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4 Tips to Negotiating a Lower Advertising Rate

The price isn’t really the price. The price listed on the rate card given to you is rarely the hard price.  But, before we get started, the one thing to know with advertising negotiations is that you have to be able to walk away to make these tactics work. If you absolutely MUST be in the next issue, you’ll lose some of your negotiation power. Here are a few tips to help you reduce your advertising spend.

1) Start with no.

Always shy away from the first price offered, there is typically wiggle room in advertising. This reaction alone will help with your negotiations. By starting with no, typically advertising sales people will come back with a reduced rate. Ask, “Is that really the best you can do?” Listen to the next offer; let them know you’re going to look into other options because you were really hoping for a lower rate. They will contact you to follow up often times even with a lower price or add-on offer.

2) Increase your Frequency.

If you can commit to more than one advertisement, you can typically get a lower rate, event when it’s not on the rate card. This holds true for annual publications as well. Ask if you commit to multiple years if they will give you a lower rate. Multiple commitments helps the sales person make their quota and frees up their time to focus on getting new advertisers instead of trying to renew existing clients.

3) Ask for more.

Once you’ve negotiated your price, ask for more. Media companies may be only able to drop their price to a certain rate, after all, they have to make money too. But, they may be able to offer you other benefits to improve the value of your ad such as online advertising placement, directory inclusion, a better placement in the publication, an option to use their email list for a one time campaign, a link from their site to your site (great for your practice’s SEO), or an opportunity to work with their editorial group so that the next big thing you do is published by them or you receive a mention in an upcoming blog post.

4) Delay your commitment. 

There are entire media agencies built on this concept. Waiting until close to the deadline to book, typically gives you a lower rate, especially if you have already started the conversation and told them no before. The primary income of media companies is advertising. Print advertising, like magazines, have a specific amount of space set aside for advertising, so if you can fill an unfilled space close to their sales deadline, they are likely to give you a lower rate.

The combination of these tactics will allow you to optimize your practice budget while getting perks from your media partners. It’s easier to commit to advertising when you’re confident that you are getting value from your advertisement.


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