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Associations Can Increase Advertising Sales ó Even in the Summertime - 6/21/2016 -

Associations Can Increase Advertising Sales ó Even in the Summertime

Getting advertisers to consider your publication is a lot easier when you deliver what they are looking for.

By Carla Kalogeridis

Summer time means schoolís out, vacation time is here, and everyone is busy making the most of the good weather with family and friends. But if youíre in charge of advertising sales, it can also mean youíre having a hard time reaching anyone to talk about what your association has to offer.

Association Media & Publishing member Sheridan offers up six ideas to help organizations increase advertising sales by capitalizing on todayís trends and giving your customers exactly what they want. These ideas will give you something interesting to talk about with customers and get them re-engaged with your associationís publications.

Even if the ideas wonít be executed until the fall, winter, or even next year, summer is a great time to talk to your customers and get new projects in the pipeline.

1. Come up with a great value-added insert. What information do you have that can be packaged into an easy-to-tear-out insert? Even a six-page insert can yield thousands of dollars in additional revenue. Create something that is a terrific resource to your readers and advertisers ó maybe even consumers ó and the insert will be a terrific draw to advertisers. Think guides, listings, and charts. What kind of reference guides would your audience appreciate? Utility and relevance is key, says Sheridan.

2. Get into native advertising. Many advertisers are abandoning flashy brand advertisements in favor of providing your members and readers with useful information. Youíre selling the attention and mindshare of your audience. The content needs to be valuable to readers. If your editorial team is involved in developing the content and editing it, it has a much better chance of being effective with readers. However, it must be obvious to the reader that it is a native ad and not editorial content, and it should be clear who is providing the content. Donít jeopardize your readerís trust by trying to make something look like pure editorial when it is not.

3. Provide ad creation services. Many potential advertisers have the budget to advertise but not to design excellent creative. Your association probably has a designer on staff or access to cost-effective freelancers. Sheridan notes that you can bridge the gap between ad concept and creative execution, you can offer advertisers an end-to-end solution in your publication.

4. Use data-driven personalization and ad targeting for print. One reason print advertising loses ground to digital is that itís easy to buy targeted, personalized advertising online. But with variable data printing, inkjetting, and selective binding, you can bring data-driven thinking to print and help your advertisers be more targeted. Understand that both the data and print creative element must be in place for this strategy to be effective.

5. Refocus your print audience and advertising. Instead of discounting your print ads, you might be able to improve your numbers by trimming unprofitable circulation. Take a look at the extra lists of people that your publication is going to and evaluate if that still makes sense. Then, focus on your content on your most engaged subscription base. You can also shift your layout to make your publication a more engaging place for a specific audience, which will create a premium effect and actually allow you to raise rates.

6. Be flexible for advertisers. The advertising industry has changed dramatically over the last decade. Everything is much more data-focused and digitally oriented instead of brand image-driven. Your advertisers may be struggling with these changes and trends. Be responsive to their needs. Donít push back against this sea of change with traditional magazine advertising tactics, advises Sheridan. Listen to your advertisers and address their concerns by offering them the advertising vehicles they need. Your sales team should think of themselves as consultants ó but it goes deeper than that. Your association has to be willing to change its products and/or develop custom products and campaigns to help advertisers achieve their goals.

Capturing ad dollars is getting harder, not easier. Association publishers that focus on audience engagement and increasing advertiser value will come out ahead. Think creatively to produce marketing opportunities that advertisers canít resist and that address their specific needs.

This article was excerpted from a more detailed white paper from Sheridan. You can access the complete report here. Carla Kalogeridis is publisher and editorial director for Association Media & Publishing.


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