This is a problem.
First, if you make no offer, the reader has no incentive to buy from you. If all you want is to let them know you're around, that's fine... I guess. (See below for my unfiltered thoughts on this.)
Second, how can you know if your ad is getting you any business? (Read on...)
If you want to know for certain if your ad is 'working' you need to have a way to measure the response it gets. You need to urge your reader to take an action (call you, come to your business, place an order, sign up on a website, whatever...)
This is why businesses will say “mention our ad, and get X off your next visit / purchase/ etc...”
Coupons are great for this.
Every customer that clips a coupon is a customer that saw your ad and reacted to it. Would they have come to your business without the coupon? Maybe. But you know absolutely that they saw your ad, and it worked.
If you vary your coupons each ad, and keep track of how many people use them, you can get a clear idea of how much income you make on each ad you run.
And you can easily tell if the ads are worth your money or not.
This removes the guesswork out of advertising, and turns it instead into a science. You don't have to wonder what the best way to reach your customers is. You will know.
If you have three publications, and only two produce results... you can drop the third, and put that money to use on better ads for the publications that already perform well for you. Or you can try and find a third that works...
Bottom line, you can stop wasting money on pointless marketing.
Now, I hear a lot about the value of 'exposure' and how marketing that can't be measured still contributes to overall customer 'awareness.'
This is bullshit.
The people who advocate for things like 'exposure' and 'brand awareness' are selling you a line of crap. Either they're unaware of how to produce measurable marketing, or they're afraid to have their work judged on actual results.
Either is inexcusable.
Take the guesswork out of advertising. Put in that last little bit of effort and include some sort of device to track the results of your ads.
Note: Coupons have been around forever because they work.
If this all sounds good, but you don't know where to begin - call me. I'll help you write ads that really work. (And you'll be able to measure the results for yourself!)