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How to Sell Magazine Advertisements

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Women reading magazine together on sofa
Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images
On the surface, selling magazine advertisements wouldn't seem much different than selling newspaper ads. While both may be forms of print media, selling magazine ads may actually be more similar to selling TV advertisements for a couple of key reasons.

Magazine Advertisements Allow Companies to Focus on Their Image

As with television, magazine advertisements focus on the visual presentation. The photo, the colors used, the font type selected -- those choices make a huge difference in the unwritten message a magazine ad sends to readers.

Need proof about how provocative a magazine image can be? Consider all the heat magazine publishers take for the stylistic and ethical choices they make when they choose to manipulate an image. A magazine advertising campaign has that same power to persuade people to buy products.

That fact can be sold to a client as an advantage over other media. A newspaper ad doesn't have the same visual impact -- it's not as glossy, and is often on a page with other ads or news stories which compete for the readers' eyes. Television has impact, but the visuals are gone in a fleeting second, which doesn't hold attention like a magazine ad can.

Magazine Advertisements Appear Before a Captive Audience

A magazine reader will likely flip through every page of an issue, as opposed to a newspaper reader who might toss aside entire sections. That means a magazine ad has the chance to be seen by every person who subscribes to a magazine or picks up an issue at the newsstand.

The key is to create an advertisement that will get the reader to stop and read the words. Try to provide your potential client with an ad designer who excels at print media as opposed to online. When you consider the vast differences between print and online ads, you'll realize why this is an important step if you want the ad campaign to be a success.

One trick is to offer a coupon, like a newspaper ad. While it may take away some space, a reader is likely to stop to see whether the coupon is for something needed or desired. Even if the coupon isn't clipped, you helped the client get the reader to stop before flipping past the ad.

Magazine Advertisements Hit a Target Audience

One of the biggest benefits of magazine advertisements is that it's easy for them to appear before a target audience. While a newspaper reaches a broad spectrum of people, a magazine is deigned for people who have shared interests or values.

It is critical that you have demographic information that you can show a potential ad buyer. For instance, while Good Housekeeping and Vogue are two magazines geared toward women, their audiences are still different. Know the average age and income of your readers, plus their typical interests beyond the magazine.

To be successful, you have to know your magazine's brand. The decisions that are made in your board room about how to position your publication against competitors on the newsstand provide the understanding you need in the sales department. Meet with your editorial staff to get ideas on which advertisers will be best to target, especially if your magazine is in transition to appeal to a more desired group of people.

Magazine Advertisements Have a Longer Shelf Life

Today's newspaper ad is at the bottom of a birdcage by tomorrow. A Sunday newspaper advertisement might miss the Monday-through-Friday readers. But a magazine ad can have value for the length of a current issue -- a week, a month, even longer.

So you can tell a prospective advertiser if sales don't skyrocket the moment the issue containing her ad is released, there's no need to worry. People will be exposed to the advertisement with each passing day.

Magazine advertisements can be one of the most effective ways to reach customers. As an ad sales expert, demonstrate that to potential clients to boost their bottom line and yours.

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