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How To Set Up Your Own In-House Advertising
And Save Up To 17% Of Advertising Costs
With the high prices of placing
ads today, why not save money? There's no special secret to
writing and placing advertisements in magazines, tabloids
and newspapers. And why not claim the discount given to advertising
If you handle your own advertising
correspondence, work with layout artists and write your own
ads, it's well worth your while to set up your own in-house
ad agency and save a ton of money.
Even if you don't create your
own ads, you can profit from setting up your own agency and
placing the ads that bring sales directly to you.
If you have something to sell
- especially by mail order - advertising is they way to make
that product reach people. Although advertising agencies produce
excellent ads of all types and sizes with every demographic
appeal, they also charge for it. That's why they're ready
to claim the fifteen percent discount usually granted for
You can learn how to create and
design your own ads - with no background in copywriting or
art. And, you can set up your own ad agency to place these
ads where THEY'LL MAKE MONEY FOR YOU.
Do you have a product that you're
ready to sell? Now's the time to find out the best angles
to use and the tricks of the trade to putting money in your
STARTING YOUR BUSINESS
Do you have a mail order business?
Maybe you sell clothing, camping supplies, or information
through ads to the mail order trade. Perhaps you've run classified
ads for years and are ready to branch out into larger display
Not only small home businesses,
but larger mail order companies and hundreds of major advertisers
everywhere set up their own in-house agencies to produce and
place ads. Even magazines create in-house departments under
another name to get the agency discount.
What might set advertising agencies
apart from homemade operations is the appearance of the letterhead
and the ad form. They must look sharp and professional.
Start with a name for the ad
agency you want to establish. It can be anything, but must
be different from the name of the company that will be using
the space. Then register the name with the county clerk. Check
first to be sure you're not using a company name already in
Designing letterhead is easier
than you think. You don't have to create an elaborate or clever
logo - the initials of the company will do. You can choose
the mark - the special type style - at a printers, or use
one of dozens of press-on letter styles available at art supply
Using photo offset, an instant
printer can run off a thousand sheets at a very low price.
If you go to a printer, check and compare the total printing
costs. Typesetting can be expensive and there's a minimum
charge. You may want to wait to get all your typesetting and
printing done at the same time - letterhead, ad form, ad copy
and any sales literature you may be preparing. Investigate
ways to get by with the lease expense.
Establishing your own ad agency
is so easy that the most important part is the form you send
in when you place ads. Although there are no federal restrictions
for in-house ad agencies, some publications may quibble. If
your form looks as good as the rest, you'll have no problems.
The following page is a representation
of a sample ad order form. Just copy this form and have your
company design or logo printed on top. You can choose a color
paper to have the forms run off on - they'll be more noticeable.
Then all you do is send in a copy of the completed form with
your check and final artwork for your ad - and claim a big
discount for being your own agency.
NAME OF ADVERTISING AGENCY Address
To the publisher of: __________________________________________________
Order number: ___________________
Please publish advertising of:
For (product):Space to be ordered
within one year from ______ through ____________
Times ___________ Dates of Insertion:
Rate Less agency
Less cash discount _________________________
Mail all invoices to:
Accepted for publishing on PLEASE
SIGN AND RETURN TO AGENCY
THE INSERTION ORDER FORM
The following will describe what
the various terms on the insertion order form mean and how
to fill them in.
Space indicates what type of
space you are buying: classified or display. If you want display
space, indicate the size. Fill in the number of times you
want the ad to be repeated. It will run in the number of consecutive
issues you indicate. Then fill in the actual dates of insertion
for the ad.
The position of the ad can be
an important factor in selling. Although you rarely can be
guaranteed a certain position in the publication, ask for
it anyway. You'll probably get at least the nest best position.
If you are running a short ad
that will be printed by the publication, you can type out
the copy in the instructions space at the bottom. The key
designates the address code you'll use to analyze responses.
For example, you can use a letter
to indicate the name of the publication, and a number for
the month of issue. Insert this key in the address, perhaps
as a department division or suite number. When you get inquiries
or orders with that key, you'll know which ad pulled the response.
HOW TO DETERMINE RATES
Every publication that solicits
advertising has a rate card. This card is available from the
advertising coordinator, who is the contact for the publication
and can be very helpful in assisting you. The best way to
get a rate card is to write for one or call if the publication
is in your city.
The rate card has the general
information you'll need for placing your ad. It should indicate
the total circulation with a breakdown of subscriptions and
newsstand buyers. Keep in mind that most publications have
two to three readers for every one purchase.
The advertising rates may be
broken down a number of ways, depending on how the publication
sells space. Display rates may be sold by the column-inch
or lines. Or, they may be broken up into fractions such as
a half-page or quarter-page. Some publications have a minimum
size space ad, so keep this in mind when designing the ads
for certain publications.
The rate card will tell you the
among of discount you are entitled to as an ad agency. It
will also give you the deadlines for placing the ads for the
next issue and the issuance date, the actual day the magazine
comes off press and goes to the newsstands and to subscribers.
If you have any questions concerning
the type of space you need or the actual rate, just ask the
TAKE YOUR 15% DISCOUNT
As an advertising agency, you
are entitles to a fifteen percent discount on the ad space,
unless the publication grants only lower discounts. The easiest
way to subtract a 15% discount is to multiply the rte charge
by .85. Immediately, you have the exact figure for placing
TAKE ANOTHER 15%
Many publications realize that
the mail order businesses don't operate with a high capital
for placing ads. Because of this, they offer a fifteen percent
discount for mail order display ads. To compute the fee for
two discounts - fifteen percent for mpute the fee for two
discounts - fifteen percent for mail order and fifteen percent
for the agency discount, simply multiply the total rate charge
by .70. This will give you the fee.
TAKE YET ANOTHER 2%
Whether you are an ad agency
or not, you are entitled to take a two percent discount for
sending your check with the order. Most publications offer
this discount to discourage billing and encourage cash sales.
To figure out the two percent cash discount, Multiply the
total rate charge by .98 - after you have already taken the
other appropriate discounts. That will give you the total
you will pay for placing your ad.
WHERE TO PLACE ADS
The rule of thumb for placing
ads, especially for mail order, is to look through the publications
catering to the same product you are selling, and do the same.
Although advertisers are always looking for new and innovative
ways to sell products, they usually stick with the proven
ways of selling.
What are you selling? Where are
the logical places these products are sold? Go there and place
your ads where people will look for your products.
There is no reason you can't
hit a successful ad campaign the first time, but more often,
you'll find it necessary to spend some time testing different
ads, different display sizes, and even different lead products.
Testing is the name of the game, and if you're careful, you
don't have to go for broke, but can build a sound winner.
A number of significant successful
companies have made a fortune from advertising an appealing
product and delivering a good deal. There is no reason why
you can't too.
There are two types of advertising
space in a publication - display space and classified ads.
How you use ad space is entirely up to the type of appeal
that will sell the product best, and the financial budget
you are working with.
Don't shortchange classifieds.
A small, well-written classified ad can bring hundreds of
responses on a continual basis.
Often, classifieds are used in
a two-step approach of first placing an ad that has no price
mentioned and soliciting the reader's response for free information.
Then it is followed up with a sales letter or brochure - some
kind of sales literature - that gives the pitch for the product.
Classifieds are the least expensive
ad to place. People who run mail order businesses find them
to be the best dollar-for-dollar investment in advertising.
Look at the classifieds section of the publications you are
planning to place ads in. If your product could be sold with
a classified ad, you should start there.
If you have actual products to
sell, display ads are your better bet. You'll probably need
an illustration to show the product - something to catch the
eye. You can also include a line or two about sending for
a catalog if that item doesn't appeal enough, but has captured
Display advertising space is
the area in a publication designated for companies to show
their products and describe the benefits - appealing to consumers
and potential buyers.
Display space comes in all sizes
- from full page to a smaller fraction. Since some publications
don't have classified space, it may be your logical answer
to place a small, one-inch ad. But if your ad is that small
and there is a classifieds section, place it there - you'll
save money and the ad will be seen by the same amount of people,
maybe even more.
Your guideline for determining
what size the ad should be is to decide what is going into
the ad and what type of approach you plan to make. What sells
the products is the appeal and the equality of the ad - not
necessarily the size.
Some products need full one-page
descriptions; some don't require a large space. You may be
able to get by with a small, appealing ad that has a clear
illustration, you certainly don't need to go full size.
If you have a limited budget,
take out a small ad. A publication with a good reputation
and a high circulation makes money from the high ad rates
it can charge. Don't sacrifice a good pulling magazine for
larger ad space in another publication. You have to consider
the dollar-for-dollar response.
Other ways to save money are
to advertise in the regional editions of publications, and
to buy remnant space which is the "leftover" space
sometimes available just before the magazine goes to print.
If you have a good working rapport with the publication, you
might be able to place a low-cost ad at the last minute.
Depending on your product, you
need to consider where you want your ad to appear in the publication.
You'll most likely not require the prime spots such as the
back cover, the first page or the inside covers.
But is has been proven that a
right hand pulls betters response than one on the left side
of the publication. Ads placed closer to the front of the
magazine pull better than those towards the back. Think about
where you want the ad to show up.
How will you know if your ads
are pulling the response you want? When you place different
ads in different publications, you need to have a method to
determine which ads are drawing the best results. To do this,
you keep accurate records.
For each ad you place, you have
an address key. Use a separate record sheet for each key.
At the top of the sheet, put the pertinent information, such
as the name and issue of the publication, the date of issue,
the cost of the ad, and the information about the ad you placed.
The main body of the record sheet
may be divided into the two categories of inquiries and order.
These in turn are separated into date received, number received,
and running totals of inquiries, orders and sales.
The reason keeping records is
important is twofold. First, you must respond to any orders
you receive without getting them mixed up. Second, you need
to figure out which publications are bringing the highest
Good records will indicate which
headlines pull better, which size has a better draw, and which
products out of a catalog have more appeal.
Testing is the best way to achieve
results in advertising. The majors do it - you can too. Testing
can be just as exciting as the sales you make.
You've seen hundreds of ads in
magazines, newspapers, and through the mail. Most of them
are the same; most of them have similar products to sell.
You read some of them because you're interested in the product,
you read some of them because they're interesting to read,
and most of them you pass by.
There are no best ways to describe
a product or form an appeal for services. But there are proven
methods of writing to catch a few people who didn't know about
the product to read the ad and to get the people who are interested
in the product to buy.
Your main concerns in creating
ads are to get the reader's attention, sustain that attention,
and push for action to buy. The longer you can hold interest,
the greater number of people will respond.
Use short, simple sentences and
paragraphs. Keep your writing concise and to the point. Rambling
words and ideas will make the reader lose interest quickly.
Always be relevant to what you are selling.
Subheads help cut copy into small,
digestible pieces, as does the use of block paragraphs. Using
italics, capital letters, bold face and oversized print can
help grab attention to the words.
Make the ocpy rewarding to read,
the product appealing to have, and the offer too good to pass
by, and you'll have plenty of business.
CHOOSE AN APPEAL
What will put your product to
best advantage? What can the reader gain? The headline is
the stopper. If is the few words that will make the reader
stop and look at the ad. Think of how your product can appeal
to the readers you want to induce. Can I manage to save, gain
or accomplish something ordinary or special? Can I increase
my finances, good health or general well-being? Maybe the
product or service can help avoid worries, losses and mistakes.
Or help decrease fears of pverty, illness in the family, loss
The attitude you choose shoots
for the person's emotional state. It is the emotions that
catch hold, then reason follows through to decide to read
on or not. Consider the typical buyer you desire and go after
Use the words "you or "your,"
or imply that direct approach with "we" and "our."
Make the reader believe you are writing directly and honestly,
offering the best available.
Consider a headline that uses
"which one" or a comparative price. The choice alone
entices you to read further. Or you might use an underdog
approach such as I went wrong too, but will tell you how you
can avoid it.
The headline that includes "how
to" is always an appealing catcher. Invite the reader
into your copy and then lead quickly into the main text of
SHOW THE ADVANTAGES
Most ads placed by small in-house
agencies don't solicit the national retail trade that large
advertising companies handle. Instead, they offer an unusual
product or service, a great price on closeout items, or products
for the mail order consumer. More often than not, these ads
will be short, concise, and stop not long after the headline.
For many products, there's not much that needs to be said
that a picture or drawing can't show.
But for those items that sell
even better with copy, you'll need to think about the benefits
you want to describe, and the best ways to show these advantages.
You've caught the reader's attention
with the headline. Now hold it. Follow through with the facts
that answer the headline. You have to convince the reader
not only to want to have the product, but to want TO BUY IT.
Whatever you considered for the
headline, study it again. What will this do for me? Why do
I want to buy it? Is it less expensive than the other similar
products? Is it the same, but a newer model, or a more efficient
Push the emotional appeal. How
will this make me look better, feel better? What will my family
and friends say? You might try to tap into the market of avoiding
embarrassment, eliminating problems, minimizing risk.
Will this help me enjoy my leisure?
With the continued trend towards increasing leisure time and
the money after-work activities to the public, people are
looking for more and more interesting things to do with space
time. Can your product tap into this?
Money is forever the great desire.
Now more than ever, people seek financial security, and look
for ways to save money - especially over the long run. Saving
money and buying at a lower price are sound copy points. But
they must be followed through with believable reasons and
For example, ads for wood burning
stoves often appear in northern regional editions of publications,
or magazines catering to homeowners. A small ad with a drawing
of a wood burner may draw attention with a headline about
saving heating costs. It can include an address to write for
A larger space ad could include
the advantages of a wood burning stove over and above the
savings on gas bills, such as efficiency, superb craftsmanship,
quality of materials, or easy to install. Any benefits that
sell the product can be used to appeal to the reader.
A still larger ad could have
an "exploded" drawing of the inside of the stove,
and might also include information about how it works, how
it saves you money. It might mention the reputation of the
company. But consider whether the cost of a larger ad will
bring in the extra response to make it profitable.
Stick to the facts. And stay
with the BUYING POINTS. A potential customer may be sold,
but will that person buy? Endorsements and testimonials are
effective ways to dramatize facts and back up the benefits
of your product, but don't use ones that seem transparent.
They'll ring falsely. There are federal laws against misleading
advertising, and they do check up on and prosecute against
If you use an endorsement from
a famous or popular person, that person should use the product.
Any testimonials you use must be true, and the people must
be available for verification.
Always aim for satisfaction.
Self-respect, security and accomplishment are human aspects
everyone strives for. Never talk down to the readers as though
you know something they don't or you're better than they are.
To you, the potential customer is POTENTIAL GOLD.
ASK FOR ACTION
You've caught the reader's attention
with a catchy headline. You've followed through with good
copy that demonstrates benefits and appeals to the reader.
Now - before you lose that interest - ask for an order.
You can to close the gap between
reading the ad and acting upon impulse. The purpose of the
ad is to make people buy. You have to tighten the desire to
want inot the desire to buy.
A money-back guarantee is the
most useful tool in pressing action. It goes for the bottom
line. What do I have to lost? And it affirms the quality of
the product. If you are willing to back the claims you make
with a full refund, you can get a hook into those borderline
If you give a time limit the
product will be offered for sale, or mention a limited supply,
or have a reduced price for a certain time, you'll increase
the impulse to act. And that's what you're after. Appeal to
the reader's urgency; make the product totally desirable to
have - now.
HOW TO USE ILLUSTRATIONS
The major reason to use display
space is to illustrate your product. Some items are very difficult
to sell without a picture or drawing. And some illustrations
work better with your product than others.
The illustration may be selling
the only product you have, or you may want to use a lead illustration
- something out of your product line that is particularly
appealing. Then give the company's name and address for people
to write for a free catalog.
Be particular about using photographs.
Never put in your own picture - it won't help sell a product.
And be very choosy about models for clothing. Avoid using
models if possible, and if absolutely necessary, you'll need
An advantage to photography is
that you can picture your product in full, glowing color.
But it is not usually that important. Considering the additional
costs, it may not bring in the additional response to make
You can have your product pictured
indoors or out. But consider the size of the ad, and get rid
of extraneous visual matter in the background. You are aiming
for a clear, appealing view of what you have to offer and
you want the reader to buy that product.
In using photographs, always
to go top quality. You can find dozens of excellent professional
photographers from the yellow pages and at the photo supply
stores. Look at the photographers' work, and don't get a portrait-taker
if you need to illustrate a product.
Can the photograph or product
be converted or illustrated with art? Line drawings are beautiful
ways to show off a product in a clear and direct manner. They
can be simple - just an outline. Or they can be more elaborate
with shading and hatching. Line art is easy to draw and reproduce.
And usually, it can show up a product to best advantage. There
are no extras to detract attention.
Consider the simplest and most
direct way to illustrate the products you want people to buy.
Maybe you can try a layout with a photo and one with a simple
drawing. What difference does it make?
What is the competition doing?
When testing new ads, go with the tried and true. Don't try
to be different. It is the sound and worthwhile that bring
in the customers - time and time again.
WORKING WITH ARTISTS
If you're not an artist, don't
stop creating here. There are no special tricks to designing
a good page, and there is no great expense in having someone
else do it.
The best way to find an artist
to draw line art, design and layout a page, and past up the
ad, is through design studios. Don't commission the studio
- there's usually too much overhead. Talk to individual designers
and get somebody who does free lance work. You can negotiate
a very reasonable fee. But get a professional. It's worth
the extra hourly fee to have somebody who knows how to design.
Work directly with the artist
- be sure your desires are well communicated. And be sure
you are satisfied with the work accomplished. You both have
something to say, but more so, let the product speak the loudest.
DOING THE LAYOUT
You don't need to hire a designer
to do the layout for your ad. You are capable of doing it
yourself - after all, you know the product best. Consider
what you want to say. You need to make it different from the
other ads, yet you shouldn't try for innovating design awards.
The ad must be interesting to
look at and should have a feeling of movement and action.
That movement is not necessarily in the illustration, but
the placement of illustration and copy in the ad, so the eye
goes from one to the next in easy, exciting movements.
You'll need to consider where
the illustration will be, and its relation to the headlines
and body text. Perhaps you are showing the product in use,
or maybe the illustration is just a simple picture of the
A rule of thumb in layout is
to use contrast. The most obvious contrast is the black print
on white paper. Use that white space. Although it's not apparent,
the white space is as important in the visual appeal as the
illustration and type.
Don't try for symmetry. The unusual
or irregular catches the eye more readily. The illustration
works hand in hand with the headline to grab reader's attention.
Be simple and direct. Don't push
too much copy into a small area, crowding the illustration.
If you don't have room, cut copy or reduce the illustration.
You can use any size and style
type you want for the ad. But don't get carried away. You
shouldn't use a special typeface unless it helps sell the
product. And, never use a headline type that's hard to read.
Using different sizes of type
help point out the benefits of the product. Bold or italicized
type also bring more visual appeal to the ad.
If you find that the illustration
is too big for the ad space you want to use, you can reduce
it to a smaller size, or crop out portions not absolutely
necessary. A "bleed" photo runs straight off the
page. Check with the advertising coordinator first to be sure
the publications will do bleeds.
A good way to do a rough layout
is to use a pencil to sketch in the places for the type, the
illustrations, and lines to indicate body copy and the name
of the company. Try different pencil layouts until you're
satisfied you have the product at its best appeal.
Most publications require final
artwork for display ads. Camera-ready copy means that it's
ready to go - to be made into the films printers use for reproduction.
The type has to be typeset, the art must be clear, and the
layout must have these elements pasted down.
Even if you get as far as producing
a rough layout, it won't cost too much to convert it to final
artwork. But if you're doing the whole thing, you have to
be sure you have all the elements. To have copy typeset, you
go to a typesetting shop and give them typewritten copy for
every character you want to show up on your ad. You can discuss
with them the size of type and pick styles. Final artwork
should not be a photocopy of a drawing, but the original drawing
or a Photostat. A Photostat can be made of the original if
it needs to be reduced or enlarged to fit the exact size of
If you are using a photograph,
it should be a professional quality print. Any areas that
need to be cropped should be indicated with a red grease pencil
that won't harm the surface of the photo - don't cut the photo.
If you are using color photography,
you may need to have color separations made before you submit
the ad. This is a process whereby the color in the photo is
separated into its four elements of red, yellow, blue and
black. The advertising coordinator will be able to tell you
what you need, and a local printer can help you with the separations.
If you have no experience in
pasting up layouts, you'll need to get a professional. Why
make a mistake so late in the game? Although it is a simple
process of gluing the type and illustrations down with rubber
cement, you need the correct tools to be sure everything is
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE
Setting up your own in-house
advertising agency is easy. Placing ads and claiming your
fifteen percent discount is no problem. The challenge comes
in writing appealing ads that are winners. The reward is selling
product through those ads month after month, year after year.
At any stage of the advertising
game you can call in professional advice. A free-lance pro
can offer sound, money-saving tips and be worth every dollar
spent. Even if you commission the artwork and layout of the
ad, you'll still save a bundle over ad agency costs.
If you have your own home business,
or if your company has expanded into advertising, there's
no reason not to set up your own agency. There's no hassle,
and the savings are great. If you need specialized LEGAL advice
or assistance on this subject, the services of a professional
person is recommended.