I’ve recently done some significant work in introducing and mentoring newspaper and magazine sales reps who traditionally sell print advertising on how to sell online banner advertising campaigns, both to their existing clients and to new prospects afforded by the alternative medium and its accompanying alternative audience. Often these sales reps will discover that they are freed from the usual lead prospect constraints of their primary product inventory, the print edition, because the website product has the potential to reach a different audience that the print product just never would, and thus the prospect field becomes open to different types of businesses.
After giving a casual web presentation to a group of veteran print representatives on how to sell online advertising, one man spoke up and said, “All this information is good and impressive and I get it, but I don’t know how to sell it.” He was used to going in to a client meeting, explaining the print product (in this case it is a large weekly agriculture newspaper), and leaving with a sale. I was giving them information on website traffic, numbers of impressions and unique visitors, and explaining the concept of cost per thousand impressions (CPM) rate pricing; what this group needed in addition to that information was a clear step-by-step how-to on making an online advertising campaign sales pitch, an example of what a proposal would look like, and how they can deliver the close.
Here is the five step process that I outlined.
Introduce the concept of the availability of our online product. Often you will already be visiting with a client about print advertising. Open the conversation with something like, “What about online, are you doing any advertising on the internet?” Usually a business will say they don’t know anything about it, or they’ve tried a few Google or Facebook ads but haven’t had any significant results. This is the point where you then ask about their goals for their business, what customers are they trying to reach, what message do they want to send or what kind of growth do they want to achieve in any given market – oftentimes they will provide either a demographic profile (farmers with livestock, for example) or a geographic market (people in western North Dakota, for example). The more we can find out about our advertisers’ goals, the better value (greater accuracy and better results) we can deliver for them and the more they’ll spend with us… and usually their spend will be recurring, month to month.
As you find out about their business goals and discuss their experience with online advertising, start to introduce the tremendous opportunities we have to offer with our online audience.
Illustrate your portfolio of websites (or your one website, if that’s all you’ve got) in terms of its audience demographic and traffic numbers. Example: “We have more than 7 local entertainment websites that reach over 8.9 million people every month.” View statistical details on your website’s audience demographic and traffic numbers at Quantcast.com.
– If you have a portfolio of websites, start by showing the audience reach of your entire company network of websites, across which we can deliver an ad campaign. Ad sizes might perhaps be the same across all websites, the most common being “leaderboard” (horizontal banner across top – 728×90) or “half page” (vertical banner in right-hand column – 300×600). This provides for a “run of network” sales plane across which various market targeting is afforded.
– Quantcast.com is a good provider of webpages to show prospective clients (or make a printout of it if you are unable to access the internet during your meeting).