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Local Newspaper Adverts: Are they really worth it?

Have you been feeling guilty about not advertising your small business? or have you taken out ads with local newspapers, which have had minimal / poor results?

As a small start up ourselves, and as a design business, we deal with start-ups across Dublin and Wicklow on a daily basis. From creating their logos to their full branding identities. We feel, after witnessing many start-ups jump straight in to newspaper advertising and not utilising what skills they might already have for marketing, that it’s time to let everyone know what we think about overpriced advertising!

Until you have at least a four-figure budget to spend (for front cover ads etc) newspaper advertising isn’t the most cost effective solution for your small business. Instead, let’s look at what you can do to attract prospects, convert them to customers, and build your business without having to spend your hard-earned cash on advertising.

Dream Big, Think about Clever Marketing, Not Newspaper Ads

Placing ads strategically can be one tactic you use in your overall marketing efforts, but — as mentioned above — until you have serious money to spend, your advertising won’t make a dent at all. Most local newspapers are free these days, and basically full of adverts, with not much engaging content, or repetitive stale news which you have heard or seen online days before.

Stop wasting your businesses money.

Do you think your 3inch squared ad, that you have spent circa €250* (average price for coverage size locally) on is anywhere near as effective as a cleverly designed paid online marketing campaign? Newspaper salespeople love to boast about their circulation numbers, which is great, but really do you think if they print 10,000, 20,000 or 45,000 of their newspaper that every single one of them is read from cover to cover?! No, we don’t either!

Times have changed, and today we’re all bombarded by advertising messages. We’ve developed “ad filters” in our brains that eliminate the majority of these messages as a survival mechanism. The best use for most of these papers nowadays is for starting the fire at home!

Rather than spending your businesses hard-earned money adding a drop or two to the roaring stream of advertising messages, develop these valuable techniques instead. They both rely on the idea of pulling in prospects and not pushing out advertising messages.


Create a Facebook Page for your business, if you don’t have one already, and share resources relating to your type of work. Share links to interesting articles, videos and other material that will help your clients or future clients with their challenges. This type of posting will create traffic for your website, which when a customer might have come to read an article such as this one, might browse around the rest of your site and see what else you offer.

Your posts can be scheduled ahead of time so you can put together a week’s worth of information in one sitting. Plan ahead, it will make it easier in the long run. Interact directly with your clients and listen to their voice. Why not use some of the €250 your were willing to spend on that 3inch squared ad, and promote your posts? You could have your own direct circulation reach of over 500,000 people, easily.

Use Twitter to share links. If you’re on Twitter and have built up some followers, share links to information they’ll enjoy.


If your business already has a website, start creating engaging news articles, or a blog section. If you’re willing to commit to writing at least every couple of weeks, a blog is a flexible platform to share information. Plus, you own it 100%, unlike social media platforms where the rules may change from one day to the next. Your posts can share resources and knowledge that will help your clients consume what your business offers.

Create a monthly or bi-monthly email newsletter (anything more than this is overkill!) using services such as Mailchimp. Building an email list and sending out valuable information on a regular basis is a wonderful way to keep your business in front of your prospective clients without bombarding them with advertising messages. It takes commitment, but if you share both information and valuable links — it hopefully won’t take much time to produce.


For many small business owners, word of mouth is key. Your best prospects come to you already “warmed up” by glowing recommendations they’ve heard from their friends, colleagues and family members.

If this is your situation, why not make the most of it?

Find out who your “networking” customers are. Ask those customers who always seem to help you spread the word if they’d be willing to take it up a notch. Here are some ideas:

  • Give them some business cards or company brochures and ask them to spread them around
  • See if they’ll post about doing business with you on Facebook so their friends see the recommendation
  • Offer them a discount for each new customer they bring you
  • Give them exclusive reward or discount cards they can give to their friends
  • Take Your Marketing Into Your Own Hands

So remember, the next time that newspaper advertising rep calls with the “special deal” on the 3 inch two-line ad in their paper/firelighter, tell her you’ve found a better way.

Don’t spend money by wasting it. Spend time building a referral network and creating valuable information that will be more effective than any ad could be.

If you are looking for a hand with any of the above, or just want to drop in for a chat with us, email us today – [email protected] – we are hear to help.

Thanks for reading!

Aidan – Design Aid


Greystones Harbour from Above

The Ultimate Facebook Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

Images are one of the most important elements when optimizing your social posts, and this is especially true on Facebook, where great visuals get a lot of attention with in the News Feed. Posts with images capture a user’s attention and entice the person to interact by liking, commenting, or sharing your post.

Outside of those super-engaging News Feed and post images, Facebook offers a plethora of visual content options, all with their own image specs. Your company’s cover photo, profile picture, ads, and more are all opportunities to make a great impression.

With the recent news that Facebook will no longer charge News Feed advertisers paying on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis when a user likes, shares, or comments on an ad. They’ll only be charged when a user clicks to visit another site, install an app, or use a Facebook-hosted app.


Facebook Image Sizes 2015

Facebook Images Sizes 2015

With thanks to the team at Make a Website Hub


Is Lobster overcooked?

Lobster. We have all seen it. We have noticed it because Lobster is a beautiful font, with its neat details, strong personality, and a large number of ligatures, carefully designed by Pablo Impallari.

Perfect use of Lobster font Photo

The font was created in 2010 and introduced to the Google font library. It started popping up on websites, on packaging, in logos and ads. No one could resist it— just ask the 14.9 million people who have downloaded the font to date! Lobster was the hottest trend. The thing with Lobster is that it is so darn appealing and easy to use. You don’t have to be a designer to make the font itself look pretty, which was Impallari’s intention, as he wrote on his website:

“By having 26 lowercase characters, that gives you more than 600 possible combinations for each letter (and around 15600 for the whole alphabet). It’s next to impossible to make it always connect seamlessly with out compromising the shape that each letter was originally intended to be.”

But is it the new comic sans?

Lobster’s fantastic usability has become a problem—Lobster has lost its vitality. It has become so popular, people have started to call it “the new Comic Sans,” which is the opposite of a compliment in the design world. Comic Sans is a casual sans serif font created in 1994 by Vincent Connare. Connare’s font was created to mimic the look of classic comic book lettering. People fell hard for the hand-drawn, friendly look of the font. Since the 1990’s, Comic Sans has been continually used in situations not intended by the designer, such as on churches, hospital signs and wine labels. Unfortunately, it looks like Lobster is wandering down the same misleading road as Comic Sans. Lobster is being abused and overused. It really struck me two summers ago while I was visiting Sweden; Stockholm had lobster fever! Everywhere I turned Lobster was smiling back at me with its cute appearance. It was devastating to see Lobster on every subway ad and in every restaurant menu, not because Lobster is a hideous font, but rather the opposite—this lovely, elegant font is becoming a parody of itself.


Nestle retro look- not good

It’s not Lobster’s fault!

As designers, it is our job to keep up with the latest trends and then use those trending elements in ways that set them apart in an aesthetically appealing way. This can be tricky, and believe me, takes practice! Designers have to be able to recognize what works and what does not. In many cases Lobster is the ideal choice. Unlike Comic Sans, the Lobster font is actually appealing, but good looks isn’t everything. When working with typography you have to follow the personality of the font (and lobster has a strong one). Lobster works perfectly fine as a retro or vintage element. And maybe we should just have kept it like that.

good usage of the Lobster font