Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Holiday Season Sales

The holiday season is the perfect time for classified advertisers to bring in added revenue and create increased readership.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

When the prospects are all teeming

And the sales reps are too busy screaming

To be of good cheer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, it may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but the holiday season is the perfect time for classified advertisers to bring in added revenue and create increased readership. Celebrate with the community by developing events and special sections. While I understand it’s budget-cutting time, don’t be too stingy with your publications. People home on holiday vacation finally have the time to sit down and read through the classified section, encourage them with special sections, advertorials and interactivity to see an increase in readership throughout the year. Use this season to reinvent the concept of classified advertising in your marketplace. And, while the readers have time to peruse the section, you’re able to pursue a positive impression that will last all year. Click here for a full list of celebrations happening in December on our Business Building Calendar.

Here are some of the highlights for this month, and how you can capitalize on them with your advertising packages.

Coats and Toys for Kids Day

What it is:

While I’ve only heard of this event in Maine, launching your own collection drive with sponsorship not only brings in additional revenue to your classified department, but it also spreads goodwill throughout your community and increases your readership rates. In Portland, Maine, Coats for Kids gathered more than 38,000 coats in 2009 and over 40,000 in 2010. The holiday campaign is sponsored by the Salvation Army, and calls for community effort to help make the holiday season happier for children who might otherwise be forced to go without.

The Coats and Toys for Kids Day allows for community businesses to collaborate as collection locations during the early days of December. This year’s actual Coats and Toys for Kids Day begins on December 3, but coat donations are acceptable throughout the entire winter season, while toys should be collected any time before the start of the holidays (Chanukah begins December 20, Christmas is December 25 and Kwanza begins December 26).

How to make money:

Classified departments can sell sponsorships to community businesses to fund the program, and gather volunteers to help in the donation process. Find a charity to work with during the holiday campaign and discover the potential revenue as you promote community involvement and the giving spirit this season. Sponsors can have boxes located in their company’s facility to be used as designated drop-off areas.

Have a competition between companies to see which will bring in the largest number of donations. Simple goodwill prizes, like allowing them an honorary positioning at the time of donation gives their company a great reputation while encouraging increased donations and increased revenue for your paper. The increased revenue can come from the competition! Sell the participants ads — either at a discounted rate, or not — to encourage community members to drop off at their location. A special section can be created weekly, for the month of December, as well, to find out who is in the lead with their donations, and ads in that special section can go for a premium price.

The Sun Bowl

What it is:

This annual college football bowl game is played December 31 in El Paso, Texas. In 2010, the official title of the bowl game was renamed to the Hyundai Sun Bowl, after the Hyundai Motor Company’s American subsidiary bought naming rights to the game. The bowl game currently matches the Pac-12 Conference against the Atlantic Coast Conference. The game is contracted through CBS Sports, and will not be aired on any other network.

How to make money:

Everyone loves college football! Okay, that statement is a bit generic and naïve, but the reality is college sports have taken on a new level of stamina in the media in recent years. People can’t seem to get enough of their favorite teams. They’ll travel the country and pay thousands just to get a peek at kick-off. This year, capitalize on their passion. Just because your team may not be playing in the bowl game, it’s rudimentary to think you should skip out on advertising it.

Target the grocery stores. They’re shelves are finally restocked after the holiday crowds, now is the perfect time to focus on their products for game day. Game day specials and coupons can be implemented into the advertisement. And don’t think you can just get away with selling print! Try mobile coupons for chips or beer, or online ads that promote meat and cheese trays. These goodies can be completely separate from those available for the New Years Eve celebrations.

New Year’s Eve

What it is:

New Year’s Eve is the final day of the Gregorian calendar, observed annually on December 31. Celebrations worldwide extend through midnight of January 1, the beginning of the New Year.

How to make money:

This annual holiday is the last before a reprieve after an eventful holiday season, as it is the last celebratory holiday until Valentine’s Day in February. Again, target your local and chain grocery stores for promotions and coupons. Champaign and hors d’oeuvres are always popular for this holiday, as are any type of alcohol, including wine, rum, beer, whiskey and any mixers.

Another advertiser to target is a local park. Especially along coastal regions, but even in the heartland — among the snow — community events celebrating the conclusion of 2011 will draw attendance. Fireworks or galas are popular events, however you’ll need plenty of sponsorships to help with the costs.

You can also run an event directory, locating where the “whats” are happening. Restaurants, bars, theaters, all are places sure to be hosting celebrations. Offer premium-priced advertising within the directory, and include advertorials created by the advertiser.