How to Attract Advertisers

Advertisers are the lifeblood of your publication. They are means by which your magazine will turn a profit, or in a not-for-profit publication they are the means by which you’ll cover your costs.
Approaching Potential Advertisers
There are four methods
  • In person
  • By phone
  • By post
  • By email


In Person

  • Good if you possess natural charm and are presentable
  • Potential advertisers are more likely to sign up if they like what they see
  • You can ask for and are more likely to receive payment in advance (this is very useful when you are first setting up the magazine)


  • Each contact will take much longer as you will have to physically travel to and from the venue
  • Sometimes potential advertisers will have a chat and listen politely then decline so you’ve wasted twenty minutes


Hints and Tips
  • Sounds obvious but wear a suit, look business-like, have clean nails and SMILE
  • This method may take longer but the conversion rate is usually very good.
  • Even if they say no initially at least they’ve met you. By sending them a copy of your magazine and making a follow-up phone call you will be certainly convert a few more prospects.


By phone


  • You can make many phone calls in an hour
  • You can tell quickly whether a potential advertiser is interested and if they’re not you can move on to the next one


  • Can seem impersonal. It’s harder to connect with a stranger over the phone
  • It’s easier for a client to say no
  • You can’t ask for payment at point of contact


Hints and Tips


  • This is a good way to contact potential advertisers but it has a lower strike rate than a face-to-face meeting. Be prepared to make many phones calls for one positive response.
  • Don’t be down-hearted. When I first set up my magazine I used to take every ‘no’ very personally and often became discouraged. By gritting my teeth and ploughing on regardless I soon realised that the more people I phoned, the more ‘yes’ responses I received, and the less the ‘no’ responses mattered.
  • Practice your phone technique. It’s amazing how many of us have a poor phone manner. Speak clearly and smile as you talk; the smile will transfer to your voice and the person you are phoning will perceive you as friendly and trustworthy.
  • Be flexible. Some sales people develop a standard sales patter and are very successful with it. I always found that didn’t work very well for me. Whenever I tried it I didn’t feel comfortable and my discomfort was probably evident to the person on the other end of the phone. I found a more natural, chatty and empathetic approach worked better. Monitor how successful you are with different approaches and develop a style which works for you.


By Post
  • The potential advertiser has time to read your sales spiel at their leisure
  • Once they’ve read it they’re more receptive to a follow-up phone call


  • It’s relatively expensive
  • There is every possibility that with all the junk mail a business receives daily, your carefully crafted letter and sales pack will be dumped in the recycling bin without being read


Hints and Tips
  • This is a useful approach for advertisers you’d like to net but who have proven elusive.
  • Send a complimentary copy or two of the magazine, a personal letter and your advertising rates with the special rates you’re offering to this advertiser high-lighted: then make that follow-up phone call.


By Email

  • It’s by far the cheapest way to contact people
  • You can send a lot of information and even a pdf download of your magazine
  • You can catch business people when they’re just browsing their emails, possibly in the evening, when they’re relaxed and more receptive.


  • Your message might be ignored as a junk email


Hints and Tips
  • This approach works better if your magazine has a website to act as your shop window and showcase your magazine. If you put a link to your website in the email people are more likely to click on it and read what you have to offer.


Final Words
You’ll probably use most or all of these sales approaches at some point. The trick is, to mix and match, be flexible and persevere. The first month is the most difficult, after that each month you continue gets easier. Good Luck.
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