Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

As the social medium has added a plethora of platforms for advertisers and consumers alike, the necessity to constantly communicate has also risen. Companies that use social media as a primary source of connecting with their consumers have found that while the need to respond in real time across multiple medias may feel time consuming, the benefits of using the technology far outweigh the hassle of finding the time to do it. But, some of your clients have yet to figure that out, and are opting to avoid the social media arena. Help them out by making them more social. Offer an upsell to capitalize on the socialization of your advertisers, and to help consumers connect with local businesses with the click of a (Like) button.

Foursquare is a location-based social media network that uses smartphones to check-in using GPS coordinates. It allows consumers to share insider info for their favorite hangouts. With the rise in popularity, Foursquare has begun to shift into the world of real estate. Foursquare can help Realtors® establish a brand presence, connecting them to potential buyers and the community. Setting up a Foursquare account and using the ideas listed below will offer your clients a well-rounded, comprehensive social media presence.

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!

Creating and maintaining relationships with advertisers can be done in a multitude of ways. Actual connection and social media are two of the most predominate facets of communication in modern times. Often though, as the digi-era ages on, the reality of relationships becomes distorted. Some reps have confused the idea of digital intimacy for true intimacy. The ease and convenience of connecting to others online has given reps the idea that these relationships are more intense and more committed than they really are. These reps “run the risk of alienating the people who populate our daily lives in pursuit of intimacy with our online friends. We each have only so much intimacy to go around and we need to make sure we’re investing it for our own maximal benefit,” according to While I’m not suggesting neglecting the benefits of social media, I do recommend you proceed with caution, and remember the value in human interaction.

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.

Today, social media is a must for advertising local businesses. Using social media as a marketing strategy can certainly be successful when managed correctly, but some small businesses still have fears regarding the big step it takes to give gives them global visibility. It is your job as a sales representative or social media manager to ease your clients’ worries by demonstrating that you will be with them every step of the way in creating a successful and comprehensive online presence.

In the Brainworks-sponsored webinar, Training Classics founder and president Diane Ciotta emphasized the importance of recognizing the needs of an advertiser and steering the conversation, and sale, toward helping the advertiser attain that need as opposed to simply attempting to make the sale. She said the first step was to understand the wants of an advertiser, and how they differ from the need of the advertiser.

As we ring in the New Year, there’s no doubt that many of you are making resolutions to reinvent yourself. May it be disposing of a bad habit — like smoking, or squeezing away the inches of your waistline — ‘tis the season to pledge to your personal wellbeing. But why stop there? This year take the initiative to resolve to reinvent the leadership in your sales department.

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.

Although you may know what top of the mind awareness (TOMA) is and why its necessary in marketing, your clients may not. While this strategy may seem obvious — the first business thought of is the first business sought — presenting this idea to your prospects and coming back with some proof may help you land them as a client. For example, you are trying to sell space to an auto repair shop. They already have a relatively steady client base, but could, of course, service more customers. What tools do you have to show them that advertising with your paper is the way to go? TOMA. Show them how other local businesses in their vertical are thriving despite a frustrating economy because their brand is at the top of everyone’s minds.

Last year, we ran several articles talking about the importance of training or coaching your call center’s sales staff. As the new year approaches, let’s take a look back through the best practices found after months of research. These four tips come directly from you. Some through conference lectures, some through discussion, all through careful evaluation of the changing dynamics in the newspaper classified advertising sales industry. Here’s hoping for another year of helpful hints and techniques “perfected.”

As the first quarter of the fiscal calendar year draws to a close, classified advertising departments are facing budget cuts and restructuring to accommodate for any losses. These annually made limitations coupled with a stagnant — or worse, faltering — revenue stream can lead to post holiday blues, and a dwindling morale within your organization. As the cuts are made, futures are uncertain, and stability is lacking. Proactively fight against the necessity for decreases by increasing your — and your sales staff’s — knowledge of procedure and application of techniques that are sure to combat a stagnant market.

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.

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.).

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.

remember chatting with a chemist who works for a large international research company. He mentioned that he and his coworkers make numerous presentations at conferences. "It's always a pressure-packed situation," he said, "because our reputation is riding on the outcome, and a lot of research money is at stake."

He explained that a lot of audiences try to punch holes in their research. "Preparation is everything," he said. "If we're not ready with the right answers, a project can die right there on the spot."

Sounds like a sales presentation, doesn't it? Fumble a question, and lose a sale.

Though cold calling is an integral part of newspaper advertising departments, it’s a skill that can be difficult to grasp. For that reason, many newspapers make the contentious decision to script their cold calls. Scripts are a useful tool when starting in the business, juggling multiple promotions and launching a new product. So how do you script a successful cold calling script? In the November/December 2011 issue of Above the Fold Magazine, we explored the different ways of capturing an advertiser’s attention along with a few industry-tested opening lines. Today, we’re expanding beyond opening lines and looking at some call center scripts that are currently in action.

Janet DeGeorge concluded her Getting Back Your Recruitment Advertising webinar with training tips and sales techniques. She said in order to successfully sell your new recruitment packages, sales reps need to be fully trained on all aspects of the job. To ensure that, train your reps on the following: The various decision makers in the recruitment vertical, including HR managers, temp agencies and recruitment agencies; Advanced relationship building; Design and copy writing; Full online training basics; Understand local marketing stats; How to sell against competition; Overcome objections; How to prospect for new business.

Let’s face it. Recruitment advertising is lower than it has been in years. This once booming vertical is making you lose sleep. You have less reps selling recruitment and your current strategies aren’t working. But here we come to save the day! In the Brainworks-sponsored webinar, Janet DeGeorge outlined the critical steps you need to take to Getting Back Your Recruitment Advertising.

Day one of the 61 Annual WCAA Conference concluded with Getting Social, a panel of industry experts sharing their strategies for monetizing social media. First and foremost, get on Facebook. There was unanimous agreement among the panelist and audience members that every sales rep should have a Facebook presence that is professional. Many encouraged having a separate Facebook account for strictly business purposes, even though this goes against Facebook regulations. The panel went on to showcase how to use social media as a sales tool as well as how advertisers should be using it and how newspapers can monetize it.

On Day One, self-coined “Mr. Schmooze,” aka Brett Hunsaker, greeted the lunch diners to a presentation on “Three Ways to Develop Business Relationships.” Embracing the philosophy that the key to making sales is building relationships, Hunsaker encouraged everyone to look at their Rolodex, or customer database, and see how strong these relationships are. He suggested looking at each and every customer and asking yourself: “How well do I know them?” “Do I know their birthdays?” “Do they know mine?” “What about family names, personal interests and organizations?” And then, look at their decision-making power and position in the company. Hunsaker urged everyone to go home and create customer profiles, complete with each contact’s personal bio and information on their company.

“If people contact us, and they know what kind of ad they want to buy, we know how to take their money and process their order. Plus we sometimes get them to let us add a few extras to the ad.” That was the core plan for success in classifieds at most newspapers just a few years ago. Amazingly, it worked pretty well. Almost any new thing we decided to try was accepted, and revenue grew year after year.

Cold calling classified advertising potentials is both efficient and effective in practice when looking to make an initial contact; however, capturing the attention of the advertisers is a challenge that all classified sales reps are faced with. This quick and “easy” method of reaching potentials can produce immediate results, and the way that you call could dictate the results, depending on how you conduct the conversation.