We hear a lot of whining from local media markets these days.
Publishers still want to "protect" print revenues.
Sales reps complain about training gaps, and worry about fulfillment after the sale of digital products.
Advertisers are perplexed about the plethora of choices, and the lack of a single solution that will address their digital marketing needs.
That last item is, and always has been, the key for local media companies looking to survive and thrive for the next five years and beyond.
Local media companies, especially newspapers, are uniquely situated to be the primary provider of digital marketing products in every local market across the land. That's because they have the deep relationships with many local businesses that competitors lack.
To this day, however, publishers are guilty of selling what they have, and not what the advertiser needs. That opens the door for every ilk of competitor, which these days are led by directory publishers, national Internet companies including Google, Facebook and Yelp, and local television stations.
The only antidote, and the only key to thriving in today's local market landscape, is to quickly and forcefully position your company as THE "full service digital provider" in your market. You have to not just say it, but live it.
You and your sales teams need to stop joking that you are "dinosaurs" or "still trying to learn this digital stuff." At the very least you should be reinforcing to your advertisers that you are "being trained to be real digital experts." That is the message that will resonate with your advertisers and build their trust in you as their guide to solve and exploit the digital arena.
Many of you are still offering banner ads on your websites with print ads in your newspapers, and calling it "multimedia." Your advertisers could care less about multimedia; what they are seeking is smart digital solutions. "Multimedia" is about your needs, not theirs.
Here are the digital product lines you must have in place right now:
SOCIAL STREAMING. Social media was flat out oversold to local advertisers over the past ten years. The result was that they spent time and effort building social presences, especially on Facebook, which never delivered meaningful return on investment. More recently, Facebook's changing rules regarding business pages have reduced the value of a "like" to roughly zero. You need to walk your advertisers through all this, but you also have the opportunity to present a magnificent solution. Solutions like the social streaming widget offered by Friends2Follow immediately put every social post on steroids, by displaying them to the thousands of local readers already coming to your media website for local news every day.
AUDIENCE EXTENSION NETWORKS. Also known as behavioral targeting, reach extension, geotargeting, search retargeting, national network ads, or even programmatic...all these labels refer to using a national network of websites to target the best prospects for your advertiser. Since these networks often utilize top name brand sites, they are by nature sexier to your advertisers than banners on your own website. Get used to it. More importantly, because geotargeting across national sites is a key feature of most programs, this product line gives you new found power with advertisers who have multiple locations, regardless of whether all those locations happen to fall within your newspaper footprint. To get started quickly contact a vendor that specializes in the needs of local newspapers such as CWR Digital.
EMAIL MARKETING. Publishers have largely overlooked or abandoned email marketing for third party advertisers, but demand remains fairly high across local markets. You will not sell this line to hundreds of advertisers, but if you don't offer this line over time you will yield market share to competitors. To avoid a ton of fulfillment work, consider outsourcing to an expert vendor such as Presslaff Interactive.
TEXT BASED PROMOTIONS. A subset of your advertisers are wide open to text based programs because of the lure of geo-fencing, and quick measurable results. Here again we recommend finding a good vendor that can help you scale your efforts quickly and seamlessly.
WEB DEVELOPMENT. Perhaps the most cantankerous of all product lines to manage, but if you don't offer the full gamut from simple templated sites to the most advanced database driven ones, you are yielding enormous market share, not to mention control of the advertiser's digital efforts, in your market. Stop making excuses and find a solution that works.
FACEBOOK ADVERTISING AND GOOGLE ADWORDS. Two different product lines, but they are very similar in what they mean to you. Low margin lines that often require carefull fulfillment and maintenance. We could ignore them except for the fact that they work! If you don't handle these for your advertisers they will bypass you and go direct to these big national brands. The model here is to buy advertising on the big platforms, and mark up the cost to cover your services to the advertiser. You're a digital agency!
If you want to talk more about any or all of these, or better yet if you want to schedule a full blown digital sales campaign to accelerate your positioning in your local market, call us today. We currently have some open weeks in the fall of 2016.