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CLASSIFIED REVENUE GROWTH – 10 IDEAS TO IMPLEMENT TODAY
The SNA Classified Managers’ Conference held last month in Las Vegas was per-
haps the best SNA conference that I have ever attended. There was so much enthu-
siasm and positive energy and yes, so many great ideas to grow revenue.
The headliner of the conference had to be the release of the SNA/Borrell 2006
Recruitment Outlook Report. For the first time, we asked Borrell to break out sub-
urban and community newspapers from metro dailies. The results were pretty unbe-
lievable. Suburban and community newspapers are expected to grow recruitment
revenues by 4.2% annually through 2010 while the metro dailies will lose an aver-
age of 2.7% annually during that same time frame. Of course, there are many things
that SNA newspapers should be doing now to grow their online portion of recruit-
ment and secure it for the future. This includes implementing self-service classi-
fieds, allowing online only ads and partnering with others in your market to obtain
critical mass on your website.
For publishers, the words of wisdom
from Rick Huxley of Classified
Technologies Group should send shivers
down your spine – “How can you expect
what you didn’t inspect?” If you haven’t
called in as a mystery caller to your own
classified department lately, you are los-
ing money. Nothing rattled me more
than when I tried to place a garage sale
ad in a newspaper recently (a newspaper
that I was once the publisher of). It took
two days to get a call back and then they
started to suggest ways that I could save
money by abbreviating. It’s one of the
reasons why self serve classifieds work.
People can place them 24/7 and are not
likely to abbreviate.
Many great ideas emerged at this confer-
ence from both speakers and attendees during the great idea session. Classified con-
sultant Janet DeGeorge rattled off at least 50 ideas during her session and encour-
aged us to jot down our top 10 favorites – 10 that we could go back and implement
right away. I thought I would share mine:
Write a report on all the ways you say no to customers and then find ways to say
Design commission plans that reward upsells.
Sell color in liners as an upsell.
Let inside reps sell display ads.
Sell paw icons in pet liners.
Make your front page of classified fabulous (see www.brasstacksdesign.com for
Set upsell goals by the hour and make it fun (bingo game for example).
Change your front banner of classified every week and use art that represents the
community (Omaha, NE uses reader submitted photos).
All classified reps should have business cards – and put their photo on it.
You must have service 24/7 – Auto Trader has done it for 30 years!
With all the doom and gloom about new competitors such as craigslist, Janet
reminded us that we still have the best penetration of any media out there and we
shouldn’t devalue our product. Major advertisers from the worlds of recruitment,
real estate and automotive backed this up again and again during the conference and
told us how much they value suburban and community newspapers. We can’t lose
sight of the basics and we must change with the times but the future looks bright for
our industry if we capitalize on these opportunities.
From the sna
“If you haven’t called
in as a mystery caller
to your own classified
you are losing money.”
As usual, the conference program will be
packed with important sessions on a variety
of well-timed topics including an ’06
Economic Outlook from three key industry
leaders – Owen Van Essen of
Dirks,VanEssen & Murray, Paul Ginocchio of Deutsche Bank & Gene Carr of
American Community Newspapers. This panel will help publishers see what the new
year is likely to bring and will equip them with ideas to ensure that their newspapers
are doing everything possible to have a successful ’06.
Can a newspaper panel help you to build readership and advertising? Find out from
Tony Casale, of American Opinion Research, in his session on “Building Newspaper
Panels”. He’ll explain how to create and use newspaper panels to your advantage and
will draw on his lengthy newspaper industry work to guide productive thinking.
Publishers at suburban and community newspapers have a lot on their plates and
most revel in the dynamic, ever-changing nature of their jobs. With that said, howev-
er, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the obvious so SNA has asked John Humenik,
Editor of the Quad City Times, to address the issue of “the culture in your newspa-
pers.” Anyone who knows John already understands that he has a charismatic quality
and he’ll share it and his candid advice for dealing with those editors who are resist-
ant to change. You may not like or agree with everything he has to say but you will
definitely leave his session inspired to make any necessary positive changes back at
Socializing is good.
In Key West it’s all about Margaritaville and in Palm Springs, we’ll enter the realm
of Hawaiian Shirts & Flip Flops! One of the evening receptions will pay homage to
the laid back lifestyle of the left coast and attendees should don appropriate
garb.....the crazier the better, especially in light of the contest for BEST Hawaiian
Look for more details next month but for now, publishers should mark their calendars
for February 28 to March 3. The location is Palm Springs, CA. The full conference
starts 9am March 1 and adjourns on March at 11:30am. Family owned company reps
should plan to attend the special program on February 28.
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