As a business, you will be inundated with opportunities to buy advertising space in a whole range of publications, both on and off-line.

Here are some of our top tips to help you place an advert that will benefit your business and support its sales process.

1. Can you afford it?
Obvious, but can your company afford the money AND time? It’s not just the cost of the advertising space, it’s the time spent designing the advert, liaising with the publication and then checking your business has been portrayed correctly.

2. How does this fit in with your Marketing Plan?
Where does this advert sit with your other marketing activities? What is its purpose? Will it raise awareness about your company and what it offers? If so, does it fit with other marketing and PR activities you are doing that month? Will you be hitting the same audience repeatedly? If so, should you amend the message in this advert? Once you know how an advert fits into your overall marketing plan, it becomes easier to decide whether to place the advert and what it should be about.

3. Does the publication reach your target market?
How can you be sure that the people your business needs to reach will see this ad? Ask for the Media Pack from the advertiser. This will give you the stats about who the advertisers say will see your advert.  You can also then check what is the publication basing this number on? Subscribers, page views, members etc?

If you are unsure if it’s the right place to put your advert, then ask current customers if they look at that publication. Check the numbers, then go with your instinct.

4. Positioning – is it a good spot you’re being offered?
Check what you will be getting for your money; where will your advert be positioned? The top right hand page is the best spot for getting noticed but back covers are good too.
Which other companies will be advertising next to yours? Are you happy to have your company’s name associated with these other ones?
Will your advert stand out or will it be lost amongst other adverts and advertorials?

5. Haggle
If you are interested but the price is too much, tell the advertiser this and tell them what you are prepared to pay. They might not be able to offer you the same spot or the same size advert but they will do their best to find something to fit your budget.

6. Content
Adverts should be visual, attractive and with one call to action. The call to action is normally, “Call us/Visit our website for more information” ie moving people along the sales pipeline from being aware of your products to being interested enough to look them up.
Remember to put on all the essentials eg your company’s name, logo, website, contact number, email address.
The less space you have, the cleaner and clearer you need to make your advert. Avoid cluttering it up with too many images and words. Once it is designed, print it out in the actual size it will be in the publication / on-line and hold it up next to that page. Does your advert stand out? Does it look good? Can people clearly see all the information on it? If not, change it.

7. Measure success
You’ve paid your money, how do you know if it’s a success? Put a range of measurements in place; hits on your website the month after the advert is placed; increased number of phone calls; increased social media followers etc
If your advert is about raising awareness, then you will have to make some assumptions. 100 people may have seen your ad and now know you exist but none of them need your product or service right now. However…they are hanging on to your details…
Measurements are important but be realistic; one advert is not necessarily going to lead to the order book filling up immediately but it might lead to more people wanting to get to know your company to do future business with you…

Kara Stanford is Managing Director of KMS Marketing. Contact her to find out how KMS Marketing can help your business use marketing to deliver business results.

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