How to Sell Magazine Advertisements

Tall pile of newspaper advertisements
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On the surface, selling magazine advertisements doesn't seem much different from selling newspaper ads. While both are forms of print media, selling magazine ads may actually be more similar to selling TV advertisements for a couple of key reasons. If you're in magazine ad sales, it's important to know the specifics about what you're selling to get a client to buy. 

Focus on Image

As with television, magazine advertisements focus on the visual presentation. The photo, the colors used, the font type selected—those choices make a huge difference in the unwritten message a magazine ad sends to readers. A magazine advertising campaign has significant power to persuade people to buy products.

That fact can be sold to a client as an advantage over other media. A newspaper ad doesn't have the same visual impact—it's not as glossy and is often on a page with other ads or news stories which compete for readers' eyes. Television has an impact, but the visuals are gone in a fleeting second. They don't hold attention like a magazine ad can.

Readers Look at the Entire Issue

A magazine reader, especially a subscriber, will likely flip through every page of an issue, as opposed to a newspaper reader who might toss aside entire sections. That means a magazine ad has the chance to be seen by every person who subscribes or picks up an issue at the newsstand. The attention span of a magazine reader is a top selling point to stress to an advertiser. 

Choose the Right Designer for Your Client's Ad

The key is to create an advertisement that will get the reader to stop and read the words. Try to provide your potential client with an ad designer who excels at print media as opposed to online, where the design needs are vastly different. 

For some buyers, a package deal that includes both print and online ads may have appeal. In those cases, be knowledgeable about the magazine's online audience, and have metrics available about demographics, reach, time on site and page views. Again, make sure the ad designer or designers you're working with have experience with the type of ad you're selling the client.

Target Audience

One of the biggest benefits of magazine advertisements is that it's easy for them to appear before a target audience. While a newspaper reaches a broad spectrum of people, a magazine is designed for people who have shared interests or values.

It is critical that you have demographic information that you can show a potential ad buyer. For instance, while Good Housekeeping and Vogue are two magazines geared toward women, their audiences are very different. Know the average age and income of your readers, plus their typical interests beyond the magazine.

To be successful, you have to know your magazine's brand. The decisions that are made in your boardroom about how to position your publication against competitors on the newsstand provide the understanding you need in the sales department. Meet with your editorial staff to get ideas on which advertisers will be best to target, especially if your magazine is in transition to appeal to a more desired group of people.

But as a salesperson, be respectful of the boundaries between advertising and editorial. In order for a magazine or any media brand to retain a reputation for integrity, editorial content should be clearly delineated from (and not influenced by) ad sales. 

Long Shelf Life

By its very nature, a daily newspaper has a limited window of relevance. Even a Sunday newspaper advertisement might miss the Monday-through-Friday readers. But a magazine ad can have value for the length of a current issue —a week, a month, even longer.

So you can tell a prospective advertiser if sales don't skyrocket the moment the issue containing her ad is released, there's no need to worry. More people will be exposed to the advertisement with each passing day. Magazine advertisements can be one of the most effective ways to reach customers. As an ad sales expert, demonstrate that to potential clients to boost their bottom line and yours.