Women, Spirit & Money: WNC Women’s Businesses Can Take Center Stage with the Right Niche Advertising
By Sherri L. McLendon
With entrepreneurialism on the rise in western North Carolina, feminine business leaders are stepping into their power, and they’re ready for their message and mission to take center stage. And I’ve found a lot of dynamic movers and shakers overlook the efficacy of magazine advertising when planning to grow their business. I hear things from clients like, “it’s too expensive,” “it doesn’t work for my business,” and “I just want referrals.”
In their minds, theirs is a decision not to waste money. After all, everyone agrees print is dead, right?
When it comes to magazines – which grew as an industry with 13.5 million new readers in 2012 – with the right match it becomes possible to grow your uniquely feminine business over time. In western North Carolina alone, there are more than 14 quality print publications, including magazines, each with its specific niche in this market. Based on my own experience with various magazines – on both sides of the desk over a period of more than two decades – I believe ‘books’ are alive and well. Take a look; then decide if a second look is warranted.
1. Image is everything.
People do business with others they know, like and trust, right? Did you know your advertisement in a magazine increases the elusive trust factor of your business’ brand 47% of the time? Respondents to an April 2012 Nielsen Global Trust advertising survey said so.
The full color advertisements in magazines often provide a more favorable impression of your company, leaving the reader with a good idea about who you are and what you offer. In other words, they come to like you and feel they know you. Of 74 studies reviewed by Marketing Evolution in 2011, imagery influenced magazine readers 91% of the time and increased familiarity 81% of the time. Plus, magazine ads influenced the much-desired intent-to-purchase in 81% of readers. Want to know how effective an advertisement is in generating revenues? Simply ask new leads how they heard about you; then use those figures when you look at the value of leads, clients, or transactions, and do the math.
A word of caution: if you’re trying to make an impression using image, make certain the size of your advertisement is appropriate to the size of the message. Shrinking a full-page ad into a quarter page space communicates lack, not success, and it’s hard to read. It’s better to create an entirely new advertisement to fit your budget, or budget for the advertising you’ve got.
2. Magazine ads encourage readers to take action.
Exposure to specific magazine advertisements encourages readers to make purchasing decisions, clearly form opinions, gather information about a product or service, make a recommendation or referral, visit a website, make a purchase, and a variety of other client and consumer activities, according to a range of 2011 marketing research.
When shared online, magazine articles trigger searches 36% of the time, a rate higher than face time and comparable to that of television advertising. These readers spend time and money online, where they make travel plans, access financial information, research large ticket items such as cars, search for real estate, and access lifestyle specific information.
Maybe that’s why 57% more brands advertized in magazines last year, taking advantage of print, tablet and online formats. That means it’s important to take a good look at which of your competitors are advertising, the messaging they’re using, and how you differentiate yourself from them in order to attract your ideal clients.
3. Advertising Content Keeps on Giving
Magazine content is often “evergreen,” in nature, or has built in longevity which outlives its shelf life. Readers tend to keep editions if the articles inside are of interest, and open the book again several months from the print date, exposing them again to advertisements. Anytime a magazine finds its way into a public space or community area, such as an Asheville coffee shop or a physician’s lobby, the pass-along rate is assumed to be three readers per magazine, again increasing advertiser exposure.
The increased exposure of readers to advertisers is known to increase the return on investment for brands and businesses across the board. In a joint A-B control test over the 2011 year, Meredith Corporation and Nielsen Company found that households exposed to magazine advertisements spent significantly more than those households not exposed – as much as three to 36% more. In fact, the incremental value for every media dollar spent was $1.69 to $19.99 for all brands tested. In other words, all brands tested more than doubled their return on investment over the course of a year. Not bad if you’re trying to increase income.
If you know you need advertising to grow your business, and are worried about the expense, there are ways to reduce costs. First, purchase a size smaller than a full page. Second, maximize exposure by advertising over time. Fluency is key to advertising that works. Third, plan in advance so you can negotiate a better rate one to six months out. Fourth, ask if there are any discounts, bonuses, or premiums if you purchase over time. And last but not least, be certain to research readership and distribution. A good advertising representative should be able to answer these questions, and suggest the types of advertising approaches and conventions which perform consistently in their niche.
4. Reaching Your “Average” Reader
Magazine readers are loyal, consistent audience, unlike newspapers, which see more marked seasonal dips in advertising placement. According to the Publisher’s Information Bureau, 92% of Americans read magazines, including Gen X and Millenials, both of which read more magazines than Baby Boomers. Today, the average reader spends 41 minutes with each issue, and is exposed to each page approximately 1.7 times. The problem is not all magazine audiences are created equally. How do you know which way to go?
The key to making the most of your “average” reader is to make certain the magazine’s niche matches your own. A good first step is to check out the advertising media kit, which is often available online. Look at magazines which target your specific demographic by gender, age group, and buying decisions. WNC Woman, for example, offers a readership base of approximately 35,000, made up of 97% female who influence 80% of buying decisions in their homes, with a diverse range of ages and socioeconomic and educational indicators which generally mirrors the western North Carolina population. Add more specificity to your requirements, such as regional saturation, and you’ll know if the magazine you’re considering is a good partner for the change you want to see in your world.
* WNC Woman Magazine’s editorial and advertising staff members did not contribute to this column. The opinions reflected here are solely those of the writer.
Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., owns and operates Professional Moneta International, specializing in mindfulness approaches to marketing public relations and feminine leadership. As a coach and consultant, she helps exceptional individuals with a higher calling accelerate their money-making communication strategies and deepen their business practices so they can help more people, grow personally and professionally, and improve their sense of value and worth.