When I first started out in practice, newspaper ads were all very popular. A well known ad “kit” was being sold that contained a handful of advertorial style full page chiropractic ads.
These were reported to bring in 60, 80 and even 100 new patients upon running them in a local newspaper. While I never received 60 patients from just one ad, I did get 20 or more the first time I ran it. Friends of mine in smaller towns got 40-60 every time they used the ad.
The reason these newspaper ads worked well was because of the way the ad looked. The ads were developed in the 1920-30’s by marketers selling books and “home study courses.” They were designed to look like editorial in the newspaper, but written to persuade the customer to take action and buy. Since the ad is a combination of an advertisement and editorial, it is now referred to as an “advertorial”.
But over the years, two things have made these ads less effective.
1. Everyone else bought the ad kits and started running them in the papers. So the ads weren’t as believable and personalized because every chiropractor in town was running the same exact ad.
2. Newspapers became less and less effective in certain markets due to the increase of internet news.
So do they still work?
My clients and I have not noticed a huge decline in newspaper ads over the years, unless everyone is running the same type ad in our area. Granted, we aren’t running the same chiropractic advertorials that came out 10 years ago either.
I’ve written my own advertorials to more closely match recent trends like decompression and fibromyalgia. I also created my own so that no one in my area would run the same ad, therefore the ad looked personalized for my practice.
And remember, the most important number to look at is your return on investment. If you spend a $1, does it come back and make you $1 or more. If newspaper ads do that, then it’s obvious you should still invest in them as part of your marketing plan.