Advertising design for publications has been a favorite of mine for some time. Perhaps it stems from my early roots working in the production dept of a local community newspaper group in San Diego. Papers came out weekly on Thursdays. Being part of the ad design team along with creating special sections for events kept us on our toes!
You quickly learned which ads did well with their content and messaging and which ads needed improvement. Sadly, more often than not, it was the biz owners who insisted on including info that did not always work in their favor…
For the record, before you completely dismiss print publication advertising entirely, it may still be a viable option as part of an integrated marketing strategy. One that can promote your business or event, deliver your message and reach the entirety of your audience.
Advertising Locally in Magazines or other Print Publications – Some Do’s & Don’ts
For the purpose of this particular post, I’m going to address some observations (do’s and don’ts) I’ve noticed regarding advertising design in local print publications in and around Santa Fe. It’s where I now live and Lord knows there’s an abundance of them!!
As for the “do’s”, regardless of the area (local, regional or National publications) certain design principles should still apply for magazine advertising designs such as:
• Copy Elements (your messaging)
• Graphic Elements
• Size and Shape
• Less IS More (so don’t clutter it up)
You’re Never Too Cool for Contact or Location Info!
My observation is that many ads in Santa Fe’s print publications – such as The Reporter often lack a tel # or business location info in the ads.
For the record, your biz is not some underground club where you need a secret password to get in. You WANT folks to find you! You may be the cool coffee shop, brew pub or bike shop all the locals know. But what about tourists or other vacationing visitors?
If you want their business, they will require a bit more info. So it makes good business sense to include both location and contact info (such as a tel#) in your ads. Make it easy for people contact and or find you!
It’s 2017 – So YES, You Should Have a Website
This is Business 101 folks. It’s 2017 and you really should have a website – NOT just a Facebook page. Include a link to your website on your ad. If you’re a restaurant, cafe, pub or other eating establishment, folks will want to look at your menu. Trust me on this!! They’ll want to know your food offerings. And if you have a “Happy Hour” promo, put it on your ad and make it prominent on your website so folks can see what your specials are.
Along those lines, be sure to claim your business listing and completely fill out your profile on Google My Business. Doing so enables you to better show up in local searches and for folks to read reviews of your establishment. Be sure to add photos!
On the flip side, if you think just including a link to your website on your ad rather than any contact/location info is a good idea, you may want to rethink that too. If you do choose this route, then you better make dang sure that all that relevant contact and location info to your biz is easily found on your site. This is especially important if your ad is promoting an upcoming special event.
The latter one is a particular pet peeve of mine. Seeing an ad in the local rag for an event which only included a link to the website. The website was so poorly thought-out for visitors that it was next to impossible to find any relevant info. Seriously people, you should know better by now. That’s not only a bad ad, but a terrible user experience on your site!
Even though you should have a website, don’t assume that everyone one is going to have a Smartphone and or an internet connection where they can just “Google” your biz name to find you. There are still lots of “dead-zones” – heck I live in one!
If they’re driving around, they may have a GPS in their car so all the more reason to include your location and telephone #. Otherwise you may be losing out on some great customers and or sales.
Advertising Design is Not Just a Pretty Picture, it’s a Form of Visual Communication…
These suggestions can apply to ads running in local publications anywhere – certainly not just in Santa Fe. National publications may be a bit different but many of the same principles still apply.
In essence, advertising design is a form of marketing and visual communication. Ideally your ads should be memorable and create brand awareness around your business or promotion. Executed correctly, advertising design is a creative business solution which is intelligent, delivers your message (very often it is for promoting a special event) and is ultimately focused on driving sales.
Print publications still exist for a reason. And people WILL spend more time looking at a good magazine ad over an online ad. So with that in mind, just be sure people can actually find your business 🙂
- Why today’s digital publishers are creating print magazines to supplement their websites.
- Magazines, like books, are making a comeback – “the reports of the death of print have been greatly exaggerated.”
Written by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Helping businesses grow through better design and search visibility solutions. From creating your business identity, designing and maintaining your print/digital assets to the importance of SEO for your website.
Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place with their products or services.