key points covered on this page: marketing principles, advert design, internet advertising.

Placing an advert in your local paper, trade magazine or even on a web page can be a journey into the unknown.

‘Am I getting the best deal, will anyone reply to the advert, how long should I advertise for?’

If I could answer that lot I’d probably be writing this section from a beach in the Bahamas. But here are some tips to help you get the best out of your advertising campaign.

Tip. Most of the paper and magazines sales reps work on a wage plus commission basis. The commission is based on sales per person, per group, per month. So there are times during the month (or week) when they are desperate to fill space.

Call the title you want to advertise in, select where you want to advertise and get the standard tariff price for your advert. Let’s say it’s £750 for three weeks. Do not take this price but let the rep known you’re ready to go when the price is reduced. You will get the call and some amazing discounts could be coming your way! I’d expect to pay no more than £250 for this example.

Also see: Google SEO

Buying advert space is all about holding your nerve and having your design ready to send but there is an issue here.

Example of a paper print advert

Example of a paper print advert using white space focus


Advert design.
Unless a paper or magazine is part of a group (using the same page formats) no two advert design specifications will be the same. Therefore you need to be ready with a set of advert designs that can be quickly changed to fit in the available slot.

TIP. Try not to use the magazine or paper designers. They do not know you or your business. Mistakes can be made ending up with refunds or legal arguments.

I worked with an Audiologist who played the ad game with several local papers. I created six adverts with a mix of designs: long, tall, small, large, black and white and colour. I archived them and waited for instruction. I’d usually get 24 hours notice to edit the nearest design to the paper’s specification then email over the final design as a PDF. The original set of designs only took about 2 hours to put together and the edits just a few minutes. Make sure you have an hourly rate agreement with your designer when requesting this service but you will benefit long term with low cost adverts and the designer will love your reordering.

Example of a PPC advert on Google

Example of a PPC advert on Google


Internet advertising.
You may be able to use the same trick with internet banner adverts but it’s unlikely.

Banner advertising on the internet has been standardised so there are few size issues. File types are also predefined (jpg, png, gif). Most advertising space is found on directories. The smaller directories will just ask for a fee based on where the banner appears and for how long.

Larger, more sophisticated banner advert websites base charges on ‘click thru’, an agreed payment every time the banner is clicked on and the browser is referred to your web page. This Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is very popular on the internet and used by all the top directories. You can normally cap your daily or weekly PPC payments and in some cases bid more money per click thru to increase profile, a bit like a Dutch auction. Google uses this method on its Adwords advertising.

TIP: Banner adverts are best created by your web designer as they will understand the constraints of web banner design, file types, size limitations and industry standard banner sizes.

TIP. With web or print advertising consider the other design elements around your advert. Use rounded corners if using a frame – they stand our more. Use white space within your advert to attract the eye.