Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Don’t Be April’s Fool

Find revenue generating ideas that will make you a wiz this April
Here are a few ideas to help generate new and increased revenue. Think creatively, and encourage your staff to do so as well.

With the start of the third quarter now underway, it’s time to revive your staff’s sales strategies and bring in the highest numbers of the year. Last month, you gave your staff their annual spring cleaning, this month focus on training and coaching to further extend their sales potential and their service reach. After shaking up their accounts and ensuring their dedication to their positions, it’s important that you take the time to truly sit down with each sales rep and discuss what they’re doing appropriately and where they need improvement. Furthermore, once you’ve established what needs special attention, assign individualized tasks to allow them progression. You can also partner staff members together to aid in the joint efforts of improving your department. Surely, this sounds like a lot of work, but to ensure increased revenue this quarter, you must advance your staff’s abilities, and the only way to do that is by training and coaching.

This month, beyond the training, we’ve outlined a few ideas to help generate new and increased revenue. Think creatively, and encourage your staff to do so as well. Need inspiration? Check out our Business Building Calendar for extra ideas, or keep reading to find a few suggestions to impress your advertisers

Easter Sunday

What it is:  
Easter Sunday is the day many Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection. In recent times, however, the holiday has been regarded by many as a consumerist holiday, with the decorating of eggs, sharing of chocolate and, of course, holiday sales. The Easter Sunday date varies yearly based on the lunar calendar. It is the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox in March. This year, the date falls on Sunday April 8, 2012.

Easter marks the end of the 40-day and 40-night Lenten period. When strictly observed, it is a time of fasting, penance and prayer. Today, it has been accepted by the general public as a time for sacrificing or giving up something — like coffee, chocolate, alcohol, etc. The last week of Lent contains Good Friday, marking the Crucifixion of Christ, and Easter Sunday, the day that he was said to have risen from the dead.

Many churches hold special services on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. It is the most attended church service all year, closely followed by Christmas services. Although Easter Sunday is not a federal holiday, several businesses may be closed or, conversely, may offer a wide array of sales and discounts. Many aspects of public life are not affected and are simply not any different to any other Sunday in a year.

Coinciding with the spring equinox, which is also a time for celebration and festivals, Easter is often associated with the imagery of the re-birth of nature, the return of fertility to the land and the birth of many young animals. This seasonal relationship is responsible for the images we most closely associate with Easter, like eggs, both real and manufactured; nests; lambs; and, of course, bunny rabbits.

How to make money:
The most popular way for classifieds to generate revenue with this holiday is to incorporate eggs, the Easter bunny and other signs of the season. This way, car dealerships, real estate agencies or recruitment ads can appeal to the population at large and still offer Easter Discounts. This year, offer a mobile Easter Egg Hunt for your readers. A car dealership or other large-scale advertiser could be the sponsor, and donate a large prize. In previous years, I’ve seen some dealerships give away cars or even car care — like free oil changes, tire rotations or the like. The hunt can be sponsored by multiple advertisers, as well. Readers can visit each location to receive a short code that will lead them to their next destination. This way, not only are the consumers visiting the marketer, the advertiser is also able to offer special discounts exclusive to participants.

Another thought for the Easter season is to run a church directory. This smaller market share can provide your paper with useful information for your community, as well as obtain new potential advertisers for their future events (like Church-sponsored yard sales, as the garage sale season is about to commence). Run service times, locations and special events — like a post-service Easter egg hunt or community dinner.


Preservation Week

What it is:
Preservation Week is sponsored by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association. Although this year merely marks the second annual observance of the event, the ALCTS and ALA are working hard to spread the word. Preservation Week takes place during the week of April 22-April 28, 2012.

Preservation Week includes libraries, museums, archives and other organizations — like your community’s Historical Society or Preservation Society — that work endlessly to preserve cultural history. In the U.S. there are over 4.8 billion artifacts which are held in public trust by more than 30,000 archives.

During Preservation Week, organizations, libraries in particular, all over the country host events and activities that show what the community can do, individually and combined, to preserve the cultural collections. With a prevalence of natural disasters or other forces threatening our communities and lifestyles in recent generations, some 2.6 billion accounted-for items are not protected by an emergency plan. And, 1.3 billion of these are at risk of being lost all together.  If there are billions of at-risk items in our heritage institutions, then there could be upwards of a trillion at-risk items being held by the general public.

How to make money:
Work with your local libraries to advertise the events and activities they’re planning this year. If they’re not planning to actively participate in Preservation Week, encourage simple events to boost membership to the libraries.

Another source important to reach out to is your local Historical/Preservation Society. Most communities have an established group, even if they’re not well known within the community. In this case, that makes advertising in your classified section even more relevant and important.