When you first select the newspaper to run your chiropractic ad in, call or email the ad rep that you found from their website. Once you get a hold of an ad rep, you're going to ask for their media kit. Now they may give you this information over the phone, or by email.
Many of them will push to set-up an appointment at your office, so they can sell you on a big ad package. You don't want to set up an appointment right now. You haven't determined if this newspaper is actually going to worth your time and money.
If you set up appointments with everybody, you're going to waste all your time meeting with ad reps. You're not even sure if their newspaper is good enough to advertise in yet. And they just spent an hour of your time trying to sell you on how it is.
Let the numbers determine how good their newspaper is first; not what the ad rep says.
When you get the media kit, it's going to have some very important information in there. One of the things that you're going to look for is the number of subscribers that they have. If you're looking at a large newspaper, it's going to have subscribers for the different days of the paper. For example, Sunday's subscriber rate may, and usually is, much larger than the weekly subscriber rate.
Typically you'll see a weekly subscriber rate, a weekend, and then a Sunday subscriber rate. You will also see the number of papers that they sell through the boxes and vendors on the street. This should be a separate number and not included in the subscriber totals.
I should also mention here the coverage of the newspaper. If you're in a suburb, make sure the papers you are dealing with covers your area. Some ad reps will insist that the paper gets delivered near you, but it may turn out to be in very small amounts.
All of these numbers are important, but the main thing you want to look at is subscribers. That's what you can compare from one paper to the next.
Smaller, local papers are many times free and they're not going to have a subscriber rate. They'll simply have a distribution rate, or how many papers they throw or mail.
Typically, some of the free papers will mail these to homes and apartments. Because they have no idea how many actually get delivered by the post office, you can't always trust the numbers.
If there's too many newspapers to choose from in your area, then you should ask your patients what they read.
If you keep getting the same answer from different patients, you know that's the newspaper to be advertising in. You may want to even do a more formal survey where you ask them to fill out a short questionnaire. On the form, ask them to list the top three newspapers they look at on a monthly basis.
Just because a paper is free doesn't necessarily mean it's not a good paper to advertise in. That will depend on the quality of the paper, where your competition is advertising, and other factors in your area.
For example, one of the best return on investments I ever had was with a local, free paper. After testing major metropolitan papers and local paid papers, I wasn't getting a great return.
That's when I decided to give this more local, free paper that only went out once a week. It mailed to the businesses and homes right around my practice. As I investigated further, this paper had the best layout as far as geographically of where my patients came from. And it was free, so almost everybody in the community got it in the mail.
I wrote my ad and paid to have it run as a half page. This newspaper ended up bringing in a 15 to 1 return on investment, which was excellent compared to the larger "Paid" papers. With the large paper, I was usually just breaking even on their expensive ad space.
Using chiropractic newspaper ads to bring in quality new patients and thereby grow your practice is an effective strategy. Just remember to select the right newspaper to run in because even a good ad needs to get read before it will work.