Choosing the Right Newspaper to Advertise Your Retail Store

Where To Run Your Ad

Newspaper ads

If your store is in a highly populated area, chances are the metropolitan newspapers in your area will be expensive. This is the same for national and regional newspapers. The readership and circulation of these publications will be huge. It's also likely that your advertisement will be lost in the sea of retail ads. If you go with any of these types of newspapers, try to be included in any Special Sections relating to your topic.

Your business will benefit far more than if your ad winds up on section D, page 32.

A local newspaper will have a smaller circulation than the regional one, but it may target your market better. It is also generally cheaper to place a newspaper ad in the local paper. Other types of newspapers include college newspapers, trade papers, specialty newspapers focusing on a topic, and weekly shoppers. In many markets, the major newspaper does smaller "regional" versions that are much more cost effective and targeted to your store's geography. For example, Dallas Morning News does a version for the smaller towns surrounding it. 

Circulation and ad rates will vary widely with each type of publication. So will effectiveness.

Much of determining which newspaper gives the best results will be trial and error. The best marketing plan for your retail business may be a mix of newspapers and other media.

Browse through some local publications and pay attention to the ads they feature. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is your competition in that newspaper?
  • Are there similar businesses to yours advertising there?
  • Does the publication place ads in relevant locations?
  • What's the quality of the paper?

Before placing your first newspaper ad, think long and hard about what you want to say to your customer and how the customer will find your ad.

One way to find out what your customers are reading is to ask them. Either verbally or through a marketing survey, your job as a retailer is to know what media influences your customer's buying decisions. Once you know what they read, you will know where to advertise. These surveys are easy to do as well. Simply ask you customers when the check out, "what newspaper do you read?" But make sure you go one step further and ask "what section of the newspaper do you read?" Being in the right section is critical. Remember, you are competing with online ads as well. 

The key to great retail newspaper advertising is the headline. You must grab the customer's attention amidst a dizzying array of other ads vying for their attention. A strong headline at least gets the customer to notice you. They may not respond, but at least you get consideration - which builds brand awareness. Think of it this way, you may not get a sale out of it, but at least the customer knows your store's name. Here is a great article on writing effective newspaper copy. 

One other strategy is to use "remnant" space for ads. In this strategy, you create a brand ad and give it to the newspaper. They then use it when they have space to fill.

This is referred to as remnant space. While these ads are banding only since they cannot be time sensitive with a sale, they do build an awareness for your store at a greatly reduced price. Three remnant ads could sot the same as one display ad.