Home' Local Media Today : April 2012 Contents 2 | LOCAL MEDIA TODAY | April 2012
from our print and online readers for a Breaking News
email alert. We launched the Breaking News alert with a
few hundred emails in the database. We send breaking
news alerts today to more than 5,500 emails.
In the classified department, we set up an automated
system to email classified customers when their ads
were about to expire with a link that would let them
renew the ads.
As we developed our email program, we discovered
that we had a fairly large database through other sources.
In addition to the emails we had been collecting in
the newsroom and in classifieds, we also had emails
from our home delivery customers and advertisers.
What we didn’t have was consistent information. We
had some names, some birth dates, some zip codes
We combined all the emails into one database hosted
by our vendor, Presslaff Interactive, and created the
VIP Insite Club. We sent a series of emails to the data-
base inviting people to update their information and
offering them a chance to win gift cards if they did.
We send a VIP Insite Club email to the full database
once a month, promoting our products, offering club
members opportunities to take part in contests and
telling them about upcoming events we’re hosting.
We continue to solicit emails through contests,
events, new subscribers and online visitors, and new
advertisers. Today, The Herald-Mail’s database has
22,500 emails. Corporate wide, the properties that
make up SCI have a combined database of more than
How are you driving audience to read your
e-mails to the point that you can begin market-
ing them to generate revenue? Can you also comment
on the kind of numbers you believe you need to take
this type of program to market?
If you are sending emails that the audience has
asked to receive then you have an engaged audi-
ence from the very beginning. The basic foundation of
any email marketing program is that people have “opted
in” to receive what you are sending. They asked to be
included and told you what they wanted to receive.
You can have a very successful email campaign with
just 100 emails. If those 100 people have value to the
advertiser, than you can have a successful campaign.
For example, our sister newspaper, The Herald Times
in Bloomington, IN, sends an email blast out once a
week to less than 150 people. The email was developed
for homebuyers who are searching for a new house
and contains a list of open houses scheduled for that
weekend. Real estate agents are knocking down the
door to buy the banner ad at the top of the email. It
is a very small audience but it is exactly the audience
realtors want to reach. Realtors are already fighting for
a piece of a very small, defined audience. The weekly
email is a tool that helps them stand out.
Your database results will tell you if you have a suc-
cessful email campaign. If people are opting out or they
aren’t looking at what you are sending, try something
else. Once you have a program in place, it’s easy to
experiment and test different emails.
Please share some of your e-mail based revenue
initiatives? Sales tactics?
We have started experimenting with contests. We
find advertisers interested in supporting themed
contests – with advertising dollars and prizes – and
then run online advertising pushing people to take
short, three sentence surveys for each advertiser.
For each survey they take, readers are automatically
You sat on a panel of Industry
Innovators at last month’s Key
Executives Mega-Conference in San
Antonio and I’d like to delve deeper into
your topic but before we get into that
can you give us a little bit about your
background and your path to your cur-
rent position of Digital Director for The
Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, MD?
I’m a journalist. I was a reporter for
more than a dozen years, worked
in the marketing and public relations
field for a while, and then returned to
the newsroom where I was city editor
for seven years.
Four years ago, the publisher (who
has since retired) decided to create a
digital department. We were focusing
more effort on the newspaper’s website,
updating it more regularly and posting
breaking news, but knew we needed to
I became digital director and we’ve
been building the department and our
digital platforms ever since. Today we
maintain several websites and our mobile
site, we’re active on Facebook and Twitter
and looking at other social networking
platforms, we’re building a video division,
and we’re growing the email-marketing
About a year and a half ago, we helped
launch and develop email-marketing
programs at the newspapers, televi-
sion stations and radio groups owned
by our parent company, Schurz
Communications, Inc. The Herald-Mail
is the Center for Excellence for Database/
Email Marketing and, as such, serves as
a resource for other SCI properties.
And a thumbnail please of your
market and publications?
Hagerstown, MD is about 70
miles from Washington, D.C. and
Baltimore, MD. We’re still a rural commu-
nity with easy access to the metropolitan
areas. Interstate 70 and Interstate 81
intersect here. The Appalachian Trail
crosses through our county and a portion
of it is makes up the route for the oldest
endurance race in the country – the JFK
50-mile Ultramarathon. Washington
County is home to one of the most pris-
tine battlefields in the country – Antietam
National Battlefield. It is there every July
that the national park service and the
Maryland Symphony Orchestra host the
Salute to Independence, a celebration
of the July 4 holiday, attended by more
than 30,000 people each year.
The Herald-Mail newspaper is deliv-
ered 7-days a week to seven counties in
three states. We have a free weekly TMC,
a variety of niche products and our digital
platforms. We’re also working with our
sister company, Antietam Cable, to create
content for a cable channel.
Your topic at the recent Key
was Revenue Opportunities through
E-Mail Marketing. Let’s start with just
that – where do you start with an e-mail
program that is ordained to generate
You start by asking your customers
what they want to receive.
As part of our registration process, we
ask people to tell us what topics interest
them. We give them 20 categories and
ask them to mark all that apply. The list
includes sales and deals, food, fashion,
travel, parenting, entertainment, home
improvement and pets, just to name a
few. Those categories became the foun-
dation for our Special Offers email. We
send it out twice a month.
We identify advertisers who offer
goods or services related to our Special
Offers categories. Any business that offers
coupons or discounts would be on that
list – restaurants, car maintenance/oil
changes, salons, boutiques, bakeries,
golf, etc. But we’ve also included the
local symphony orchestra, physicians
and car dealers in these emails.
The more advertisers included in each
email, the more categories we include
when setting the filters for the email.
We also produce a business-to-busi-
ness email – which we call B2B. Filtering
our database to pull email addresses for
our advertisers, we send out emails for
businesses that cater to other businesses.
Consultants, accountants, insurance
companies and printers fall into that
You can also look at the emails that are
primarily designed to drive readership
for potential revenue. Breaking news
emails or weather alert emails can be
very popular with advertisers.
Tell us about how you originally
built and continue to build your
database? Some of the more successful
building tactics? And, what are some of
the priorities and tasks associated with
managing it and keeping it current?
Building the database is step one.
We started with efforts in our news-
room and classified departments. In the
newsroom, we began soliciting emails
An OffIcIAL PubLIcAtIOn Of
Local Media Today is published in print
and digitally by the Local Media Association,
the only non-profit trade association in
North America that specifically represents
the needs and interests of local newspaper
and media companies, their multi-media
publishing entities and other community
With a tagline of Innovate. Educate.
Inspire LMA provides leadership for its
members and support for their endeavors
including their pursuits of journalistic
excellence, sales and marketing expertise,
audience development, community-centric
initiatives and leadership values through the
ongoing development and dissemination
of powerful, innovative and valuable
116 Cass Street
Traverse City, MI 49684
888-486-2466; Fax: 231-932-2985
LMA OffIcERS & DIREctORS
Chairman of the Board / SNI Vice-Chairman /
Jon K. Rust | Rust Communications, Inc.
First Vice Chair / SNI Treasurer
Gareth Charter | Holden Landmark Corporation
Second Vice Chairman
Gloria Fletcher | GateHouse Media
Clifford Richner | Richner Communications, Inc.
Gordon Borrell | Borrell Associates
Immediate Past LMA Chairman/
Current SNI Chairman
John Humenik | Arizona Daily Star
Robert Brown | Swift Communications
Brandon Erlacher | The Elkhart Truth
Terry Kukle | Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Chris Lee | Deseret Digital Media
Jennifer Parker | CrossRoadsNews, Inc.
Suzanne Schlicht | Lawrence Journal-World
Rick Surkamer | Sun-Times Media Group
James K. Williams | Journal Register Company
843-390-1531 | email@example.com
Vice President of Operations
888-486-2466 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Classified Avenue Director of Sales
888-486-2466 | email@example.com
Advertising & Membership Relations Director
888-486-2466 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Media Today Editor
888-486-2466 | email@example.com
888-486-2466 |e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Accounting & Finance Director
Database Marketing Director
Admin. Asst. Classified Avenue
Local Media Today is printed courtesy of
A.F.L. Printing, Vorhees and Secaucus, New
Jersey, one of the nation’s leading printers
of daily, community and specialty printers.
The digital edition of Local Media Today is
published courtesy of Page Suite, a leading
digital publisher, with their North American
office in Atlanta, Georgia.
Q & A with...
thompson, page 16
Links Archive May 2012 March 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page