Five top tips to enhance your newspaper advertising

Steve TraskBy Steve Trask in Marketing

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 1970s, where newspaper advertising is all the rage. Ok, so snarky jokes aside, advertising in a newspaper in 2017 still holds a lot of weight. But we’ll forgive you for thinking your local broadsheet has been consigned to the ‘olden days’.

National newspapers are seeing a average drop of 4.23% year on year for their circulation (the lowest being a 15.99%!), and local circulations is dropping too. For example ‘The News’ in Portsmouth saw their circulation drop to 19,797 in 2016 from 41,442 in 2011.

This, paired with increasing advertising costs for newspaper advertising space, requires it to work even harder than before to gain exposure for your estate agency, that’s why we’ve created five top tips to enhance your newspaper advertising.

Tip one: Keep it local

It’s easy to get ahead of yourself with grand ideas about a national marketing assault. And sure, we get it, you want to grow your agency and open loads of branches across the nation, sending Knight Frank running with their tails between their legs.

But you know what they say about Rome? Something about it not being built within a certain amount of time. Anyway, basically, what we’re saying is: your local market is where you will start to build your empire, so focus on that first.

Fortunately, the cost for advertising in your local paper is much cheaper than it is to feature in a national or regional one. Being in the local paper also means you’re hyper focused on where you patch is: the only people who will see your ads are the ones with a vested interest in the area’s property.

You’ll already know your market like the back of your hand, which will give you the tools to curate an advert that catches the attention of the people in your area – and get them to either sell their lovely property or move into one.

With local newspapers there are usually paid versions or free newspapers. Find out the price differences as you may find one is better than the other. Sometimes free newspapers are delivered through peoples doors so you know it is landing with a wide market spread, rather than relying on the target market that buy the newspaper.

Tip two: Focus on the details

Now look. We don’t doubt you really are the local market experts in your area with all the knowledge and insight. The problem is that your competitors are saying the exact same thing. They will also take out ad space, so it’s important that you don’t simply say you’re the local experts – show it.

Instead of running outdated straplines about your agency’s prestige or how many instructions you took on last month, give your audience something tangible, something with meat on the bone to get them thinking.

Try inserting a stat with some data around the property market in your area, along with your contact details. The data can be in the form of a chart which will provide a more visual element. Perhaps it has the average age of first-time buyers in the area, followed by your phone number.

Keep it nice and simple, yet place an emphasis on providing the right information that starts to put the idea in people’s minds that you know your stuff.

Tip three: Have structure

While we’re talking about keeping things simple, it’s important that your ad has a clear structure. You’re trying to promote your agency, and each piece of marketing is your chance to tell a story that coerces clients, no matter how short the copy is.

Map out exactly what you want to say before you put your ad together. Understand the journey you want to take your audience on and what you want them to take away from the ad.

Clearly you want them to make an enquiry, but most of the time people don’t make instant decisions. Your aim should be to get in their headspace. Plant the seeds with your advert.

Tip four: Do it yourself

It’s entirely possible the newspaper will offer to design the template for you. We advise erring on the side of caution when using the their own design services, though. Not because we don’t think they can’t design (ahem, they usually can’t); we just think you should be in control of the look and feel of your ad.

After all, you know your branding and your message better than anyone else does. If you’re really pushed for time, hire a freelance designer to do it for you, someone who is solely focused on creating an eye-pleasing piece of marketing material. It’s important you’re closely involved with the creation of your ad. Using a newspaper’s in-house service will take away a portion of your control. So don’t use them. Ever. Like, ever, ever.

Tip five: Pick a day, (not) any day

Newspapers usually have days dedicated to certain trades. Now, how you approach this is entirely up to you, with you either treading the line of ‘tried and tested’, or dipping your toes in the water of uncertainty. Maybe you’ll try both?

Wednesday might be food services day, Monday might be… well, no one likes Mondays, so they probably leave that one blank, to think of the weekend that was. Anyway, find out when your paper focuses on property and decide whether you want to advertise on that day, or if your want to go for one of the other days, hoping to capitalise on the fact you’re the only agency advertising on a non-property day.

Personally, we think it would be good if you can do both: an ad on a property day and an ad when competitors won’t be advertising – a kind of newspaper version of A/B testing. If budget is a concern, though, go for the day when property is featured. Make your ad stand out (charts. Use the charts!!) from the others so it catches people’s attention.

A better way to advertise

With these tips, we think you stand a much better chance of maximising your newspaper advertising space, turning a fairly old marketing method into something fresh that can get serious results. Keep an eye out for the next newspaper tips where we will be covering social proof and profiles. And if you’re worried you might miss out, sign up to our newsletter below.

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