News article

How to create an outstanding magazine advert (and get people onto your website)

Before joining The Yardstick Agency, I spent six years working in magazine publishing. I can safely say that I’ve seen my fair share of magazine adverts; some were exceptional, making me stop and admire their creativity, and others… well, they would make me stop for all the wrong reasons and wonder how they ever made it to print. *Shudders*

Although advertising in magazines may not be a financial first port of call when promoting your firm, it’s not one to be overlooked.

If you needed convincing, here are a few benefits of magazine advertising:

  • Magazines are kept for a lengthy period and one issue can fall into many different hands – think of how many times you’ve flicked through a magazine whilst waiting at your doctor’s surgery or the hairdresser.
  • With a shift towards digital, magazine advertising has had to adapt. Print magazines and now easily accessible on digital channels such as Readly and Issuu which further their reach.
  • Local magazines in particular are a great tool for awareness in your particular area of the country.
  • Magazine readers are a loyal bunch and if you pick the right one to advertise in, you’ll reap the rewards.

Before coming to us to work on the design and copy, you must decide which magazine you’d like your advert to appear in and negotiate your space.

This isn’t a rash decision to make.

Spend time looking at the magazine’s demographic and circulation, then look at the outcome you’d like to achieve and whether it’s the right fit.

So, once you’ve decided where you want to promote your firm, we can create an advert that will make people stop the page for all the right reasons! However, here are seven things to consider…

1. The two Ps: Placement and positioning

One of the first things you need to know before you hand over the reins to us is where your advert will be placed in the magazine. Is it in the front half, towards the back, or have you splashed out for an inside or outside back cover? You must also know whether it is on a left or right-hand page.

Why does all this matter?

Positioning is everything and where the advert is placed can determine the content and overall design.

The golden rule is that the right hand is preferred to the left. When you’re flicking through, your eyes naturally look at the right-hand side of the right page. If you’ve got a right-pager, we will position the content so that the most eye-catching elements are in this area.

2. Images over words

The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” could not be truer.

When people are flicking through, the images make them stop and look at a page. The image draws people in, but the copy makes them stay and want to find out more about the services you offer.

On the whole, one image works better than lots of small ones, so you need to consider who you are targeting and what image they want to see.

If your advert is about retirement planning, then a picture of a happy family will work much better than a corporate city landscape.

3. Every word needs to work

Your website is where you will have oodles of information about the services you offer and the benefits you provide. Your advert is how you get them onto your website.

That means your headline needs to work wonders and explain precisely what it is you offer. You only have seconds to convert your reader, so no pressure!

The best way to think about it is to pretend that the reader has never come across your firm before and has no clue about the services you provide. Much like the homepage on your website, your advert needs to explain what you do, who you are and who you do it for.

Don’t worry if you’re not a wordsmith, the team at The Yardstick Agency will take care of everything.

4. Test, test, test.

Let’s go back to readers being loyal. Typically, they will be picking up the magazine every month.

Let’s say you have a contract for six months. If you use the same advert for all six issues, the reader will become overly familiar with it, and the one thing you want to avoid will happen: they become blind to your advert.

It’s an easy problem to fix.

Have more than one advert produced and you can swap and change, tailoring them to your specific services or a more generic advert promoting your firm as a whole.

There’s one rule though…

5. Make your adverts measurable

If you’re testing different adverts, or even if you have just one, you will want to know how they are performing. I’m going to suggest two options here: QR codes and a unique landing page.

QR codes in magazines are a relatively new concept. When readers scan the code using their mobile phone, it will take them to a specific webpage. This works rather nicely if you’ve got a new website you’d like to proudly show off. Best of all, anyone can generate a QR code.

The benefits for you? You can track how many people have scanned your QR code from the day the magazine goes onto the newsstands.

If you need help determining if QR codes are for you, it’s always worth a test.

If you don’t want to go down this route, you could create a custom landing page which will take people through to a unique page that has been created just for the readers, rather than pointing them to your standard homepage.

Just like how you would monitor the views of your website pages, you can keep an eye on how the advert is performing on and off sale.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should keep the URL short and memorable.

6. Seeing is better than telling

Whenever I’m putting together a new website for a client, I will include social proof in the form of client testimonials, videos, surveys or online reviews. And a magazine advert is no different.

Granted, you don’t have as much room to play with, but it’s vital to include some form of social proof in your advert.

It could be your favourite testimonial, a few stats from your latest client survey or showcasing your 5-star rating on Google Reviews or VouchedFor. Just make sure you get one form of social proof on the page. It could make all the difference.

7. Clear call to action

What do you want people to do once they read your advert? You want them to get in touch or visit your website to find out more about what you offer and the value you provide.

So, make it as easy as possible for them to do just that.

It may seem like I’m stating the obvious, but people can be a) lazy and b) incredibly busy. Adding your website URL, phone number, email address and location will remove a barrier between you and them.

Get in touch

That’s it! If you’re wanting to roll out your next magazine advert then the team at The Yardstick Agency can do all the hard work for you and put together an advert that will stop people in their tracks and take a second look.

Email or call 0115 8965 300 to find out more

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