20 December 2023

Should You Spend Money on Newspaper Ads?

By Ronald Smith

When you have a small business, figuring out the best way to spend your advertising budget can be really tricky. You want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Just putting ads out there randomly isn’t going to cut it. If you’re not reaching the right people, it’s like tossing your money into the air for no reason.

Should You Spend Money on Newspaper Ads?

When it comes to advertising, ad sellers will try to convince you that their print venues are the best choice. But how can you determine where to spend your money wisely? And is it really worth it to advertise in your local newspaper?

The answer is: it depends on what you’re selling and how you define your ‘local’ newspaper.

Sundays Used to Be the Best Time to Advertise

Remember when Sunday mornings used to be bustling with newspaper advertising? Those ad inserts were like hints about what you’d be buying that week. Big stores that offered great discounts knew that the captive audience of Sunday morning newspaper readers was the perfect target. Even if you weren’t planning to buy a new door or porch railing, you still knew where to go and what it would cost, thanks to stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menard’s keeping you informed.

So, here’s the thing. When those ads and coupons were put together in one place, it created a really big marketing push. It became this whole thing tied to the ritual of using coupons. You know, like when you want to save some money on margarine or frozen fish dinners? People were already cutting out coupons, so they might as well save some cash on that sweet Sears promo for a shiny gas grill.

What I’m saying is, businesses of all sizes could count on people having certain habits. Even if a small business couldn’t afford a big fancy ad insert, they could still benefit just from being part of the party.

So, here’s the deal: small businesses that sell stuff to regular folks like you and me (instead of selling to other businesses) used to have loads of options when it came to advertising in newspapers. For example, a restaurant in the theater district could attract customers by putting out a coupon in the entertainment section. And a travel agency could get more bookings by placing an ad in the travel section. Even classified ads were a great way for small businesses, like home improvement services, to get attention.

Changes in Media and Advertising to Consumers

But things have changed. Not as many people are reading newspapers these days, which means fewer people are seeing the ads. And, let’s be honest, with all the information overload we’re facing, it’s pretty hard to even notice an ad, let alone cut it out and use it. If you flip through the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune, you’ll still find those advertising inserts for groceries and cleaning products, but the whole print-marketing thing just isn’t as effective as it used to be. Things have changed, my friend.

You know what’s fading away? The importance of small businesses being able to advertise in newspapers. It used to be a guaranteed way to get customers, but not anymore.

Small businesses, especially the ones that cater to regular people like you and me, have found other ways to advertise. They’re spending their money on things like daily deal coupons, services that can tell you about deals near your location, and local news sources that focus on your neighborhood or town.

When it comes to small businesses, hyperlocal newspapers can bring in positive results. This is because these newspapers focus on publishing news and events that happen within the community. By being affiliated with these newspapers, your advertisement will catch the attention of local readers. These community newspapers are usually around eight to forty pages in size, similar to a tabloid. Within these pages, a portion is dedicated to local advertising, which is usually more affordable. The reason for this is that these smaller publications don’t have the same expenses as larger city newspapers. It’s interesting to note that while larger newspapers are facing challenges, small community newspapers are actually growing.

In a recent study carried out by Street Fight, a company that specializes in local content and commerce, they conducted research with a group of small businesses. And you know what they found? Small businesses are shifting their advertising efforts towards hyperlocal opportunities to connect with customers and boost their business. It’s because these opportunities perfectly cater to their needs.

Should You Spend Money on Newspaper Ads?

I wanted to share some interesting insights I learned from Street Fighting. Check it out:

1. So, you know what’s really important to local merchants? Attracting new customers. Yep, that’s their top priority, even more than making direct money right away from a campaign.

2. But here’s the thing, they really appreciate the transparency that digital options provide. Before, they mostly relied on print platforms, but now they like being able to see everything clearly and make informed choices.

3. Believe it or not, some local merchants are putting all their eggs in the hyperlocal basket. They’re investing their entire budgets in hyperlocal advertising and they plan to keep doing it.

4. Now, here’s an interesting tidbit. Local merchants are big fans of anything that’s free or doesn’t require upfront costs. It’s not too surprising, right? So even though daily deal services might not always bring consistent results, they still give it a shot because of the promise of no costs upfront.

5. Oh, and guess what they think about hyperlocal sites? They see them as a natural progression from their traditional print marketing efforts. It’s like the next step in their marketing journey.

Did you know that local online advertising in the U.S. is expected to grow by 8% to 18% every year? It’s true, according to a report by EMarketer. This means that if your local newspaper has its own website, it could be a great place to advertise!

Now, you might be wondering:

Is it worth it to advertise in my local newspaper? Well, for a lot of small businesses that target consumers, the answer is a resounding yes! But here’s the trick: when we talk about the local newspaper, we’re not referring to the big-city papers. Instead, we’re talking about the ones that cater to the local community or the suburbs. These are the ones where your target audience is concentrated, the ad rates are lower, and the staff is more motivated to give your marketing message that personal touch. Of course, it’s also worth considering other online alternatives for hyperlocal advertising.