How to Publish Freebie Ad Magazines for Fun & Profit
People are always interested in saving money. If you can develop a product or service that will help them save, you are almost guaranteed success. This report will tell you about a special type of magazine you can produce and give away, free, that will generate substantial profits for you.
The magazine is an ADVERTISING TABLOID. The magazine is made up almost completely of advertisements from local businesses, with a coupon section filled with money-saving offers from these businesses. These are fairly easy to put together. The only real work you'll have to do is a bit of leg work to get your advertisers for the first issue. The subsequent issues will get easier and easier, because your original advertisers will return to you, due to their success, and new advertisers will feel confident about advertising with you.
What if there are free ad magazines in your area already? Get a few copies of each one. Take your time to look through them all. Make a list of the things that you like and dislike in each one. You should then be able to look down your list of dislikes and find ways to improve upon the current magazines. Also, consider the type of advertisers in each one, and the group of people the publisher is marketing to. Your magazine could specialize in an area that they are ignoring. You could do one that's all restaurants, or caters to upper-income families, exclusively.
Here's the best way to start an advertising tabloid. First, think up a name. Here are some words to your brainstorming: SAVE, FREE, DISCOUNT, VALUE, MONEY, PAPER, PEOPLE'S, CONSUMER'S, COUPON, GUIDE, GUIDEBOOK. Think of words that will convey the money-saving feel of the magazine. When you come up with one (for example, "People's Free MoneySaver," then you are ready to start identifying potential advertisers.
Make a list of the potential advertisers for your magazine. Put down their name, address, phone, and type of business they are. For example, if your magazine will market to upper income people, then make a list of the recreation businesses that these families might like (marinas, bed & breakfasts, etc.), higher quality restaurants, and higher-priced retail stores. Even upper income families like to save money (they didn't get to be upper income by spending it all!). Then prepare a letter to be sent to these advertisers. This will be your first contact with them. Detail your planned publication, how they will benefit from it (it will draw new customers in and will give experienced customers an extra incentive to return), advertising rates and how you plan to distribute it (we'll cover both later in this report). Your computer will be indispensable for this. Set up a database with the business' contact information, then type your letter as a form letter in your word processor. You can then merge these and print them, then print labels for the envelopes, saving hours of time.
A good idea is to enclose a business reply postcard with your letter. Check with your postmaster for details about getting set up for business reply mail. You pay postage on the postcards, but only on the ones that get sent back to you.
An 11" x 17" paper will carry 4 regular size pages, so if you think you can sell 24 pages of ads, that would be 6 sheets, printed front and back. Therefore, if you will be getting a 15,000 circulation (a good number to work with for advertisers), you would need a quote on 6 11" x 17" pages, 15,000 copies each, collated and saddle stitched (stapled like a magazine). Divide the price quote you receive by the number of pages of advertising (24, in this example) and you will have your PER PAGE cost. You can then divide this cost into smaller increments (half page, quarter page, 1/8 page, etc.).
As the ad size gets smaller, it should also be proportionately more expensive, as an incentive to the advertiser to purchase a larger ad. Observe the rates of other giveaway advertising magazines in your area when figuring how much profit to add in above your cost. Price yours competitively and you'll do well. If your market is a more targeted one than the competition gets, you can charge a bit more. You should offer a multiple issue discount, like "advertise in three issues, get the fourth free." This will increase your advance sales.
When you talk to potential advertisers, find out if they have camera-ready ads that can be used. These are ready for the printer, and can save you the time and effort of typesetting. Most businesses will have ads pre-made, which you can insert into the master copy that will go to the printer. If they need an ad made for them, your printer should be able to help you with the typesetting.
There are a few ways you can distribute the finished magazines. First, you could deliver them door-to-door. Don't put them in the mailboxes, as there are postal regulations against that. Leave them in the customer's door instead. Hire some teenagers to help out. Or, you could have the newspaper insert them into the newspapers going to the area you want to hit. Most papers can do this. Contact them for their cost.
Bulk mailing is infinitely easier and more efficient, but requires a bit of paperwork and registration fees. If you are delivering in one zip code area, you can use either five digit presort mailing, or carrier route presort mailing. You should check with your postmaster regarding rules and fees.
Another option is to divide the copies among the advertisers and ask them to give them to their customers. Other non-advertising businesses will often agree to do this, since it will be a freebie to offer their customers. If you do this, a good idea is to put a list in your publication of all the places people can get a copy. This will make it easier for your readers to get future copies, and it will entice other businesses to act as distribution points. This can be a very successful distribution method.
In a city of 350,000 people, there can be many free advertisers. The best one has 48 pages, a 15,000 circulation and, at the start, was published every two weeks. It only took them three issues to get to the point of publishing weekly. Every issue, by my calculations, takes in around $6,000 of ad revenue. After you take the costs out, you have a profit of around $4,000 per week! And this is being run by just three guys... You can succeed in this, too! Just plan your steps ahead of time, and you'll do well!
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