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Is Print Advertising Worth It?

Print ads have been a staple in camp marketing forever. You take out ads in parent magazines and all that. Despite the movement from offline advertising to the Internet, print ads have their place in your overall marketing program. But you need a strong ROI (return on investment) to justify their cost (or, hopefully, investment).

The first thing you need to decide is, what’s the purpose of your ad?  Do you want people to call you? Email? Go to your website? Once you’ve identified the goal of your ad, track your results to make sure your investment is paying off. If you’re getting the results you want, stick with it. If not, try something else. Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say you’re paying $500 for your print ad, and the goal of your ad is to drive people to your website. If 500 people go to your website as a result of seeing your ad, then the ad is costing you $1 per prospect. If 250 people go to your site, you’re paying $2 per prospect, etc. You need to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish and whether or not the price is worthwhile to you in terms of the ad’s effectiveness.

One thing to remember is all your ads must be direct response. By that I mean, tell your prospects to do something! Don’t just say, “We have a summer camp your child will love.” Instead say: CALL NOW for free information!  Go to our Website NOW! etc. If you don’t tell people what to do, they won’t do anything, and your ad might be a huge waste of money.

What if NOBODY responds to your ad? To me, that’s the absolute worst thing about print advertising: the fact you’re required to pay for it whether or not it produces results. (This is where something like like Google Adwords, where you pay only for results, trumps print advertising in spades.)

In general, print ad sales are hurting. Newspapers and magazines are shutting their doors as online advertising takes over. From a marketing investment standpoint, that’s good news because it gives you bargaining power. Last year  I took out a 1/4 page ad for for my program in a prominent parenting magazine here in Los Angeles. But I told them I wouldn’t advertise unless they gave me premium placement. I demanded that my ad appear in the upper-right hand corner on the right-hand side (page) of the magazine. Under normal conditions I would have needed to pay extra for that. But in this economy – and given the way print ad sales are suffering – they caved in gave me what I wanted. You can negotiate this way, too!

I could write all day about this but I’ve probably given you enough to work with now. Feel free to comment or ask any more questions and I’m happy to respond. You might also check out this article about Google, which itself ventured into the print advertising world but discovered it wasn’t worthwhile.

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