Advertising in wedding magazines – Part 2

In part 1 we looked at the reasons for advertising in wedding magazines. Now you have decided to go ahead, in part 2 we take you through the steps involved in planning your print advertising campaign.

We’ll discuss selecting which magazines, choosing between one-off adverts or booking a series and negotiating with the publishers.

Choosing which publications

As part of your preparation, you will have looked at lots of magazines so, by this stage, you should have narrowed down your choice to a few you believe will suit your product, location and target customer.  You should also have decided the total budget you are going to allocate to your campaign.

Chances are your budget won’t let you advertise in all your possible options, so you will need select the ones you think are most likely to succeed.

It’s a good idea to advertise in at least 2 publications so you can compare performance. So much marketing is about trying something, measuring the results and then tweaking. If you only advertise in one magazine and you don’t get the results you hoped for, it will take much longer to learn what works for you.

For example: I decided to test 2 publications which were new to us. We put the exact same advert in each – one performed well, the other badly. We changed the copy on the poorly performing ad with no effect, so it was simple to conclude that the particular publication wouldn’t work for us and drop it from our plans.

Compare circulation figures with advertising rates – often the best selling magazines are no more expensive and you will reach a lot more customers. On the down side, you will probably have a lot more competition in the advertising pages.

Frequency

I like to plan 12 months worth of advertising at a time and will usually book a series of adverts covering 6 – 12 months. This might be 6 x bi-monthly adverts in a best selling magazine, 12 x monthly adverts in another popular publication and 1 x advert in a regional magazine.

The long time between booking an advert and publication mean that, if you wait to see the results before booking another ad, 6 months may have passed between adverts. Also the seasonal nature of weddings makes monitoring over a 12 month period much more meaningful.

If you are serious about using print advertising as part of your marketing strategy, then book a series in each of your chosen publications (you will get better rates). If you want to carry out an initial test with the intention of expanding your print advertising if results look promising, (and you don’t mind waiting 6-12 months for the results) then book 2 or 3 one-off adverts.

You may want to hold back a part of your budget for one-off opportunities – for example if the magazine is running a feature specific to your product or service. When you are talking to magazines, make sure you let them know you are interested in this type of promotion.

Negotiating

Don’t accept the first price you are quoted – advertising departments work to a “Rate Card” but you can always negotiate. Always ask for a discount – you may be surprised. You should certainly get a discount if you book a series of adverts.

And it’s not just price which is negotiable – you can negotiate a good position on the page (top right is generally considered best) and always ask about editorial coverage.

Remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t get, and as long as you stay friendly and professional, negotiating needn’t be stressful. If they say “no”, just smile and reply “oh well, worth asking”.

Next steps

Once you have booked your ad space, you need to design your advertisement. In the next instalment we will look at creating ads which work.

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