U.S. local advertising revenue is expected to exceed $161 billion this year, and digital publishers are working hard to capture their slice of that pie. In an effort to increase the revenue generated by display advertising and sponsored content, publishers are trying brand new strategies designed to win over potential advertisers.
Despite a tumultuous beginning to the year, advertisers have largely returned to hyperlocal publishers in the hopes of reconnecting with local audiences. Many digital publishers report that advertisers who pulled back on ad spending due to Covid-19 this spring have returned in force. Additionally, local businesses that hadn’t previously advertised online are now increasing their ad budgets as a way to bring back consumers during this economically challenging time.
Local news outlets and online magazines are now among the most sought-after advertising channels for businesses looking to target consumers in their own communities. Not only do local news publishers give advertisers a way to target readers based on proximity, but their audiences also tend to be made up of highly-engaged, affluent individuals. This is the exact type of audience that most businesses are trying to target, making hyperlocal publications a desirable advertising channel.
Despite the increased interest among local business advertisers, digital publishers still have to do their part to “sell” their advertising programs. In a bid to win over potential advertisers, digital news publishers and online magazine publishers have started trying out new strategies that focus on future opportunities for growth and economic optimism.
Here are three of the strategies to win over potential advertisers that publishers are using with great success.
Top Strategies to Win Over Potential Advertisers
1. Be a listening ear.
Local businesses have been through a lot during the past six months. From statewide shelter-in-place orders to new restrictions on indoor shopping and dining, businesses are dealing with complicated regulations that can make it difficult to turn a profit. Now is the time for local sales reps to be a listening ear. Rather than pummeling business owners with aggressive sales pitches and sending out lengthy fact sheets, local sales reps should consider leaning back and letting business owners come to them with their own wishlists. What advertising products are businesses looking for right now? How could the publication better serve the needs of businesses in its own community? These are questions that local sales teams should be looking to answer as they work on ways to win over potential advertisers in this tumultuous business environment.
2. Be an alternative to the tech giants.
Local businesses spend millions of dollars advertising on Google and Facebook each year. Rather than trying to compete with global technology platforms, local news publishers and online magazines should consider focusing on what they bring to the table. Privacy initiatives have been a hot button topic over the past year, especially with the California Consumer Protection Act having now gone into effect, and more stringent online advertising laws on the horizon.
Local publishers can win over potential advertisers by focusing on what they provide that global technology platforms do not. The specifics here will obviously depend on the publication and its role in the community, but most local publishers and city magazine publishers have tight connections with local audiences, and they have the ability to reach their subscribers through multiple channels, including email, social media, and possibly even direct mail.
Although it is important to offer the latest advertising tools and a wide variety of ad formats, being able to win over potential advertisers is really about focusing on the local connections and personalized customer service that companies like Facebook and Google cannot offer.
3. Get creative with your advertising formats.
Google seems to have a lock on paid search ads and other ads that appear on websites throughout its Display Network. To stand apart, local publishers should consider increasing the types of ad formats they sell and getting creative with their other ad offerings. One example here involves sponsored content, or native content. Native content plays an important role in monetization, particularly for digital publishers that want to diversify their revenue streams and get out from underneath lackluster CPMs. Sponsored content mimics the look and tone of the publication and lives solely on the publisher’s own website. Advertisers will pay a premium for sponsored content, just as they will for inclusion in email newsletters.
The more creative a publisher can be, the better the chances of capturing new advertising clients. This has always been the case, but it’s especially true right now, as businesses are searching for authentic ways to connect with people in their own local areas.
To learn more about how to win over potential advertisers and implement the latest revenue generation strategies at your publication, connect with our team of experts at Web Publisher PRO.