Should I do a one-off ad to see if it works?

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Answering Questions About Community Magazine Advertising

It is absolutely right to test and measure the results of your advertising. However, there is a golden rule in advertising and that is repetition, repetition, repetition. As Elizabeth Arden said repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.

As consumers we are bombarded with advertising messages everywhere we turn. We have become great at filtering out messages that are not relevant or uninteresting.

So if you want your message to sink in you need to tell your audience more than once. More than twice. In fact you need to keep telling them over and over again. Until you don’t want any more customers.

The marketing rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to see you 7 times before they are ready to buy. This concept dates back as far as the 1930s. These days people are subjected to far more advertising messages and so the rule of 7 is completely outdated.

Often, when businesses first think about advertising in community magazines they want to make a big splash reaching as wide an audience as possible to gain immediate results. That’s all well and good if they have money to burn and are committed to keeping the momentum going. But in the real world there is no quick fix and it is likely that they will become disheartened at the deafening silence that follows their big splash and pull out of any ongoing commitment they have made.

It is far more sensible to spread their budget over a longer period of time – ideally six or twelve months – rather than blow it all in that big push they are so keen on. Most often when business owners turn to community magazine advertising for the first time they need more customers. Fast. Like, today. But advertising doesn’t work like that. People’s buying habits don’t work like that.

When a new prospect first encounters your business you are a stranger to them. And people don’t trust strangers. They need to see you a few more times to begin to feel familiar with you and start to trust you. Only then are they ready to buy from you. Softly softly catchee monkey.

That’s not to say you can’t get lucky. Some businesses get great results instantly and continue doing so consistently on an ongoing basis. That comes down to compelling ad design – a topic for another day.

And planning a 12 month camping needn’t cost more than the big splash. It might mean taking a smaller ad, or going in fewer publications to begin with. Then when the results start coming through there’s more budget to go bigger on the ad and wider on the reach.

The great news is that when a business take out an ad in a community magazine, they are jumping on board a train that is already trusted and valued by a key target audience of theirs. The local market. The magazine is already part of their lives. It pops into their home regularly, a welcome guest. Invited into the sitting room for a cup of coffee. It is an extension of the most powerful advertising method in the world. Word of mouth.

Capturing the local market is the single most lucrative thing that many businesses can do. It saves travel time, travel cost, reduces their carbon footprint, and the more local customers they have the stronger word of mouth becomes. And to capture the local market requires visibility. Be seen. Often.

Amy Watson
The My Magazines