Home' Local Media Today : March 2005 Contents Has Spring sprung in your area yet? We still haven't warmed
up yet, but I am expecting the snow to melt any day now!
Wishful thinking, I know!
By now you will have noticed that Allstate has signed on again this year. While
they should be picking up their car insurance ad later in the Spring, they have com-
mitted to a once a month recruitment ad to go into Help Wanted.
I have received a few calls recently from SCAN members wanting our media kits.
If you would like a copy of our new 2005 media kit to have on hand, please contact
If you haven't yet joined SCAN, pick up the phone now and call me at 888-486-
2466. I'll give you all of the details you need to know on how to earn ever-increas-
ing cash rebates, dues and conference discounts, and other special benefits that
Suburban Classified Ad Network members already get.
I hope you all have a great March! Deanna
by Deanna Lewis
Find out how
Royalty Free Content
Unique stories. Adventures worth telling. Sceneries larger than life.
By Peter M. Zollman
It's been proven
again and again:
from newspaper Web
sites are the most valu-
able to the circulation department. They
have the highest retention rates among
all subscription sources and the lowest
cost of acquisition. And they're most
likely to be prepaid by credit card. So
why do so many newspaper Web sites
make users struggle to find out how to
sign up for a subscription?
Many newspapers still think of
their Web sites as content sites, rather
than as business process tools -- so
they've been very slow to exploit sub-
scription sales opportunities online.
Recently, at an International Newspaper
Marketing Association conference in
Miami, I was asked to present tips about
using the Web to sell print circulation.
One proven method -- which
frequently yields circulation increases of
2 percent -- is to offer a digital edition of
your daily paper. More information about
digital editions is available in an exten-
sive free report on our Web site,
AIMGroup.com, so I'll leave that topic
to the report.
The other proven method is to
sell print subscriptions -- that's selling,
not just "taking orders" --on your Web
site and online. By using various meth-
ods, including e-mail offers to opt-in par-
ticipants and targeted offers to users with
specific interests, you can generate hun-
dreds or even thousands of sales each
year. And they're all sales of the printed
daily newspaper, which help you defy
the (generally mistaken) notion that,
"The Web is cannibalizing print sales."
First, determine your average
cost of acquiring a new print subscriber
through traditional sales efforts -- tele-
marketing; direct mail; street crews; in-
paper promotions, and the like.
Typically, in the U.S., each new sub-
scription costs a newspaper $30 to $40.
Then, commit to spending at least half of
that amount on your efforts to generate
subscriptions at your Web site or online.
(By rights, since Web subs have the
highest retention rates, they also ought to
be worth more than other subscriptions.
But for now, let's settle on half as a good
Now, seven tips for using that
money to sell subscriptions:
1.- Put a "subscribe" button in
your left-hand navigation bar. Not "sub-
scriptions," not "customer service," not
"buy the paper." "Subscribe" is simple
and direct. And that's what a potential
subscriber wants to do, right?
2.- Place subscription offers in
several locations on your Web site.
Upper right; boxes, banners and buttons;
at the top of every story, and at the bot-
tom of every story.
3.- Make sure one person in
your circulation department is specifical-
ly responsible for online sales.
Someone's responsible for telemarketing,
right? And someone oversees street
crews? So make someone responsible for
online as well. (If you're at a small
paper, all three of these may belong to
the same person. But someone has to
manage them. If no one's responsible,
4.- Make sure your circulation
department oversees the circulation sec-
tion of your Web site. If it's managed by
the Web department, there's little incen-
tive to make it work. If the circulation
department oversees its own section of
the site, it can be optimized for sales and
customer service. (Your Web technical
staff can still be responsible for technol-
ogy aspects of the work; however, the
circulation department should be respon-
sible for operation and maintenance of
the section, and should pay for it like any
5.- Integrate online customer
service into your circulation database.
"E-mail us" is insufficient. Customers
should be able to check their accounts
online; submit vacation stops and starts;
sign up for "easy pay," and perform sim-
ilar functions. There's a substantial one-
time cost to make this work, but imagine
how much you'll be able to cut staffing
or redeploy resources in circulation once
it works. 6.- Use the Web to promote sin-
gle-copy sales. On Wednesday, make
sure a promotion for your weekend
entertainment product is in a highly visi-
ble spot on your Web site; on Thursday
and Friday, promote your weekend con-
tent. Offer a coupon for a single-copy
discount. And provide a list of single-
copy sales locations.
7.- Use targeted advertising on
your Web site and in e-mail newsletters
to sell subscriptions. Promote your sports
writers in the online sports section, your
business columnist in your online busi-
ness section, and your travel content in
your online travel section and newslet-
ters. The New York Times has sold
more than 300,000 print subscriptions
online during the past three years. The
Indianapolis Business Journal sells more
than 20 percent of its subscriptions
online; it's the single best sales channel
at the small weekly. Whether you're a
giant like the Times, or a weekly like the
Business Journal, you can make interac-
tive media your best subscription source
Peter M. Zollman is founding principal of
the Advanced Interactive Media Group,
LLC, and Classified Intelligence, LLC, con-
sulting groups that work with media compa-
nies to help develop profitable interactive
media services. CI and the AIM Group offer
services including strategic workshops, sales
training, a continuous advisory service
about classified ads, and more. See their
Web sites at AIMGroup.com and
ClassifiedIntelligence.com. Zollman is avail-
able at (407) 788-2780, pzollman@aim-
Selling print subscriptions:
Use the Web and e-mail tools
The North County Times, Escondido, CA has over
HOW DO THEY DO IT?
Read about their program on SNA's website,
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