Ten Tips for Improving your Return On Investment of your newspaper advertising

1. Have a goal/plan: Yogi Berra once said that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. Knowing what you want to accomplish may be half the battle in creating good advertising.

2. See your advertising from the customer perspective: Sometimes we are too close to our business to understand how customers see our offerings. Are we making the point they want us to make? Do they understand our language?

3. Include benefits, not features in your advertising: What is in it for me? Only $499.99 is not as meaningful as save $50.

4. Sweat the details: Hours, locations, credit cards, are little things we too often take for granted. Did we describe things right, include a picture, all the details make an ad effective.

5. Time your ad properly: When do you want action to be taken as a result of your ad? When do people in your market get paid? When do your customers read the paper? When do people most likely want you to be advertising?

6. Balance frequency with your budget: Very few people are in the market for your goods and services at any particular moment in time. The more often and wider you cast your net, balanced against fishing where the fish are and your budget, the better off you are.

7. Be consistent: Remember that you will get tired of your advertising way sooner than your customers will. Try to be consistent with your sizes, your templates, your type style, your format, the day you run and your brand. By doing so, people will see your ads as even more effective.

8. Be strategic with your ads: If readers eyes move from top to bottom and left to right, consider that flow and what you place in every segment of your ad to optimize effectiveness.

9. Consider the use of attention getters: Creative use of white space, illustration/art, color all tend to draw attention to your ad. Remember that readers make the decision to read your ad very quickly. Often in a second or two. What will make them stop and read your ad?

10. Track what works for you: The more you measure results of your ads the more likely you are to repeat successfully what has worked for you in the past. Measure sales, measure coupons, measure image, but try to do more than anecdotally get a gut feel for how your ads are working.