I don’t know about you, but I still like receiving magazines in their printed format. It’s nice being able to take my time pouring over the content. I don’t like everything to be digital. And because of the time I spend reading the magazine, the print ads are seen multiple times. This helps to make magazine advertisements a good investment when properly targeted in the right publication.

Printed Medium is Alive and Well

Magazine ads

Magazine Ads have many opportunities to grab attention

Over the past ten to fifteen years the news media made it sound as if magazines as a printed medium were dying. And that isn’t the case. As a matter of fact, over the past 15 years, the number of magazines in the United States has increased by 34% from 5340 in 2002 to 7176 in 2017. Granted the mix has changed and they are down from their height of 7390 in 2012, but magazines are still a strong printed advertising medium.

And it’s proven in research that when it comes to magazines the print version is read longer than their digital counterpart. A recent survey of over 1000 readers by the FreeportPress reported that over 50% of the respondents indicated they had not read a digital magazine in the past month. While only 25% of the respondents had not read a print magazine with more than 40% having read 1-2 magazines!

Magazines Have Staying Power

One of the primary reasons for the strength of magazines is their staying power. Most people choose magazines that concentrate on a specific area of interest. Such as a particular sport (golf, tennis, fitness), hobby (food, travel), trade or industry. Because people are looking to read mostly for pleasure the magazines are kept around.

Having a magazine opened repeatedly is great for your brand. Because the magazine ads will have a number of opportunities to grab the attention of the reader.  And that is key because our attention span is getter shorter and shorter every year. In 2000 the average attention span was 12 seconds and by 2015 it had decreased to 8.25 seconds. That’s not a lot of time to grab your prospect’s attention.

Grab Attention to Convey Message

We have so much clutter in our minds that trying to cut through it with creative advertising is getting tougher and tougher.

Magazine ads

Content is Key to grabbing the attention of your target

So, you need to make sure that once you grab their attention you keep it long enough to convey your message. And the ultimate goal of your message is to get them to buy. The best print ads combine the attention-grabbing headline or image with meaningful content. They make every word count. And they make sure the content is relevant to their target audience. The best advertising techniques also make sure that the key points are easy to scan and the call to action is easy for them to take. 

Easy to Scan Key Points

I have counseled many, many companies during my marketing career and I am always amazed when they just don’t listen. They feel they have to tell their entire story and fill up their advertisement with unnecessary information. I’ve actually had clients tell me they don’t want any “white” space in their advertisements. They want to fill all the space they are paying for. And many times, they will tell me, “we have to include this because I like that particular feature and I think it will make a difference”! And then they are surprised when it doesn’t work!

Magazine ads

Understanding your story and how you can helps you to better target your message

If they aren’t trying to fill the print ads with everything about their company and product then I’ve found that clients feel that if it is creative, then it is effective. To some, they don’t care if the imagery makes sense or not as long as it’s creative. That is not the case. For example, if your ad has a visual of a sexy couple in a comprising position, it may grab some readers attention. But if then you go on to sell hemorrhoid cream, are they really going to pay attention further?

While it may need to be something creative to grab attention, it is more about the messaging and how it affects the target audience that makes the best print ads. And those best ads don’t use cheap advertising techniques to get the target’s attention.

Best Print Ads Contain Powerful Headline

Of course, the principles are the same for all your marketing materials whether digital or printed. You need to grab your prospect’s attention by understanding what they need. And if you understand their needs then you can explain how you fulfill that need in your marketing materials.

For example, use a powerful headline that will make your brand stand out is the first step. Then make them an offer that takes away their fear of making a decision. This can be explaining the benefits your product or service provides (and is different from your competition) and how it solves a problem your prospect has. And finally make it seem urgent with your call to action; Act Now, Only Available While Supplies Last. And of course, if you can use exciting graphics to help tell your story that can be effective in grabbing attention in your target’s cluttered environment.

Is Your Product Really Unique?

Let’s be honest. Is your product or service really that unique? Probably not, because there really isn’t that much that is anymore. But

Magazine ads

Understanding what makes your product stand out helps you in grabbing your targets attention

it is possible to take a unique approach that will help to make you stand out.

Think about leather goods. Some might say they are unique because of their quality or type, but one company that I think has hit on a great slogan is Saddleback Leather. Their slogan is “They’ll Fight Over it when You’re Dead.” Need I say more? Makes me want to go out and find out why.

That’s what you are looking to do with your advertisements. You want to make your prospects and clients feel as if there is no other choice but your brand.

Magazines Satisfy Need for Reader

Now that you’ve got your messaging clear you want to make sure you are placing your magazine advertisements where you will get the most out of your advertising budget.

As mentioned earlier, most magazines satisfy a specific need for the reader. For example, the fastest growing magazine brand in the United States in 2017 was Entrepreneur Magazine as reported by statista. Their audience grew by 39 percent compared to the previous year. Why? Well, everyone seems to either have their own business today or want to (I guess I was an early adapter). So, it makes sense their audience is growing.

Explore Regional Advertising Techniques

When you look at what is a considered a national publication you expect to see those large glossy advertisements from the major car manufacturers, the hotel chains and national retailers.

What you may be surprised to see are the print ads for some local or regional establishments. And it’s becoming more and more common.

To stay more viable today magazines have had to become more nimble. Production is no longer done in one national facility. They are regionalized so that while most of the content and advertisements are national there is also a regional section. This allows the local reader to feel the publication is more tailored to them.

And the local advertisers can take advantage of a national magazine and appear “bigger” by running their promotion next to a national company. The regional edition is less expensive than the national version and since your locations may be regionalized it makes better budgetary sense.

Print Ads Complement Online Presence

magazine ads and social media presence

Print media is very effective in complementing online marketing efforts

Using print ads to complement your online presence is key. Many people feel that if they are constantly on social media then they are achieving their goals of reaching their target frequently. Unfortunately, if you are hitting your target over the head with the same message over and over again, then they will stop paying attention and your response rate will drop.

However, if you take the opportunity to have your messages complement each other and evolve then your message frequency is more likely to be successful. And you can mix up the styles of your messages, be it informative, comedy or advice. Each telling your story in a compelling way about how your product helps your target solve a particular problem (or enhancing their lives).

Goals for Magazine Ads is Simple

The goals are simple for any advertising campaign: attract new customers, reinforce your existing customers’ loyalty, generating sales and introducing your products and services.

And while you have many, many options today for spreading the word to achieve your goals, magazine ads are an excellent companion to your online presence.

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More

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