Print Ads for Startup Marketing

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Category: Print Advertisements


Advertising helps you reach out to consumers and keep them  informed about new products or services. It helps to spread awareness about products or services that are of some use to consumer and potential buyers. Advertising is also a way of capturing public attention through paid messages or information which helps promote or sell a product, service or brand.


Deciding when to start aggressive advertising is a sticky topic for any company. For a start-up it can be even more tricky. Start with the why. Why do you want to advertise in a print medium? Also look at why you haven’t advertised in print media before. When you compare both lists, look to see if the reasons you should advertise outweigh reasons that you should not. If the pros of advertising are tipping the scale – then you are ready to advertise!

Since most startups do not have a money tree growing in their backyard, they will need to be careful with their marketing spend. New companies are also unlikely to have a huge following already. Start-ups spend a lot of time and money getting their company started. If they do not want to lose out on their investment, they need to get customers in. Unless a business owner plans to lose money as a business strategy, advertising would be important because customers will not magically know that they exist.

To that end, we have designed this module to help you understand why print ads are important in today’s digital/mobile era and when you should consider using print ads for your startup marketing.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Figure out whether print advertisements are worth investing in for your niche or startup
  • Figure out the right time for your startup to get into print advertisements as part of your integrated marketing strategy.


  • What makes print ads effective
  • When a startup needs to get into print ads
  • How print ads results are different for startups compared to established businesses


Figure out whether print advertisements are worth investing in for your niche or startup


Advertising can take the form of television or radio spots, placing billboards in high-traffic areas or using the Internet. Companies can also make use of print advertising, which offers its own set of advantages over other forms of media. The following are some of the factors that make print ads effective even in today’s digital era:

Unlimited Exposure:

Print media such as newspapers and magazines allow for unlimited exposure. Unlike television or radio where advertising time is scheduled, prospects have potential exposure to print ads at virtually any time. A newspaper or magazine left on a coffee table can be viewed repeatedly and at the reader’s discretion.


Print ads are less intrusive than other forms of media. Radio and television ads often interrupt programming which can sometimes be an annoyance.

Target Marketing:

Certain forms of print media allow for a high level of target marketing. Magazines, for example, tend to be highly specialized, so ads can be developed to appeal to a specific readership.

Loyal Readership:

Print media sources tend to have long-standing, loyal readership. People may read their hometown newspaper daily and may also subscribe to specific magazines for long periods of time.

Position Flexibility:

Advertisers usually have a say about where they place their ad in the publication. If the budget allows, the advertiser may choose the location that offers the highest visibility.


Imagine you are a marketing head for a proprietary fitness training startup who is  charged with the responsibility of choosing the right medium of advertisement for your startup. You are presenting to the top management about the merits of choosing a print strategy for your integrated campaign. Outline specific, measurable reasons why investment in  print ads would be worthwhile.

Imagine you are a marketing head of a two-year old startup that features organic cosmetic products that just got cleared for its first round of funding. Prepare a marketing plan that includes print marketing for your investors to review. Outline any specific magazines you would target and why those would work for your startup.


Figure out the right time for your startup to get into print advertisements as part of your integrated marketing strategy.


Startups have tremendous potential. Also, startups often have limited resources. As a result, it can be a catch-22 trying to get into print advertising in the early stages –  you need the exposure that print provides but in order to get into print, you need to spend money you don’t have!

A lot of clients approach Gainbuzz executives saying “I don’t have money to waste on print ad campaigns.” A lot of them have only dealt with digital or  email marketing before. Our agents completely understand the frustration with not knowing which marketing channel to prioritize, but we always try to explain to startups that you do not want to miss the forest for the trees! These days digital/social media marketing isn’t cheap either if you want to promote your products the right way. Start with what you have and where you are in your business process – right now!

There is no perfect time to advertise, but the sooner you start, the quicker people will start to familiarize themselves with your brand. The simple truth is that you will need to advertise to be successful. People need to know you exist. Whether you are ready for print and other integrated marketing campaigns is another story altogether. Of course this does not mean that that you should just start without planning no matter what stage of your business you are in. However, in order to become a household name, you need to start the marketing and advertising planning part at least since the first day you conceive your business. Then, as you gather funds, realistically look at the market once you have set-up shop, you can start to slowly ramp up with free or low-cost digital marketing at first. Then, once you gain traction, look into print ads, if that is your thing.

Indeed, the success of advertising for a startup might be the difference between gaining or losing momentum within your startup niche.The decision to advertise as a start-up can be a big deal. As the key stakeholder making the important marketing decisions, the utility of your effort will be aided by the addition of strategic structure.

One of the toughest jobs for any startup is to produce stellar ads without the help of a big-budget ad agency and the most important thing is to remember that you do not need money to create a powerful and an impactful message. Below are some most important tips that we have gathered over the years from working with successful startups who have used print media to gain traction:

Design for the ad environment

When magazines offer four-color display advertising and small-space shopper ads. Become familiar with the nuances of the media you choose, and design your ads to meet their specific visual and editorial requirements.

Address the right audience

Your ads should immediately appeal to prospects and speak to them in their own vernacular, including buzzwords. The ads must ring true, without the use of gender or cultural stereotypes, or exaggerated claims

Have a visual focal point

Use a single, eye-catching visual to provide the central focus. Competing visuals can make a small-space print ad or online ad appear cluttered

Create an “aha” moment

One of the most exciting parts of creating advertising is that great ads have the ability to open minds. Your ad can show your customers a new way to achieve a goal or provide unique insight.

Make something happen

It’s essential to close by providing a call to action that takes prospects to the next step, whether that means making a purchase or visiting your website to learn more. Great ads build interest, are remembered and get results.

Present a powerful benefit

Understand what your customers want that you can provide. Put your promise up front in your headline, then use your ad’s body copy to explain how you’ll deliver that benefit.


Imagine you are the marketing head of a new concept restaurant chain that features a unique  gastronomical experience. Create an integrated marketing campaign, identify which print media channel you will use to advertise your restaurant and explain why you picked that channel.


Check Your Understanding:

  • Can you explain in your own words why print media is still effective in a digital world?
  • At what stage in your startup growth lifecycle should you start thinking about advertising on print media?


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