How to Get the Most Value Out of Local Print Advertising for Small Businesses

While some may say print advertising is dead, we say it can still be a successful advertising tool for small businesses. For local companies, you have the advantage of reaching your community in a uniquely local medium.

When looking for an ROI on your advertising budget, these are the tips to remember.



Diversify Your Advertising Portfolio

We spoke with Brian Barrett, a sales rep at North Bay Business Magazine, who shared that diversification is one of the most effective ways to reach more people with the same budget.

This could mean running print ads in a monthly local magazine, buying Facebook ads, or purchasing a radio spot for an upcoming sale. Generally speaking, if the magazine focuses on 35-54 year olds, then you can use Facebook’s targeting and the right radio station to do the same.

Even with these changes in advertising, print still holds value. Danielle McCoy, Advertising Account Manager for Pacific Sun in Marin, says that the physical attachment to newspapers or magazines is still there.

“People are still visually oriented, and they want to see and hold something in their hands.” – Danielle McCoy, Pacific Sun

When you begin advertising in a print magazine, you’re taking advantage of that desire in order to reach new potential customers.

Know Your Goal

Advertising will always be less effective without a goal. Before you spend another dollar on advertising, whether print, radio, or online, know what you want the result to be. When you know this, like getting X number of new leads, you can better focus on how to format your ad.

The lifestyle in Marin is closely linked to local businesses, and many companies are built on referrals. Therefore, the print ads that meet the owner’s goals are those that create a personal connection.

Danielle explains that effective print ads are those that emphasize the personal connection, share a minimal amount of information, and have a purpose. This means finessing the frequency and the message to fulfill your specific goal.

Include the Right Information

Print advertising offers very little space to share your company’s message, which means you need to be concise. Brian shared a success story with us about finding the right material for an ad: an insurance business was buying generic ads for a few years, and while they were seeing a return, it was low.

Then, they ran an ad with the owner’s picture and a short message. Their call-to-action was simple, and they immediately began seeing an improvement. The owner was recognized on the street, and was once told, “I need to call you!”

This is the value of local print advertising. While Facebook has targeting and it certainly has its place, print advertising still has an advantage. If your town has a local paper or magazine that every local reads, that is where you want to spend part of your advertising budget on.


Work with an Experienced Marketing Agency

We know that resources can be tight as a small business, which is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced team. When advertising your small business, the most important asset you have is your agency’s media buyer, who will know the best way to negotiate your rates with the sales rep.

When you work with an experienced media buyer, they will know how to get the best placement and rate possible within your budget, and how to format a successful print ad. This, in addition to a quality account manager, ensures you will maximize your investment.

If we could offer a final piece of advice for advertising your small business, we would echo Brian’s insight: “It’s all about people.” A great print ad isn’t what you want to see, it’s what they want to see. In order to gain customers, you need to share information relevant to their lifestyle.

“It’s all about people.” – Brian Barrett, North Bay Business Magazine

If you’d like to see how local print advertising and an experienced media buyer can help your small business, give us a call at (415) 640-8009.

Marc Apple

Marc Apple

Digital Strategist

I like inbound marketing strategy, creative design, website development, analytics, and organic and paid search. That's what I write about.