

Stress the benefits not features
Learn to identify the customer benefits eg- a toothbrush whitens your teeth (benefit) whilst the feature may be 'strong bristles'. The benefit is the advantage gained by the customer & is often an 'emotional' thing.

Keep it Simple
The most common issue we come across is over crowded, messy and cluttered advertisements, less is definitely more & so focus on one clear thing to promote, if an advertisement is too cluttered, customers will simply scan over it.

Use of words
Use words like 'us', 'our', 'we' where possible & have large easy to read wording. As a guide if a 6 year old child cannot understand your ad then review & simplify.

Use Photos not Cartoons
Photos can be likened to the real world & as a result they facilitate recall better then cartoons or drawings- research suggests by as much as 26%. Use people in your images where possible as people can relate to other people (eg an image of a couple having a coffee in a cafe compared to a just a cartoon coffee cup). Make sure you have high jpeg good quality images, they make all the difference. Low quality pics can pixelate and become blury in publications & this reflects poorly on your business.

Identify your target market, you cannot promote to everyone as the impact of the advertisement will be lost so identify what market you are trying to promote to & tailor the artwork to suit this particular market eg- women 25-35 living in XYZ region with high incomes.

Call to Action
What do you want your customer to do after they read the advertisement- visit your website, call you, pop in?

End date
Make sure you have an end date on any promotions or offers, this creates immediacy.

Print & Check
Sounds obvious right? But printing your advert & having several people proof read is vital, we have had many people simply scan over advert on the computer screen to find the result in print format is not the same as a high def desktop computer....people often miss vital things such as an incorrect phone number which can make or break the advertisement.

Using the same format again & again
Continuously changing colours, looks and formats doesn't help to build brand recognition & awareness. However every so often changing a promotion or different variables in an ad can help to refresh your image to regular readers.

Track the Response
There is no point in running an advertisement unless you monitor how well it went & the response to the campaign. Ask each customer that comes in or phones where they heard about you from to tell whether you should repeat that form of advertising again.


While many marketing campaigns are turning to the internet as a means of promoting their products and services, print marketing remains an effective means of advertising for many companies. By utilizing the right marketing techniques, paired with aiming for the proper audience, and setting and remaining within a reasonable budget, print marketing may remain a viable option for you and your company as well.

Check out some interesting & catchy print campaigns below.

NB:With the new technologies that are out there & great photoshop techniques this means that many graphic design artists can often replicate or design advertisments with elements like the ones below that several years ago may not have been possible without a massive budget.

To promote your business with my magazine 'South Coast Monthly Imag', email me at or visit our website for details at