Most of the time, magazine advertisers are focused on making their ads about them. This seems logical. After all, the purpose of the ad is to sell your products and services. But what if there were ways to increase the success of your campaign by thinking outside the box…or outside the magazine, in this case?
In our experience, the most successful magazine advertising takes a customer-centric approach so that the ad appeals to both a business' target customer as well as the core magazine reader. Taking both into more careful consideration when crafting the ad will give your magazine advertising the edge it needs to be successful.
Here are 3 perspectives to keep in mind when designing an effective magazine ad:
Know the Target Demographic of the Magazine:
Every magazine has a target persona - a composite profile of its core reader. This informs the content of the magazine, what topics they cover - literally everything from the font, cover images, style and tone of writing, etc. All decisions about the magazine, even where you can pick it up and how it is distributed, are made with that target persona in mind. Shouldn’t your ad be put to the same test? Understand who the target persona of the magazine is because that‘s your audience. Ask yourself, “Why would they buy from your business? What products or services do you offer that they are most interested in?” These are the questions you need to answer in your magazine ad.
Know the Overarching Editorial Focus of the Magazine:
The editorial focus is the reason people pick up the magazine. They select it, above other options, because they are interested in the topics that the magazine covers. A wine magazine is going to be picked up by people interested in wine, a food magazine by foodies, etc. A lifestyle magazine is a little broader, but the reason people pick it up is to learn more about home design/decor options, fashion, food, local events, etc. As much as you can cater to the reader’s natural interests, the more likely your ad will be remembered. If there isn’t a natural tie-in, consider creating one. For example, a car dealer client was advertising in our lifestyle magazine and made sure to offer recipes for travel snacks, road trip game ideas for kids, etc. in their ad. The ultimate goal was for a reader to find enough value in the ad that they wanted to tear it out and keep it, maybe even putting it on their fridge. Talk about awesome long-term branding for a dealership!
Know the Specific Content Feature for each Issue:
Not only does each magazine have an overall sense of identity, but each individual issue throughout the year also takes a deeper dive into some specific topic that the target persona wants to know. For example, a spring magazine issue may focus on gardening, a summer issue may focus on grilling recipes or outdoor living spaces. Allow your advertising to adjust its message based on these topics. Why? Because that’s the reason a reader picks up the magazine - they are specifically interested in those topics. Feature topics expand a magazine’s readership beyond the loyal base of consistent readers by attracting people who are interested in that topic. It’s an intentional marketing strategy by the magazine…so lean into it! Is there a spring message, product, or service that you can share with readers in the spring issue? Can your ad take on a gardening theme…even though it has nothing to do with gardening? All this lends itself to attracting “eyeballs” to your ad in a way that is relevant and memorable.
In the magazine, customer-centric advertising keeps in mind not just your business’ desired customers, but the readers of the magazine. By adjusting your advertising to account for those readers’ natural interests, you’ll stand a better chance of having a successful campaign.