Hey….Don’t Forget Space Ads in Your Small Business Marketing

By: Bill Glazer on: September 17th, 2009 8 Comments

Let’s talk about newspaper and magazine advertising which is commonly referred to as “Space” advertising.

In many ways, this form of advertising is one of the harder media to make work in small business marketing. Mainly because it typically is a rather costly media and depending on the size of your transaction, it can be very difficult to earn a return on your investment (ROI).

Of course, ROI can vary between whether you are only looking at how much the ad costs verses how much in sales revenue it generated or how many new customers you acquired from the ad and what is their lifetime value to your business.

There are two basic types of space advertising formats, either:

1. Display Ads or 2. Advertorials

I should point out that when you open up a newspaper or magazine you will typically see that 99% of all of the ads are display ads, which means there is space within the ad that does nothing to make people respond. This is space that is either “blank,” contains vague statements, hollow claims, and/or cutesy artwork.

Although display ads are NOT my favorite type of way to use space advertising they can work. In order to increase their effectiveness you want to look at components such as:

  1. The headline
  2. Your offer
  3. A deadline
  4. Color
  5. Size
  6. Testimonials
  7. An illustration and caption beneath

My favorite type of space advertising is Advertorials. These are ads that look like articles and appear to have editorial content.

I prefer this type of space advertising because editorial content is read by 500% more than display ads are. So, it makes sense that if your ad looks like an article, it will be read more. The easiest ways to create them is to look at the articles in the newspaper or magazine that you are going to advertise in and copy the style, font, and format as closely as possible.

When writing Advertorials, consider the following:

  1. The headline must be newsworthy. It MUST attract the readers attention
  2. The content must also include the kind of information that might actually be reported. You can include details, quotes, and testimonials to add credibility.
  3. Whenever possible use a photo with a caption to tell a story
  4. When you present your offer, weave it in as though a reporter is reporting it. Don’t make it sound too “salesy.”

One final comment about space advertising. Although I am a HUGE fan of direct mail, I strongly believe that you need to use as many different types of media as possible to continue to acquire new customers.

The interesting thing I have discovered from space advertising is that the new customers you acquire from this media are typically the easiest to sell to and are the most loyal.


Bill Glazer is one of the most celebrated Marketing Gurus in the world. Bill and his "Outside The Box" Advertising Strategies have often been featured in the most prestigious Marketing Magazines in the world. Bill is the author of the best selling book, "Outrageous Advertising That's Outrageously Successful: Created for the 99% of Small Business Owners Who Are Dissatisfied with the Results They Get".

8 Responses

  1. Brian Horn says:

    I had decent success with my first display ad using your principals. The advertorial is next on my list.

    Thanks Bill! And I love the book!

  2. Rob Anspach says:

    Sending reprints of your advertorials as direct mail pieces works well also.

    What I hear from many biz owners is “that type of marketing wont work for me” or ” I just dont feel comfortable using that piece” or “I would never read something like that, so why should I use it”. It’s that type of thinking that kills most businesses… and results with fewer sales and fewer dollars rolling in.

    If you asked me a year ago what I thought of social media… I would tell you its the most frustrating way of getting people familiar with your products and services… now I teach business owners how t have a hands free zero frustration approach to marketing using social media.

  3. Thanks, Bill. I’ve never heard the word Advertorial. I love it.
    Hey I have a lady who is great for placing USA Today Ads at huge discounts.

    Have a great week.

    King of Sway

  4. Brian, when can I meet you? Are you speaking in Vegas anytime soon?

  5. Rob Anspach says:

    take an ad (advertorial) or reprint of an older ad then doodle it up – you’d be surprised at the increase in “pulls” the doodles add to any ad.

    I ran an ad that pulled everytime – very good results – but when I added doodles to it – the results were staggering. A 10x increase in sales generated from the new ads.

  6. I built an entire business using small classified ads in the back of specialty magazines. Those work great, too — especially IF you make sure to incorporate the top 3 components mentioned in this post: Headline, Offer, Deadline.

    Another neat trick I learned from Dan Kennedy is to mail “tear sheets” that appear to have been ripped from actual newspapers or magazines, except you save the cost of actually placing the ads themselves!

  7. Rob Anspach says:

    …too many ads fail because they didn’t use a great headline, a bold offer or a call to action ( a deadline to respond )!

  8. greg crocker says:

    I would like to know more about the doodle on old add. sounds different.

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