Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

When we last saw Trevor Collins, we discussed how was revolutionizing The Fayetteville Observer’s interaction with the local car market, generating an astonishing amount of leads in very little time. Today, he is happy to report that dealerships are continuing to see an increase in leads, and the analytics show that these leads are mostly coming from relisting sites. Inspired by the results of this new partnership, he has decided to undertake another exciting enhancement to the transportation vertical. This spring, The Fayetteville Observer will be adding the EZAdsPro Advertising Platform to their list of offerings. This will allow the paper to offer dealerships the ability to market and manage their inventory through one easy-to-use interface and includes a printed publication, social media, mobile platforms and analytics. It will also push the listings to any paper’s online partner — in the case of The Fayetteville Observer, — allowing the original listing to be relisted over and over again and to be seen in an astounding number of places. 

Newspapers in Education is a great program to spread awareness of newspapers and help educate kids at the same time. However, for the most part, it’s chiefly editorial based. So, you may be asking yourself, “What can the advertising department do to both help this program and bring in revenue at the same time?” The answer: A Design an Ad Contest. This tried-and-true contest has been around for decades, and isn’t losing steam. It simultaneously educates K-12 graders about the newspaper — and newspaper advertising, in particular — and offers new advertising opportunities.

Everyone loves free stuff, and everyone loves to snag a deal. The use of coupons and deals as incentives in businesses is not a novel idea, but incorporating these incentives into clients’ social media platforms is. As social media impacts the way we do business more and more, it’s imperative to integrate social media into your clients’ marketing strategies. One way to do that is offering deals on Facebook. Since the Facebook Fan Page has already proven to be a great “landing site” for businesses, take it one step further by using Apps to create coupons for these Pages.

Congratulations to Adam Moss, winner of the 2011 Innovative Ideas contest. His ad won the respect of his peers and received over 125 votes to make him the “Best of the Best” — and the receiver of the grand prize, an iPad!

Tumblr, an up-and-coming social media network, has made its mark on the business world. There are a couple of industries that have really taken a liking to Tumblr, like fashion, art and photography — but recently, media companies and news companies have shifted into using Tumblr. Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone Magazine and Huffington Post use Tumblr as a teaser microsite to shift traffic to their main websites. Among other benefits, this is the easiest use of Tumblr. Tumblr can be a powerful tool for newspapers to sell to local advertisers to help create microsites or “landing pages” for those who either dislike or don’t even have their own websites. Tumblr can be used to post content relevant to a company’s merchandise or be used to showcase coupons, deals or other beneficial content for your customer base.

December held impressive gains in the U.S. for automakers, leading the market into strong sales totals for the year. As the economy begins to stabilize, consumers are beginning to come out of the woodwork, trading in their old vehicles for a newer model. As long as the economic conditions continue in the trend they’re currently on, forecasters are predicting even higher gains this year!

Spring, and the end of the second quarter, is just around the corner! As we prepare for the numbers to come in, rejuvenate your sales strategy for the advertising department. Keep your department on their toes by spring-cleaning your sales staff’s accounts; reassign inactive accounts from veteran and rookie sales reps alike. 

Also, use our ideas, and come up with your own using the Business Building Calendar to find new ways to generate new and increased revenue. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box this season, the market is revolutionizing; your ideas may be the next industry changer!

There’s this nifty gadget that Facebook offers for Page administrators called Facebook Insights. Best of all, it is free to use. It’s a strong analytics tool that allows Page administrators to track demographics and trends within the Page. The Page has to have at least 30 fans in order for Facebook Insights to work. Whether you’re administering your clients’ Pages or the paper’s, this tool allows you to offer in-depth analytics for any Facebook marketing campaign.

If you have an advertiser who needs a fresh idea, consider a before-and-after approach. A typical before-and-after ad features two photographs. The one on the left shows the old situation, and the one on the right shows the new — and noticeably improved — situation.

Although this type of advertising has been around for a long time, don't make the mistake of thinking that it has outlived its usefulness. Properly executed, it can provide readers with dramatic reasons to do business with an advertiser.

As the season of love approaches, lovers everywhere are searching for the perfect gift or gesture to make their sweetie swoon. What does that mean for local businesses? Traditional Valentines Day markets will be slammed. Restaurants, florists, candy shops, jewelry stores and card suppliers will all have their hands full during this niche market shopping spree. To capitalize on this rush, think about ways that each industry can customize a marketing campaign that will boost their sales even more, and put their business at the “top of the mind” for future purchases.

Adding value to your classified advertising section is a primary goal in order to obtain the highest potential in advertising revenue. But who are you adding value for? The advertiser? The reader? What about the newspaper? All three. For the newspaper, value comes in the form of increased revenue. You gain revenue by obtaining new and increased advertising from companies in and around your local area. Obtaining those advertisers requires added value in the form of increased eyes on your product. And the number of eyes that see your product depends on the value of the content you provide for the reader. So, ultimately, in order to raise the value of your product, you must raise the perceived value for your advertiser, and the only way to do that is to add value for your readers. Readership has a direct effect on your revenue.

Ex-Monster employees Tom Daly (C.E.O.) and Keith Douglas (Executive VP of Sales) founded AppVault in 2001. They both worked at Monster during the initial phases and helped develop it into what it is today. AppVault was created with a focus on helping traditional media print companies find new opportunities for revenue growth in previously unidentified areas. Relying on over 30 years of experience in all forms of media, its expertise and passion is building multi-platform solutions that extend the advertising offerings of their partners — ranging from newspapers and magazine partners to universities — and add new streams of income to their operations.

Ed Mayer was a giant in the direct mail and direct marketing world. Throughout his career, he worked tirelessly to promote the industry and educate others. Perhaps his most famous concept is the 40-40-20 rule, which states that an effective marketing campaign is 40 percent list, 40 percent offer and 20 percent creative.

In other words, 40 percent of success depends on targeting the right audience (mailing list), 40 percent depends on the offer you make to that audience (incentive to buy) and 20 percent depends on the creative execution (copy, design, color, paper stock, format, etc.).

Today, most advertising departments are contracted to outsource their online recruitment advertising with Monster, Career Builder or another site of the like. Although these vendors may prove helpful in return versus expenditure ratios for your department, by allowing them to rule your recruitment section, you’re giving away valuable assets for your sales. Prior to creating any reformed strategies, be sure to check your company’s contract with the recruitment-listing vendor you’re using.

With the holiday season all but over and the freezing temperatures still soaring through the air, warm up your sales generation by creating new opportunities for advertising revenue.  It’s no shock that sales have been a bit stagnant in recent months as the post-[holiday]-season is one of the hardest sales period’s to accommodate. Toss in a game changer this February to celebrate popular and obscure holidays alike using tips and ideas from our Business Building Calendar.

On October 10, 2011, Freedom Communications announced their partnership with Gabriels Technology Solutions and unveiled a new real estate iPhone app, which they plan to release across their portfolio of 27 daily newspaper markets. When I met Dave Hiebeler, Freedom’s National Real Estate Manager, at the 2011 Western Classified Advertising Association conference in San Diego, Calif., he excitedly pulled me aside to show off the new app that had just launched. We quickly set up a time when we could talk further.

Bridal shows and expos are an increasingly popular post-holiday season trend. With love in the air, and new rings on the fingers, January is becoming one of the most popular months for sponsors to host the shows. Whether you newspaper is garnering the sponsors to host the event, or you’re simply working with advertisers to create an expo worth remembering, the newspaper classified advertising department can aide in the development of unique marketing strategies that give vendors an edge above their competition.

In one of the most talked about sessions, Bob Birkentall, Real Estate Director for GateHouse Media, Inc., offered a new approach to Real Estate advertising that showcased ways to update this struggling vertical. In his presentation “Real Estate—Multimedia Packages and Partnerships That Work,” he opened with the three goals and initiatives that GateHouse is taking to embrace digital in 2012.

The issues surrounding offering free ads for private-party items is far from settled at most newspapers. In my consulting practice I get the same questions again and again, and quite often management doesn’t like my answers. Those are the managers that want to hang onto the days when we had little or no serious competition, and could profit from private-party classifieds. At most papers true private party advertising hasn’t made a significant contribution to profits in a great many years. By true private party, I mean one-time sales of personal property by individuals. Any ongoing moneymaking activities, bulk items or real estate would be excluded by this definition. The various free online sites have served as a “category killer” for profits from this area. This is similar to what happened to camera stores when discount stores started selling cameras at or below their costs. They just could not compete, and many went out of business for lack of a new strategy.

Jim Williams provided the opening comments for the 2011 SNA Classified Multimedia Conference. You might notice something a bit different this year — the addition of the word “multimedia” to the title. Williams explained that now, more than ever, classifieds are more than print — we need to focus our attention online. The addition of multimedia foreshadowed the topics that followed. The conference gave attendees a wealth of information to help improve the digital side of classifieds and aimed to give them that “one good idea” to bring back to the office Monday morning.

As we acclimate ourselves to the changing weather, changes in men’s faces are also occurring — but this month it’s for a cause. During the month of November every year, men around the globe are seen sprouting moustaches and beards as a part of Movember. With their Mo’s, these men are raising both funds and awareness for men’s health, with particular attention paid to prostate cancer and other cancers that deter a man’s lifetime well-being. This month, in honor of Movember, have your classified advertising sales department host an online contest that promotes health and wellness for men.

The calm after the storm; January is a month of retreat from the holiday season. But, with budgets slashing and sales stagnating, it’s also a rough month for newspaper classified advertising sales. People are traditionally less likely to spend in the months following the holidays, as they’re still recovering from the economic pour into the festivities prior. So both company and private party sales are down in January.

November marks the beginning of the holiday season. As you walk through your city’s streets, you’re greeted with lights, decorations and sales. The hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is starting to settle in this month, culminating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And, of course, let’s not forget that on top of that, this month we give thanks for all that is good in our lives. But there’s another, bittersweet aspect to the holiday season that is often overlooked; it brings with it nostalgic memories of childhood and, often, of those we’ve lost. Particularly, those who have recently passed within the last year. November actually paves the way for this nostalgia by dedicating the start of the month to remembering lost loved ones.

Video content is everywhere and interactivity is seemingly the new foreground for advertising. Now, auto marketers are beginning to clearly see the benefits of including the new media facet through a traditional marketplace — your newspaper. As the trusted source in advertising, incorporating video into your websites and mobile platforms allows you to increase revenue while appealing to viewers and marketers alike.