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Contractor Tips for Successful Newspaper Advertising, part 1

While newspaper advertising has taken a beating over the last few years, there are still some decent results being seen by contractors who pick their spots and market themselves locally. Sure, a full-page ad in the New York Times has gone from 80k to 50k, but I still don’t think most of you reading this are dropping that kind of coin into the advertising fountain, and if you are, I sure hope you are getting the return you need to make that viable!

The only way to be successful advertising in the newspaper-repetition!

The golden rule of newspaper advertising – Repetition! If it takes the average consumer 7-15 exposures to and ad before they remember it, then you need to have a newspaper campaign running everyday for AT LEAST a month before you can really gain any meaningful results. You are certainly not going to do that in the New York Times.

It’s all coming back to local marketing

One hundred years ago everyone did business locally; with their neighbors and the other people in their community. Fruit stand guys sold to carpenters who did work for shop owners and so on. The world outside your door was all you needed. Then big business told us that the only way to compete was to think globally, and huge conglomerates like Dial and ITT ruled the world. And then the internet was born which truly stripping away the barriers to commerce and trade. But you know what? Small is the new big. Local is the new global and many businesses realize that working around the corner is just as good if not better than working around the world.

But contractors always knew that

Face it, most contractors work within a 15 mile radius of their homes or shops. And that means you need to market your company locally, in your local newspapers. If you take a look around, there are far more newspapers in your area than you might think. In my area, there are 10 papers or circulars to advertise in, and many are very reasonably priced. As I have said before, it doesn’t matter how much any advertising costs, it has to provide a return on the investment, which is why you need to make sure you are putting the best ads forward regardless of the cost.

Contractor tips for local newspaper ads

  • Use coupons giving a dollar amount off, not a percentage. People hate doing the math!
  • Don’t let the newspaper people have total control of your ad design. You may not be an artist, but you KNOW how you want your company portrayed to the market.
  • Make sure you have 1st class graphics since this will be the only visual distinction you can provide the reader about your business.
  • Buy the biggest ad you can afford, full-page being the best. It may be expensive, but it will pull the best by far.
  • Go with color if you can afford it. Given a choice, consumers pick color ads over black 82% of the time.
  • Ask the paper if they have specific days that more of your type of buyer reads their paper. For example, guys usually read the sports sections on and women usually check out the entertainment sections on Fridays.
  • If you have a hit ad on your hands, make it into a circular or door-hanger to extend the life of the offer.
  • Don’t change your ad because you are getting tired of looking at. I can’t tell you how many times a contractor has asked me to change an ad simply because they were tired of looking at.

And finally, before you advertise in any paper make sure you get a media kit from the publisher. It will be chock full of demographic information as well as their reach and distribution, information you need to know BEFORE you spend your hard-earned dollars! Tomorrow I am going to give you some tips on successful newspaper advertising for contractors so make sure you stay tuned!

One response to “Contractor Tips for Successful Newspaper Advertising, part 1”

  1. Gabriel Hernandez Avatar
    Gabriel Hernandez

    Hello Darren,
    It is amazing how many little circulars are out there. But I do not agree with the coupon with a fixed $ for contractors because it can be or too much or too little… I guess if you put a minimum on it, it would be OK. I didn’t realize that people didn’t like the math. I know people would call anything with Free in it. Even if it’s your time.