The secrets to selling magazine advertising, for both print and online publications, are the same “secrets” your advertisers use to help sell their products and services … communicating:
- Calls to action
This sounds simple enough, but you’ve probably seen advertising sales staff ignore them in practice.
There are many tips for selling magazine ads. Here are the 10 we think are most important:
Create a strong media kit
One tool magazine publishers need is a media kit to help communicate the features, benefits and a calls to action for potential advertisers. As mentioned in an earlier article about strong media kits, your media kit should also be available in print and digital formats that potential advertisers can easily access.
The kit should include:
- Editorial focus — a description of your content focus(es)
- Editorial calendar — usually a 12-month summary of your month-by-month content plan
- Readership demographics — a description of who reads your magazine
- Circulation — the number of copies you circulate each issue, preferably verified by an official audit
- Rate card — pricing for your various advertising offers
- Testimonials — examples of results your current advertisers are experiencing, in their own words
Another characteristic of a strong media kit is that it should inform potential advertisers how your magazine can benefit their business. Is your magazine’s strength a large and diverse audience or a niche audience that is highly engaged with the publication’s topic focus or distribution region? This will help advertisers know if advertising in your publication will help them connect with their target demographic.
Know your audience
Do your homework. Knowing your audience will help you communicate why your magazine is a great vehicle for potential advertisers. Knowing your audience and the advertiser’s market means you will be communicate how your publication will benefit their business. Point out why your magazine is uniquely suited to the advertiser’s business, and talk about what sets your magazine apart from the competition.
Offer ad purchase packages
Everybody loves a discount. Purchase packages can enable you to offer discounts without giving away the farm. Like many of the products and services you buy, there are often discounts for bulk and bundled purchases.
Among your package offerings, be sure to include an entry-level package with an accessible price point and a multi-channel package that combines the power of print and digital. Once you’ve developed various package options, ensure your media kit includes descriptions of each and what each is designed to accomplish.
Communicate how you help your advertisers succeed
Many potential advertisers have limited experience developing their own advertising campaigns. Since you are the expert on your audience, provide a service to help your advertisers create successful advertising campaigns.
Be a patient learner while working toward a sale
Your first contacts with a potential advertiser should have little to do with selling ad space. Make it clear you’re interested in understanding the customer’s business—why people need or want their product or service, the business challenges they face, how they’re currently using their advertising budget, etc. Once you have built a rapport and have an understanding of their needs and goals, you’ll be prepared to present compelling solution options that the potential advertiser will be receptive to considering.
Be ready for rejection
Yes, you should call, call, call, and you should do it in a personable way. But making things personal can take all the fun out of it since you will experience rejection … probably often. If you still have an open line of communication after a rejection, take the time to learn why you’ve been turned down. This insight can help you improve your sales process and can sometimes even help you turn a no into a yes, even if that turn-around takes time. Don’t take the first rejection as the last one. Try again.
Go for the gold after you win the bronze
Convincing advertisers to make big investments for advertising in your publication typically relies upon two things: available budget and a track record of success. So, start small. After you’ve demonstrated that an entry-level advertising package creates results, you’ll be much more likely to sell mid- and top-tier advertising packages.
Always act with integrity
It’s tempting to say anything to close a sale. But your word should be your bond, and your reputation is your most valuable asset. If your analysis of a potential buyer’s business needs and goals indicates an advertising sale isn’t the best fit at the moment, communicate this to the prospect and walk away from the sale. Rather than push an unfavorable transaction just to close a sale, focus on building a long-term relationship that can develop into better-fit opportunities in the future.
Provide value-added programs
As covered in our thinking outside the box article, develop unique opportunities to help your advertisers engage your audience. Look for opportunities to incorporate mentions of your advertisers’ products and services in your editorial content. And consider teaming up with your advertisers to create events relevant to your audience and that provide readers with opportunities to interact with your advertisers directly.
Advertise your advertising
Practice what you preach by running your own ad campaigns. Feature the results being experienced by businesses who are advertising in your publication. Spotlight the campaign design services you offer to help your advertisers succeed. When possible, showcase testimonials from advertisers who believe their ad purchases have provided a good return on investment.
Selling advertising is challenging, even in positive economic conditions, but the key to sales success centers on cultivating established relationships while hunting for new opportunities. Utilizing these tips will help ensure you get results.