Article Date: 12/1/2005

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How to Effectively Use Newspapers
You can break through the clutter
and get your message to readers.
BY SUSAN ABRAMOVITZ

Newspaper advertising rates vary widely from city to city, but if the newspaper in your area is well-read and reasonable, it could be an effective way to reach potential patients. Call the newspaper and ask that a sales representative visit you. Ask questions about the paper's readership to make sure that the readers' profile match the patients you are trying to attract. If there is a match, the newspaper rep will discuss the rates and content of your ad. Most papers will then design the ad and submit a proof for your approval prior to publication. Insist on a proof if they do not offer one.

Simple Guidelines

When considering a print ad, keep the following guidelines in mind for an effective ad.

Keep it simple.

Communicate just one point in your ad so the reader can understand quickly. Perhaps you want to publicize a trunk show or feature a special offer on contact lenses.

A powerful trio — graphic, headline and copy

Draw attention to your ad with an unusual graphic rather than a mundane one, such as a generic pair of spectacles. The headline should catch the readers' attention quickly and lead them into the copy, the words in your ad, which further explain your offer. Keep the copy simple with a few sentences or bullet points. You have just seconds to tell your story before the reader moves on.

The newspaper will create the headline and graphic and write the copy for you. Be specific with your newspaper rep for the best results and be sure to include all of the relevant information such as date, place, time, address, phone, Website, logo and expiration date if your ad includes an offer.

Use the white space

White space in a newspaper is an oasis for the eye and an ad that uses white space effectively will stand out on the page. Resist the temptation to fill every inch of your ad to get your "money's worth." The goal of your ad is to attract readers and white space will help you do that.

Buy several ads

Advertising works by repetition. Advertising works by repetition. When buying newspaper ads, place the ad several times in a short period so the reader sees the same message a few times. This is called frequency. Recognizing the value of frequency, newspapers usually offer discounts for running an ad more than once. Take advantage of these discounts if you can. If you can only afford to run one ad, you will probably be disappointed in the response.

Dare to be different

The purpose of your ad is to speak to your target market, not to your staff, peers or family, so don't be afraid to do something different. Use humor, an odd shape or an unusual graphic. If people who notice your ad congratulate you, you've broken through the advertising clutter. If your ad looks professional and conveys your message, chances are it is a good ad. OM

DR. SCOTT MANN OPERATES INVISION WITH TWO PARTNERS: DRS. BECKY COOK MANN AND JON GUDEMAN. THE OFFICES ARE LOCATED IN SALEM AND CHRISTIANSBURG, VA. DR. MANN WAS CHOSEN AS THE WINNER OF THE EXTREME PRACTICE MAKEOVER, SPONSORED BY HAAG-STREIT USA, IDEOPIA AND OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT.

MS. ABRAMOVITZ IS PRESIDENT OF IDEOPIA, AN ADVERTISING, INTERACTIVE AND BRAND STRATEGY AGENCY WITH A SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE OPHTHALMIC FIELD. FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING A COMPLETE CHECKLIST, VISIT WWW.IDEOPIA.COM /MAKEOVER.ASP.



Optometric Management, Issue: December 2005