Print Your Holiday Ads

While many small businesses are turning to social media for their campaigns, many are still relying on print advertising to get their message across. While this may seem archaic to some, it is not only effective, but also quite profitable if you create great print ads. Print ads are a great way to use co-op advertising money, and are a great way to promote special sales and unique events within your store.

Know Your Audience
As with any advertising, you need to know who your audience is. The key is to target a defined audience – not so defined that you miss the casual fishing tackle shopper, but also not so broad that you miss the real anglers out there. The publication that your ad is in should help determine who your audience is and what their buying habits are. Remember too, many times it takes a half dozen viewings to get a person to react to a print ad or any ad. While print ads may not run as often as a Facebook ad, they are still just as effective if created correctly.

Create Your Ad
Print advertising is second only to word-of-mouth advertising for effectiveness and longevity. Because of its age, it has been studied and dissected more than any other form of advertising. It is found that there are three main ways to create a headline for your ad. There is the Self-Interest Headline: these headlines drive home the benefit to your customer. Next, is the New Headline: this form of headline shares news or the date of an event. The final style is Curiosity Headline: this form of headline stirs your readers’ curiosity.

Define which headline will work best for you this holiday season. Play with the various styles if you are running multiple ads to see which has the best return. Remember though, you may run seven ads with the Self-Interest Headline, and then the eighth one as a Curiosity Headline and that is what brings in the customers. Do not throw out the previous seven ads; it just took time and repetition to get the customers to react. Think of each ad as a building block and not a stand-alone ad. Thinking this way will help create an advertising plan versus a single advertising message.

While you create your ads, do not forget about your co-op ad dollars and try to include the products for them if they fit with your messaging.

Build Your Body
While headlines get all of the attention, your ad body is what creates action and produces sales. Work with your ad copy and create the best body that you can. If you are not a wordsmith, and no one in your company is very good at coming up with quality verbiage, let the products sell themselves and only put key points into the ad body. Product lines you carry, sale prices, hours, location and holiday wishes are the bare minimum copy you need for this time of year. Some of this you can do with just images, but if you are relying on images, ensure they are crisp, clear and of the actual products. Showing a product that is out of stock will actually be more damaging than running no ad at all. If you have a limited supply of a certain product, put that in your ad – it will help generate a buzz and be a safety net if you sell out of it too quickly.

Don’t Rely on 1
Advertising campaigns, especially holiday campaigns, need to have multiple looks and messages while all conveying the same idea. This time of year more than any other, your ad will be competing with other advertisers trying to sell their own specials. The more creative you can become, the better chance your ad has of standing out. You can run the same ad layout tweaked differently day after day and it will keep your message fresh. Run the same ad though day after day and it will get lost in the noise of holiday advertising.

There is a fine line between different messages and different ads. Understand the difference. You need to keep a unified message throughout all of your ads, so pick one or two key points and stick to them and make them prominent no matter how your ad layout is. Your return will be much greater in the end.

Take the Test
Ask your publisher if they will supply a test copy of your ad before it actually runs. Does your ad look the same as it did on your computer? Does it look too cluttered or too empty? Play with your ad and ensure you get the most for the space you are buying.

After you feel satisfied with your ad, ask employees or friends to look at it for ten seconds, then take it away from them. Now ask them about the prices or other information you have in the ad. If they cannot remember at least six key features of your ad, rewrite it.

This may seem extreme, but most ads do not get at least ten seconds of viewing times from readers. Also, as a friend or an employee, they know more about your store than a casual reader of the publication you’re running your ad in, so they are more inclined to know more about your store and can deduce certain things from your ads.

Work on getting your ads streamlined and approved for co-op ad dollars now. In just a few weeks the nightly paper will be as thick as your credit card bill post-holidays. Make sure your message stands out and you attract the customers you are looking for.

What do you do for print advertising? Are there certain ads that seem to work better for you than others? Share your ads with us on our Facebook page or in our LinkedIn group and see what other fishing tackle retailers are using for their advertising campaigns this holiday season.