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advertiser tips

The Sparkler is our monthly-or-so e-newsletter. Every Sparkler includes an advertiser tip. We think they're rather useful so we have gathered them up into one place and hereby offer you our top advertiser tips. The list will be added to on a monthly-or-so basis, so do come back!

If you'd like to subscribe to The Sparkler, or see our archive of previous editions, click here.
 

tip 1   

• make sure your answer-phone has a personalised message recorded on it. If our readers try to phone you but only hear a generic message they won’t be sure they have got through to the right person. Sometimes people need to feel quite brave to make an initial call about a therapy or treatment they need, if they are thwarted so soon they may not try again. 
 

tip 2         

• Advertising works best by repetition. If you have a limited budget its often better to take a series of smaller ads rather than have one big ad in one issue only. And, conveniently, our 4 issue deals are the cheapest way to buy ads in The Spark – click here for more about repeat ads and repeat ad prices.
 

tip 3

• Your title is important! Those first few words in bold at the beginning of your ad make your first impression, so use your opportunity to catch the eye of the reader - if you have a USP (unique selling point), highlight it. Whether your title is matter-of-fact, quirky, scientific or down-to-earth, think about the impact you want to make and use those words to make your potential clients want to read more.
15max & 30max ads can have up to a 5-word bold title; 60max & 90max ads can have up to 7 words in bold at the beginning of the ad.
 

tip 4

The Spark Listings are those neat A-Z ad entries at the back of the magazine. All listings ads conform to our House Style
• uniformity makes the ads easier on the eye and easier to read
• clear house style makes ad booking consistent and fair
• simplicity allows us to keep costs to a minimum, for us, and therefore for you.
Sometimes we might sound pedantic in our sticking to House Style, but we’re not trying to be jobs worth’s, honest, we’re aiming to be equitable to all our advertisers. Read more about House Style here.
 

tip 5

• A picture says a thousand words! If you’re a counsellor or therapist a warm friendly-looking head & shoulders photograph works really well in a Header ad; it literally gives your ad a human face and may give readers more confidence to make a first approach.
 

tip 6

• Take advantage of our section headings! By giving you a section to put your ad in we’re actually give you a bit of a freebie – a headstart to your ad – and you don’t need to repeat yourself – for example if your ad is in the ‘craniosacral therapy’ section, you might not need to put the words ‘craniosacral therapy’ as the title of your ad – and when you’re paying for a word count every little helps - that’s 2 words you could perhaps use better elsewhere –‘qualified’, ‘insured’, ‘excellent’ or ‘mind-blowing!’ are all possible alternatives!
Full list of our sections here, and counselling & psychotherapy sub-sections here.
 

tip 7

• Make your words count! All our listings ads have the same format – the contact info is at the bottom of the ad in bold. Our readers know this, so phrases like for further information, to find out more or please contact/ring/call are unnecessary, as are the words tel, email or website– our readers will recognise the format and know to what you are referring – so do yourself a favour, don’t use them - save your wordcount to highlight the benefits/qualities/uniqueness of your business/service.
 

tip 8

• Many advertisers choose to invest their money into their online presence – websites are great resources which allow you to go into real detail about who you are and what you offer. So far, so sensible. But how will your potential clients know where to find you? Some will know your name, some will be looking for your specific service. But many others know they are looking for something but are not sure what. That’s where The Spark comes in.
People love to browse our listings ads – full of services, products and therapies you can’t find anywhere else. They enjoy reading our display ads, thinking one day they will treat themselves, or invest in training or personal development, or improving their home. Our readers are thinkers - they imagine, they dream, they research.
Your ad in The Spark may inspire them to look you up online but you have to tell them something and give them good reason to want to find out more. A web address on its own may not be enough to tempt people to make the effort to look you up – use your Spark ad to let our readers know what you do and how it will benefit them.
So make the most of your online presence and advertise it in the real world too! (not forgetting that all ads go online for free too – so double whammy with The Spark!).
Info about our online-only ad options here.

tip 9

• This might sound obvious, but we think it’s worth a reminder – make it easy for your potential clients/customers to get in touch with you! Offer as many options as you can – some people don’t like phones (especially if they’re feeling nervous) or don’t like to call mobile numbers, some people don’t like emailing, some people don’t have access to the internet so can’t look at your website. Don’t hide yourself away - give people as many alternatives as you have room/word-count for in your ad and be welcoming when they get in touch. If you’ve taken the step to advertise, take another step and let everyone know how to find you!

tip 10

Check out the readership on that! Some publications claim that they can reach up to 20 readers an issue – that’s just ridic! At The Spark we try to be realistic (and honest) about what we offer: we reckon that the 30,000 or so copies we print each issue are read by around 100,000 people locally, that’s an average of 3 readers per printed copy. But did you know that your ads are seen by many, many thousands more people? Our website receives around 2,000,000 hits a year (or half a million an issue if you prefer) where your ads all appear for free, and thousands of people read the magazine online too. In the first three weeks that the winter issue was out almost 19,000 people read it online! That’s a huge number of potential customers you could be reaching with an advert in The Spark.
So when you take out an ad, whether its with us or with someone else, ask how many readers your ad will reach.

tip 11

So you’ve got an ‘ology? We know it’s taken you years of time, sacrifice and dedication to gain your qualifications and you are right to be proud of them. However many readers won’t know an ICCH from an MTI, an MBBS from a MNCS, or even a Dip or a DipHE from a Cert or a BSc. If you have a listings ad you are working within a specific word count; there might be better things to offer than a long list of clumps of letters. ‘Fully qualified’ might be enough, and if your potential clients want to know more they’ll ask you, or you’ll list them on your literature or on your website. Some professional bodies require you to mention your qualifications, and of course we’re not telling you to ignore that, but we do recommend you consider what will mean most to your potential clients.

tip 12
• Get an answerphone! Did you know that every issue, a day or two before we go to print, we ring every single listings ad in the magazine to make sure the phone number is correct? We understand that for many people their Spark ad is a significant investment, and often their only means of advertising for the quarter, so we want to get it right. But we are always surprised at how many of the numbers we ring just ring... and ring... and ring... no answerphone. We don’t know if we’ve got through to the right person or not. And if we don’t know, your potential clients won’t know. Record a message - serious, upbeat, quirky, factual - that’s up to you – but let your customers know that you are ready and willing to get back to them – you could be losing business if you don’t (and you won’t know if your Spark ad is working for you).

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