Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

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.

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.

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.

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.).

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.

Last week we covered the first part of Janet DeGeorge’s Building Real Estate Revenue webinar, where she emphasized the importance of breaking down and analyzing your market statistics and how to formulate your print and online product packages. In this part, we’ll discuss how to redesign your Real Estate section to attract Realtors® and put the emphasis back on your local market.

Burt is a real estate agent who told me about a call he received from a telemarketer. "It was a company that was selling advertising in some kind of print and online directory," he said. "A minute or so into her spiel, she asked if I wanted to hear the ad copy they had prepared for my listing. That really took me by surprise, because I had never talked to anyone at that company before. To be honest, I had never heard of them.”

I was talking to Gloria, an advertiser who is always looking for ways to get the most from her promotional budget. "There are more marketing choices now than ever before," she said. "And one of the most important factors is that things can be connected. Some people call it integrated marketing. I can place an ad in my local paper which drives people to my website, which in turn provides more details about the product in the print ad."                                        

One means of advertising can come from hotels. It may seem hard to attract hotels to advertising in newspapers but it can benefit them a lot more than they know. One way for newspapers, to attract advertising from hotels is by showing them how many people they can reach and who their target audience is. Both the hotel and newspaper advertising department could work together. For example, the newspaper could give advertising space to the hotels at a discounted price in exchange for them subscribing to the newspaper and/or placing a stack of them in their lobby. A lot of things can be done to help promote local hotels, and increase the readership and revenue of the newspaper.

On day two of the Blinder Group/SNA Revenue Leadership Summit, Mike Blinder, President of The Blinder Group, accompanied by Howard Finberg, the Interactive Learning Director at The News University Poynter Institute, hosted a live broadcast webinar. The webinar was the third part of a series on “Bridging the Gap between Content and Commerce,” a subject every newspaper in America is struggling to tackle. The topic presented featured a comprehensive review of a successful and effective sales process based on Mike Blinder’s “humble opinion.”

I was asked to speak at the Blinder/SNA revenue summit in Chicago two weeks ago. The summit was two and a half days of revenue initiatives and participants went home with a plethora of ideas they could implement as quickly as they wanted. If you ever have a chance to go to this summit, do so. You will not be disappointed.

Yes, the art of sales does require the building relationships with our clients; but not one of love.  We need to make sure that we are building a foundation OF RESPECT! (Or as I like to say to the many reps I have trained: “You are not there to be loved, you are there to do business!”)

After the snowpocalypse of 2011 ripped through the Midwest and East Coast in February and the violent tornado-thon made for a wet and wild spring, a much-anticipated summer is finally here! And that means while you’re still hard at work, the kiddies are out of the classroom and back home for three months. Parents fear not, the local newspaper is the source for community activities this season.

Networking events provide you with golden opportunities to connect with new advertising prospects – and strengthen existing business relationships. Here are some tips to make the best use of those opportunities: