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3 Ideas to Make Meaningful Connections with Advertisers - 3/3/2015 -

3 Ideas to Make Meaningful Connections with Advertisers

Here’s how to power up your ad sales through an affection for connection.

By Sean Soth

How did you check the weather today? Did you have an app on your smartphone, tune-in to the TV, the radio — or maybe you just poked your head outside? The way we connect to the information we need continues to evolve and improve, almost daily. As member-based organizations, the way you connect your audience to content, ideas, even each other is critical in creating value.

Association value also helps attract and retain advertisers, but with more marketing options than ever, staying viable is not always easy. Your team is competing with not just other publishers, but also internal marketing priorities for each advertiser. Here are a few ideas to help your business development team connect with advertisers:

1. Highlight unique value. How does your association help its members win? Is this an idea or message your advertisers can contribute to or get behind? If so, help your advertising contacts understand how your association value can serve their objectives as marketers. Advertisers want to help their customers win also. Share why your members value your association and its products and services, and help your advertising customers with a program that aligns with these ideas.

Quick Take: What is your association best at and why? Help advertisers participate in this idea, and you will gain business and alignment.

2. Give your products air support. Can you advertise your advertising options? Yes! How can we expect our advertising clients to invest in the opportunities to reach our audience if they have not experienced the value of those options themselves?

Quick Take: Connect with your advertisers and prospects regularly through association news, digital subscriptions, and regular communication. Signed someone new? Welcome them to your community with a post or highlight in an upcoming news release.

3. Know why and what. Sure, you might know what your advertiser does, the products or services they have. However, a great question to ask is: "Why do your customers choose you over other options in the marketplace?” Follow this up by gaining a better understanding of what tools your advertiser is using to connect with its own customer base. Gaining an understanding of how your advertisers create customer engagement on their own will help you position the best packages and products in your portfolio.

Quick Take: Outline all the options in your media portfolio, and provide one sentence on why your members find this resource important. Take it one step further by asking your members to share an experience they have had with your products (website, magazine, meeting, etc.) — not in a survey, but ask them to provide real feedback. Once you invest a little time in "why” your advertising options are valuable, it will be easier to match them to advertiser needs.

Customer engagement is more important than ever. Take the time to build the right connections with your advertisers, and invest in those relationships throughout the year. No doubt, you will help advertisers meet their objectives, while improving the financial health of your programs and media options.

Sean Soth is co-founder of Webvent, Inc. and president of Hi-Fidelity Media, Inc. He is also a member of Association Media & Publishing’s Annual Meeting Committee. Interested in more ad sales and association revenue topics like this one? We invite you to join as at Association Media & Publishing’s Annual Meeting, June 15-17, 2015 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC.


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