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The secret to magazine advertising

June 08 2011

Victor Lund of the WAV Group Says:

I worked in the magazine business for three years. I was responsible for managing 10 luxury real estate magazines in places like Santa Barbara, Carmel, San Francisco, Marin, Napa/Sonoma, Lake Tahoe, etc.
Here are some tips to buying advertising that I learned.

The price for print Advertising is a factor of four variable costs that the publisher faces.
•    Quality of the paper and color vs. black and white
•    Number of magazines printed
•    Number of distribution locations or street racks
•    Cost of premium distribution locations like supermarkets

Advertising in our magazines was priced from $500 to $1000 depending on the area and the number of magazines printed. In a market like Carmel California where tourism is enormous, we had to print 50,000 magazines a month. In smaller communities like North or South Lake Tahoe, we only printed 25,000 – so the price was less.

Position Counts
There are four premium placements in a magazine: the cover, inside front cover, back cover, inside back cover, and sometimes the center spread if the magazine is bound with staples.

If you are a regular magazine advertiser, insist on getting the cover once a year, ideally in the spring like March or April. Use the cover to secure listings (I will put your home on the cover of the Homes Magazine). Keep a bunch of the magazines and use them on all of your listing presentations to show them how you will be marketing their property. The cover is expensive and you will also need to buy an inside page – but if it helps you secure a few more listings per year, it is money well spent.

If you ever watched a person read a magazine you will notice a few things. Half of the people read the magazine backwards. They literally start at the back of the magazine. This makes the back cover valuable. Pay close attention to the way they hold the magazine. You will find that they put their left index finger between the front cover and the first page and their right index finger between the back cover and the first inside back page. These are the first pages looked at, making them prime spots.

The secret way to buy remnant ad space
Every magazine is printed in a pattern called Signatures. A signature is either 4 pages, 8 pages, or 16 pages, depending on the size of the printing press. A 48 page magazine is the most profitable for the publisher – it is three perfect 16 page signatures. Many times, publishers get stuck between signatures. They may have 47 pages sold, and one page left. You can typically buy that last page for a third or a half of the regular price. A publisher will always want to get a little money for the page rather than no money. To take advantage of this, you always need to have an ad ready to go on short notice. Work with the magazine sales person to design ¼, ½, and full-page ads. Tell them that if they need a filler ad, you are always willing to buy it at the discounted rate. Sometimes your ad will run, sometimes not.