How To Sell Traditional Media to Print Haters
How to Sell Print Advertising
In the current digital age, it can be difficult to sell print advertising effectively to magazines and newspapers. Many publications have switched to digital advertising, as digital advertising can be more cost effective and have more of an impact on consumers.But there is still a market for print ads. You can cater to this market to pitch and sell print ads effectively.
Improving Your Print Ad Offerings
Have eye-catching copy in headlines and subheads.The headlines in your advertisements should stop readers in their tracks and attract a lot of attention. They should also effectively summarize the selling message and stimulate interest in the proposal embedded in the ad. Headlines, also known as taglines, usually appear in large, bold font and are best when they are short and snappy.
- The subheads should then elaborate on the headline. You should have print ad examples that have strong headlines and subheads. This will show potential clients that you have copywriters who can come up with snappy, sales-oriented copy.
- In industry terms, an ad has about 10 seconds to jump off the page and make an impact on readers. This means the headline or tagline needs to be catchy and bold enough to attract attention. Often, current print ads will contain a short, one to five word tagline that is reinforced by a strong illustration or image. The brand’s logo may also be featured prominently on the print ad so the consumer knows exactly who is selling the product.
Offer custom illustrations and images.In print advertising, strong illustrations and images can really help to get a reader to pay attention to the ad. The illustrations should work with the headline, or tagline, to reinforce the ad’s theme and promote the company or brand effectively. Offering custom illustrations, whether through an in house graphic designer or a designer your ad agency uses on a client by client basis, can help your agency seem more appealing to potential customers.
- For example, a recent print ad for the Swedish company IKEA featured the tagline: “Tidy up.” The tagline appeared underneath a bold and colorful graphic of different colored socks that took up most of the ad space. This simple tagline, paired with an engaging graphic, works effectively to catch a reader’s eye.
Provide a variety of ad styles.To appeal to a larger customer base, you should try to offer ads in a variety of styles. This could mean graphic heavy ads with a large graphic and a simple tagline or ads with more text and less illustration. You may also use different color schemes in several different ads to show that you can provide a variety of design styles. This will show clients that you can be flexible and provide an ad style that fits their brand.
- You may also want to offer a complete ad campaign, where you create a series of print ads for the same company to sell similar products. Some ad agencies will use the same illustration style and the same font for an ad campaign so the ads all feel related but slightly different in some way.
Make your ads appealing to a certain demographic or market.If you are looking to home in on a particular client market, you may want to create sample ads that appeal to a certain demographic or market. You may create sample ads with a younger demographic in mind to attract clients who are selling products to a younger demographic. Or, you may focus on the over-50 market to try to attract clients who are selling products made for older adults. Focusing on a specific demographic or market can help you get the attention of clients and build client relationships with brands you want to work with.
Pitching the Print Ads Effectively
Consider pitching digital ads first.In our current age, it can be difficult to make print ads appealing to companies, especially when digital ads can be more widely distributed and tracked through online clicks. One option is to pitch digital ads to clients first, or a digital version of a print ad. This shows clients that you are aware of the power of the internet in terms of marketing and can offer a digital option as well as a print option. You can also pitch a bundle of digital and print together, where you offer to create a digital ad and a print ad to double the ad’s circulation.
- Many small to mid-sized companies are intimidated or overwhelmed by digital advertising. Offering them a digital option in addition to the print option can make you seem like the hero during the pitch and allow you to guide them through the ins and outs of digital marketing.
- Digital ads are also useful because the response to them can be tracked. You can then sit down with the client and compare the digital ad numbers with the print ad numbers to get an overall picture of how effective the advertising is for the company.
Do an account survey to get a better sense of the needs of your clients.An account survey can be done before you meet the client in person, over the phone, or during the client meeting. The survey will help you get a better sense of the needs of your client and their expectations around the print ad. The survey should answer the following questions:
- What kinds of promotions have you used in the past and where they successful? Why or why not?
- What areas of your business have grown or developed within the past year to two years? How did these areas grow?
- What are your expectations for the advertisement? How can the advertisement fulfill a business need for your company?
- A sample account survey can be found online.
Show off a copy of the print ads in a newspaper or a magazine.If you are pitching the print advertising in person, you should bring a copy of sample ads in a newspaper or magazine format. This will allow you to show the customer exactly how the ads looked in a print setting. If you are pitching over the phone, you may want to email the customer several sample ads to help them visualize how their ads may appear in print.
- Try to select example ads that may be close to what the client is looking for. If a client would like to appeal to a younger demographic with a large visual impact and a bold tagline, look for sample ads that contain these elements.
Point out how the print ads will increase sales and build interest in consumer.You may use market research information as a way to show how print ads can increase sales for the client. The publication you work for may have market-specific information available based on surveys done with previous clients. Your ad agency may also have access to survey information that can be used to indicate how effective print ads can be to generate sales. Use this data to encourage the client to consider how print advertising can work for them.
Present the client with layout options and color overlays.You should provide physical examples of layout options for the ads as well as color overlay options. If you are pitching to the customer over the phone, you should email the client a sample ad package that contains these elements. Showing the client these options will allow them to better visualize the ad and persuade them to seriously consider investing in print advertising for their company or business.
- Providing these options can also allow the client to determine what they like and what they do not like in terms of the look of their ad. You may want to also show the same sample ad with two different color overlays or two different layout options. This will give the client the ability to see what the same ad looks like in two different styles.
Discuss testimonials from other businesses and publications with the client.Try to get written testimonials from current clients or previous accounts and use them as selling points. Look for short phrases or blurbs from current clients that highlight the effectiveness of the ads and how it increased sales for the client. You can then show these to the client to reinforce the value of print advertising and your agency’s success record.
- You may also want to mention a current ad campaign created by your agency that is doing well, especially if it is well known. This can help to keep your client engaged in the pitch and remind the client that your agency has done effective work in the past.
Provide copy-writing advice, if needed.Most clients who require advertising do not have a strong background in writing advertising copy. You should note that your agency has an in-adhouse copy-writing team or a reliable copywriter contracted out by your agency on an as needed basis. You may provide example copy written by your team for other companies so the client can get a sense of the writing style of your copy-writing staff.
End the pitch on a positive note.Closing a sale can be the trickiest part of a pitch. You want to end the pitch with a call to action that feels positive for the client. Do this by making it clear you want to help the client improve their sales. Maintain eye contact and a sincere, genuine tone of voice. Make several well informed recommendations for their ad and then ask them directly if they would be willing to invest in effective print advertising for their company.
- It can be helpful to practice closing a sale as part of your agency’s training to get a better sense of how to do this effectively. However, closing a sale with a real client in a real pitch is one of the best ways to get better at doing it.
- Often, closing a sale is more successful if the salesperson works up to the close from the very beginning of the pitch. Try to have the close in mind as soon as you meet the client or talk to them over the phone. Set a positive, open tone for the pitch, as this will increase your chances of successfully closing the sale and selling the print advertising to the client.
How do I sell print ads via a bid process?
Video: Print Advertising Techniques and Examples
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