Successful Newspaper Advertising for Contractors, Part 2

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The following is a guest post from Darren Slaughter, a construction marketing consultant who works with contractors large and small to sell more, advertise better, and market to buyers.

[This is Part 2 of a 3-part article. Read Part 1 here >>]

Tips for Local Newspaper Ads

  • Use coupons giving a dollar amount off, not a percentage. People hate doing the math!
  • Don’t let the newspaper people have total control of your ad design. You may not be an artist, but you KNOW how you want your company portrayed to the market.
  • Make sure you have 1st class graphics since this will be the only visual distinction you can provide the reader about your business.
  • Buy the biggest ad you can afford, full-page being the best. It may be expensive, but it will pull the best by far.
  • Go with color if you can afford it. Given a choice, consumers pick color ads over black 82% of the time.
  • Ask the paper if they have specific days that more of your type of buyer reads their paper. For example, guys usually read the sports sections on Monday, and women usually check out the entertainment sections on Fridays.
  • If you have a hit ad on your hands, make it into a circular or door-hanger to extend the life of the offer.
  • Don’t change your ad because you are getting tired of looking at. I can’t tell you how many times a contractor has asked me to change an ad simply because they were tired of looking at.
  • Now, before you advertise in any paper make sure you get a media kit from the publisher. It will be chock full of demographic information as well as their reach and distribution, information you need to know BEFORE you spend your hard-earned dollars!

Now I want to talk about the successful design and implementation of your ad. If you are currently running ads, now would be a good time to go get a few copies and compare them against this list of do’s and don’ts.

  • Make sure your headline is strong. A headline’s only job is to sell the reader on reading the rest of the ad.
  • Once you understand this function of ad creation your thought process on headline development will change dramatically.
  • If you are giving anything away in your ad make sure you highlight the word free. Repeat as much as possible and use it often as people now more than ever are looking for a good deal.
  • If possible add a picture of your product or service. A good before and after picture works great!
  • If you have the room, include a few testimonials.
  • Make your reader an offer. You have to get them to do something for you. By creating a sense of urgency to your offer you can use a limited-time or limited-quantity approach to create quicker responses.
  • Add color. That is all.
  • Don’t just run one ad, create at least two ads and compare your results. You should do this with every piece of advertising you create.

    [Tune into Part 3 of Darren’s article… scheduled for January 19]

About Darren

My story is pretty simple, I write a marketing blog for contractors that is a plain-English, pull-no-punches tale of what I see working for the clients I work with everyday. What I talk about isn’t theory out of some book, I am living it. I’m in the trenches getting my hands dirty just like you!

The topics I tend to talk about are print and online advertising, website design, social media marketing and sales tips and strategies that I hope will help grow your business. If you want to read more, you can check out my blog at

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