Thank you for your question.
While you may want to take wbinst-ga's advice on pretending to be an
ad agency, you don't have to (I'll explain later) and you will
certainly not want to hire an advertising agency or marketing firm
yourself. They are expensive and for your purposes, you can write a
great ad on your own. Leave plenty of white space and have just one
simple message ready for the reader to see in the split second he or
she will be glimpsing your ad. However, the actual designing of the
ad, you may want to leave to a professional freelancer, such as on
Here are some other tips:
--Ask the magazine how many actual readers they have. Ask if the
number they give you has been examined by an independent firm.
Otherwise, they could give you a number out of thin air.
--Ask them what their demographic is BEFORE you tell them what your
product's demographic is. If you do it the other way, the salespeople
will tell you that your desired demographic is exactly their strong
point. Don't believe anything else the ad salespeople tell you
without strong supporting evidence. They're there to sell the ads at
the highest price possible.
--Magazines are most read in the coldest months: January, February,
and March. Paying the same prices for those months gives you a
greater bang for your buck.
Look at the magazine you wish to buy ad space in and see if there are
many "house ads." These are ads promoting the magazine itself, a
related event, or something that is owned by the same company as the
magazine. If there are many house ads, it is a sign that the magazine
has problems selling ad space. Either they are not desirable to
marketers for advertising purposes and you should look elsewhere, or
they need you more than you need them and you can negotiate them way
down on price.
The prices you'll be quoted will be those from the magazine's rate
card, which some of them publish online. The rate card is pretty much
the highest possible price you would pay for that product. It's akin
to a car's sticker price at the dealership. If the magazine has a
direct competitor, it can be easier to negotiate it down.
If you are going to be doing great amounts of ad purchasing, you may
want to look into the services of a media buyer. A media buyer can
get discounts of not just 15% but sometimes up to 50% off. Make sure
that you are dealing with someone who is experienced with the company
and has had fruitful negotiations with that company in the past.
You don't even have to pretend to be an ad agency to get the 15%
reduced rate-- just tell them that you know ad agencies get discounts
and you want the 15% taken off.
"Ad rates usually have wiggle room so negotiate"
"If you decide to buy media yourself, know that a great trick is that
you can still ask for the 15% reduced agency rate. They will give it
to you, maybe reluctantly, but they will. Whether you can get them to
reduce it beyond 15% is up to you, but know this too: There is usually
at least another 15% "cushion" built into the rate card. Thus, getting
30% knocked off the rate card is not out of the question."
Ask the ad rep if they have a further reduced rate or discount for
local or small businesses. If you can't get them to give you
discounts or as much of a discount as you would like, ask for freebies
to be thrown in, such as online ads. Like anything else, by buying in
bulk you are better placed to be able to ask for discounts. They may
want you to pay full price if you're only placing one ad, but keep
fighting them. You don't have to place your ad with them, and they
know that. Ask for their "12 times" rate-- the rate that a person
would pay to place an ad in 12 issues. Negotiate on ad position to
get a better placement. (The right side is always better than the
left). Ask for color, better placement, bigger ads, appearances in a
special issue-- anything that would improve your chances of a
Finally, remnant space-- the ad space left unsold right before an
issue goes to print-- is an opportunity to get deep discounts on
advertising. This works especially well with newspapers, which come
out daily and have much more advertising to sell, but can work with
national magazines. Nationals often have local sections with local
advertising and sometimes have a difficult time selling all of that
space. These ads can come up very quickly with a tight deadline to
meet, which is why ad salespeople turn to big advertisers to fill the
spaces-- the big guns will have ready-made ads and cash to supply the
salesperson. Get to know your ad rep and tell him or her that you are
willing to take on remnant space at the last minute. Have your ad
designed and ready to go beforehand and a quick way to get the money
to pay for it into the hands of the ad representative.
Magazine Advertising Guide for Small ISVs
"Promoting Your Business"
Tips on Negotiating Rates
Remnant Space Advertising
place ads small magazines
rate card negotiate
small magazine advertisements negotiating
tips negotiating magazine ads
If you need any additional clarification, let me know and I'll be glad
to assist you.