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Riding in the back of the book.

The back pages of most computer magazines are packed solid with small ads for inexpensive utilities, add-ons, vertical market titles, and products from cottage developers. "In terms of strategy, these ads are an eccentric play," argues Jurisoft president Richard Anders. "If you've got a product with a real market, you should almost certainly be running bigger ads in media that reach your market directly."

Nevertheless, Jurisoft itself regularly runs small-space ads for its legal applications in the back of such mass-market publications as PC Magazine, PC World, and PC Week. Anders admits these ads probably don't make much immediate economic sense--"If we expected Pc magazine's classifieds to bring us lawyers, we'd be out of our minds"--but he argues that Jurisoft still derives a good deal of value from its backof-the-book campaigns.

"These ads are like scouts in the field," Anders says. "They can be incredibly effective aB a way to broaden your market research, to tell you what people might be interested in buying. And little ads can be a way to find out if you're going to make it or not with a new product, without spending a wad of money."

Anders offers the following advice on running small-space ads:

* Be a character. Because small ads compete for visibility on

extremely cluttered pages, Anders says it's essential to make your ad stand out. Jurisoft's ads typically run two columns wide--"an awkward size that sits a little funny on the page." If you're scouting for leads outside your normal market, he adds, it's usually better to avoid classified categories that are too specific. "we'd always rather be listed under word processing than under legal software."

* Look professional. "If a small ad looks junky, it's just as bad

as a big ad that looks junky," says Anders. Although Jurisoft develops copy for its ads internally, the company uses a professional designer for layout and typesetting (at a cost of $200-$300 per ad).

* Don't keep changing the copy. Retailers often rely on small

space ads to help them locate esoteric products to fill special orders, Anders points out. "The ad serves as a signpost. If we started changing the signpost all the time, people wouldn't recognize us as easily."

* Don't try to close the sale. "You don't buy a lot of real estate

in these ads to run around in," says Anders, "so you're probably better off encouraging inquiries for literature and demos than hoping to nail down Bales." To make sure this strategy pays off, however, Anders Bays a developer should have a "rigorous" follow-up process for converting inquiries into sales.

* Run big ads, too. "In the legal software market, we're a pretty

good-sized company," Anders says. To reinforce Jurisoft's visibility in the legal niche, the company places much larger ads in vertical market publications. "Besides, if your product sells reasonably well with a small ad, it's common sense that you'll sell even more with a bigger ad."
COPYRIGHT 1989 Soft-letter
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:magazine advertising guidelines
Date:Aug 1, 1989
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