When promoting a local seminar, newspapers seem like a logical choice for reaching your target audience. After all, newspaper readers are local. And they are interested enough in learning new information that they're willing to pay for and read a paper, right?

But as many new seminar promoters quickly learn, promoting seminars via newspaper advertising isn't as easy as running an ad and filling the room.

For starters, your ad has a lot of competition -- and not just other ads. Every story on the page as your ad, as well as every story in the paper, is competing for attention. In such a busy environment, it's easy for your ad to be overlooked.

Here are a few pointers to help you get the most bang for your buck when promoting seminars via advertising in newspapers, magazines and other periodicals:

  • Ask about demographics. If the readership doesn't match your ideal prospect profile, don't buy into the advertising representative's hype. Take a pass instead -- there are plenty of places you can spend your advertising dollars.
  • Drill down into demographic data. The publication's readership may be diverse, and your seminar may only appeal to a certain portion of the readership. So ask the advertising rep for specifics. For example, newspapers may be delivered across dozens of communities, and your audience may be more likely to live in one community vs. another. Don't be afraid to ask about having your ad run in only certain editions of the paper or magazine.
  • Investigate all advertising options. When you think of advertising in a newspaper or magazine, your mind probably went straight to a display ad. But many publications offer numerous ways to advertise. Classified advertising is an option, of course. Others include flyer insertions, coupon bags, front-page sticky notes, and belly bands (an advertisement that is wrapped around the publication). What gives you the best chance of standing out?
  • Remember, frequency is key. You will not fill your seminar by running one ad one time in one publication. You may not even get a single phone call! Repetition is key to advertising success. Most studies agree that customers need to see your promotions at least 7 to 9 times before acting.
  • Test ad sizes. If you've ever shopped for ad space, you know that it get pricey in a hurry. When first starting, invest in a small ad that's run frequently vs. a large ad that's run only a time or two. As your ad produces results and you generate revenue, reinvest some of the proceeds onto bigger ads.
  • Go for leads, not sales. Convincing a stranger to register for your seminar based on an ad will be difficult. Instead of trying to make a sale in a tiny space, direct readers to your web site or phone number to get details about your event. Better yet, promote a free resource or gift related to your seminar topic. Promote your seminar when you follow-up with people who request the free resource.

Advertising can gobble up your marketing budget in a hurry. Use these tips to help maximize the number of leads you receive, while minimizing your marketing risk.

Author's Bio: 

Jenny Hamby is a Certified Guerrilla Marketer and copywriter who helps consultants, speakers, and coaches promote their own seminars, workshops, teleseminars and webinars. Get your free copy of her e-course, 31 Secrets to Jumpstart Your Seminar Promotions.