Deadly Sins of Newspaper Web Sales

Here’s a taste of what we’ll cover in tomorrow’s AMERICA EAST NEWSPAPER recap webinar. Wanna join this free webinar starting at 10am et? Register now at America East Mel Taylor Webinar 

Web Training for Reps: Waste of Time. Publishers need help first. How can you manage what you don’t fully understand? Don’t spend money on sales rep training until you have these 2 critical things in place:

  1. Written, digital operations & sales plan
  2. Publisher/owner is trained in web business models

Director of Interactive Qualified? Is your VP Digital or web manager qualified to lead a realistic, revenue strategy? While they can build slick sites and collect eyeballs, these skills don’t equal revenue & profit. How much longer can you allow this person to bullshit you about reader engagement, time on site, and Facebook fans, while they tap dance around sales and revenue issues?

Who do you follow? If your company primary follows recommendations for online revenue strategy from research and conference babble, you’re toast. Newspaper doesn’t need more data, analysis and discussion. Newspaper needs action in the field with updated operations, management & compensation structure.

Salary vs. Performance-Based Pay. In the print world, the publisher or ad manager is always compensated based on sales performance. But with most newspaper websites, those in charge are usually salaried. If you delegate sales strategy to a salaried executive, you’re much more likely to get well-trafficked sites with a ton of unsold inventory. And as you do in print, if the person in charge continues to miss budget, they not only lose commission and bonus, they lose their job.

Management Structure Conflict.

  1. Web managers typically report to a print ad manager. The print manager has a comp package that substantially encourages traditional sales. This may be one of the most critical choke-points of growing online revenue. Where will print managers place most of their effort?
  2. Newsrooms are primary operators of most websites, including where and how content & advertising is placed. If we would never allow the editor to determine the ad mix in the paper, why do we allow them to determine online ad units and placements on the website? Just like your print publication, the website must be ultimately run by those with ‘web profit & revenue first’ goals.

Crappy Inventory & Yield Management. Nothing says poor web-sales management than seeing a lame Google AD Sense or network ad on your home page. Geez, you can’t sell your most valuable, most powerful ad unit to a local sponsor?

  1. Can’t sell your premium home page placement at top dollar?
  2. More than 25% of your available inventory is sold to 3rd party ad network?

Mr. Publisher, you have the wrong person in charge.

Confusing Media & Sales Kits Local business owners prefer simple offers, delivered using retailer-friendly vocabulary. They’re not sure of the value of 1 or even 10 million page-views. Most can’t even spell the word: CPM. Excel spreadsheets with ad units, cpm’s and other confusing data only frustrates the advertiser. It also freaks out the sales rep who’s trying to clearly explain the features & benefits of a cross-platform marketing program.

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