The magazine industry, whether in print or online, is fuelled by advertising. Without consistent advertising income, a magazine will be short-lived. That's why a magazine's sales department garners the bulk of the budget. Recruiting advertisers means selling the idea that your magazine is an investment, whether the advertiser is looking to sell products or build its brand. Knowing your product and its readership, and using that information to sell ads, will help keep your magazine profitable.
- Skill level:
Study your magazine's subscriber demographic and circulation numbers. Use a customer relationship software like ACT! to track the customers who subscribe to your magazine. Break down the information into age, income levels, sex and race. You will know your circulation by how many subscribers or web hits you have.
Create a rate card. A rate card outlines the costs for ads in your magazine. Research magazines with similar themes and readership to get a baseline for competitors' advertising rates. A rate card will state what size ads -- classified, quarter-page, half-page and full-page are industry standards -- are available, the cost based on how many insertions and the difference between one-, two-, three- and four-color ads. Your operations budget will play a role in how much advertising income you need.
Include advertising information in your publication. Whether your magazine is in print or online, dedicate some space to lure advertisers. If a business owner is reading your magazine, there is a good chance she provides a service or product marketed toward your reader demographic. This is a passive approach to making sales.
Compile a list of possible advertisers. When making your list, get the name and contact information for the person responsible for making the advertising decisions. This is where understanding your readership plays a key role. For example, if your magazine is about mountain biking, create a database of all bike retailers, manufacturers, parts dealers and bike tour companies. Also think about parallel businesses that would be interested in your magazine. An adventure tour company or snowboard maker may have an interest in your mountain biking magazine because the demographics are similar.
Contact your potential advertisers. Put together a sales package that includes an issue of your magazine, the rate card and an introduction letter. Mail the sales package to the person responsible for spending the advertising dollars. Follow up with a phone call to further explain the benefits of advertising with your magazine. This is where the sale is made. Be persistent, but not aggressive. Be informative, but do not annoy.
Develop promotional or cross-advertising partnerships. In a promotional situation, you may partner with a business that provides a free subscription to your magazine with a certain purchase. For example, a bike retailer, for each sale of a new bike, gives the customer a free subscription to your magazine. Cross-advertising is when you exchange advertising. You may provide a half-page ad for a bike retailer if he places an ad in his store.
Tips and warnings
- Think geographically if your magazine concentrates on a certain city, state or area. Most national or international companies won't want to advertise with a local magazine, so target local businesses.
- Most e-zine income comes from linked websites that sell products and Google Adwords.
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