When you go to the doctor’s office, do you notice which local newspapers or regional magazines are sitting around the waiting room? What about the hospital waiting rooms? Have you ever considered advertising in those publications? As patients are waiting to see the doctor for various health issues, they could be introduced to your home care business and the services you can provide them.
I sat down with our Director of Marketing and Public Relations here at Home Care Pulse, Jack LaBaugh. With years of experience in the newspaper and magazine industry, LaBaugh had a lot of great advice to offer business owners on leveraging their local print advertising options, and the best news is it isn’t difficult. As long as you have your “ducks in a row,” print advertising campaigns are both affordable and easy to manage. Here are some things to consider:
Find out the actual circulation of the newspaper. Many newspapers will tell you the estimated number of people who view their paper, not the actual number of papers they sell. You need to know the actual number of papers sold in your area, to get a realistic idea of how many people might view your ad. You also need to find out the region the newspaper covers. Make sure your ad will be viewed by consumers in the area or areas you serve.
Ad Size and Copy
Newspapers charge by the amount of space you use. A full-page ad will catch readers’ attention but will also cost the most, so call your local paper and work with an ad rep to create an ad that is the right size for your budget. Request a rate card from the newspaper, or look for one online, to view rates for ads. Look at a sample page of the newspaper to compare the size and impact of different ads. Select a size that is right for your budget, yet large enough to attract readers and convey your message.
When writing the copy (text) for your ad, focus on how consumers will benefit from your services. Entice them to choose your company by showing them how you will help them solve problems they are facing. Keep your text simple and straight-forward. Mention your Home Care Pulse Certification and Best of Home Care Awards, adding the logos to your ad. Your main goal is to show consumers that you have a proven record for providing the best home care services, and your services will make their lives easier!
As an extra incentive, you may want to add a special offer to your ad. For example, offer a discount or a free hour of home care for new clients who mention the ad.
According to LaBaugh, “It’s worth it to invest in color.” Full-color ads are more expensive than black and white ads, but color makes your ad stand out on the page. Work with an ad rep to see if you they will give you a good deal on a color ad. If it’s too expensive, you should ask the newspaper to print your logo in full-color for free if you purchase a black and white ad. LaBaugh recommends you use a high resolution version of your logo (preferably saved as a .png file)—your logo should appear clear and crisp in your ad.
Location of Your Ad
One of the most important choices you need to make regarding your ad is where to place it within the newspaper. What sections of the paper might interest home care clients the most? Those are the sections you should advertise in. Run your ad in a special weekly insert on elder care, healthcare or any other topic that might interest seniors. Newspapers can often send you an editorial calendar, so you can view a list of special sections they publish. “If they don’t have a special section that applies, suggest they start one!” says LaBaugh. You may also consider advertising in a regular newspaper section that seniors read often, such as the obituaries.
Pay special attention to national health observance dates throughout the year, such as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month (November), National Diabetes Education Week (Nov. 2-8), or Grandparents Day (Sept. 7th). LaBaugh says, “I would call the newspaper before National Alzheimer’s Month and ask to run an ad on the same page as their articles about Alzheimer’s. If they weren’t planning on running articles about Alzheimer’s that month, I’d suggest it to them and then buy some ad space on those pages!”
(Click here to download the 2014 National Health Observances Recognition Days calendar from the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development.)
Regional Magazines vs. Newspapers
Consider advertising in a regional magazine in addition to or instead of a local newspaper. One benefit of regional magazines is that people don’t throw them away as often as they do newspapers. Magazines are likely to be displayed in doctors’ waiting rooms for several months before they are replaced. Your ad could be viewed over and over during that time. Magazines have a different circulation and ad prices than newspapers, so check to see if they are a good fit for your marketing budget. LaBaugh adds, “If you choose to advertise in a regional magazine, make sure your ad is well-designed.” Have a freelance artist or design professional help create a polished, professional ad for your business.
Create an effective print ad for your business and place it in the best local publication to reach as many potential clients as possible. The next time someone sits in the doctor’s office waiting room, they could be reading your ad and learning about your home care business. Your services could be just what they’ve been looking for—and your ad will lead them to you!