Don't Underestimate the Power of Paper

There's no doubt the internet has dealt a huge blow to print advertising over the last decade. But did you know bridal publications are still thriving?

Head down to almost any newsstand and you'll find Brides Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, Bridal Guide and more; all stuffed with scores of ads in every issue.

Why? It seems that no matter how social media-savvy brides are these days, they still respond to what advertising experts call "tactile marketing." Women enjoy looking at wedding cakes, bridal gowns, engagement rings and wedding decor on pages they can touch, dog ear and show to their friends or fiánce. Think of it as scrapbooking for millennials. And face it, those beautiful images are a lot prettier in a large format compared to the tiny screen of a smartphone.

Of course, few of us can afford to plunk down tens of thousands of dollars for advertising in these giant national magazines. But there are a handful of local magazine options that are distributed around Albuquerque, Santa Fe and even farther north and south.

If and when you decide to advertise, here are a few tips from the experts that we heard at the annual Wedding MBA conference in Las Vegas last month:

• Know your competition. Surprise - it's usually not another business, but brides, grooms or their family members who think they can do the same quality of work that you can. Your ad should create in the reader a perceived need for an expert like you.

• Likewise, leave the photography and ad design to the experts. If you want to look like a professional, use a professional photographer and designer to help build your ad. Many publications will offer those services to their advertisers at little or no extra cost.

• Sell with emotion. Don't get stuck in the details, whether it's cake ingredients, sound equipment, origin of flowers or gown material. Brides will respond best to how your product or service will make them feel. Appeal to their eyes, then their hearts will follow.

• Make it easy for them to reach you. Readers may not take the time to hunt for your phone, website or email if it's in tiny type at the bottom of your ad. Make sure your contact information comes across "loud & clear" in every ad.

• Less is more. Once you've determined what text you want in your ad, go back and cut it in half. A powerful ad should leave some questions unanswered, so potential customers will contact you directly for more information.

• Don't be afraid to use fear as a motivator. Remember your DIY competition. Wedding photographers, try, "Uncle Bill takes great vacation pictures, but can you trust him on your most special day?" Cake shops, how about "Aunt Mary bakes delicious cakes, but can she feed 100 in one afternoon?"