A primer on selling website advertising

July 6, 2015

By Ken Blum
Black Ink 

Does the ad staff drag its feet when it’s time to sell website advertising?

Not unusual.

Crack the whip and they’ll try, but it will have all the panache of a dentist trying to convince a patient to invest in a root canal. Why the kickback?

Maybe the website is unfamiliar territory. Maybe they think it will take a bite out of their bread and butter, which remains print advertising.

Maybe deep in their hearts they aren’t convinced Web advertising is as effective as print. They’re right, of course, but electronic ads still have their place and purpose as a supplement, not a replacement, for print.

The best solution to this conundrum is a package offer that includes print and electronic with the emphasis on print. Thus far, not many newspapers have come up with the formula for this combination.

I found one that has—the Ellsworth (ME) American, one of America’s finest community weeklies. The newspaper company also publishes the Mount Desert Islander.

The American has developed extensive 3-12 month “Integrated Marketing Packages” that combine print, website and social media advertising. Each package is based on the size of the print ad, which can run from 1/32 page to full page.

As explained in the paper’s Advertising Guide, advertisers can “Reach up to 57,000 readers each week with a print, online and social media package that delivers your advertising message seven days a week across multiple platforms.”

Are these packages enticing? Imagine you’re a small business owner and the American ad rep offers a 1/32 page, 12-month package that includes the following:

• Your small space ad every week for one year

• A premium upgrade* in ellsworthamerican.com and mdislander.com online business directory.

(*Note—A premium upgrade includes a digital subscription to the newspaper of the advertiser’s choice, featured positioning, run-of-site text ad, additional category listings and key words, banner and tile ad discounts, unlimited Business Today posts and a business profile with photographs and logos.)

• Digital subscription to The Ellsworth American or Mount Desert Islander.*

(* Note—Each of these subscriptions adds to the American’s paid circulation. It can be counted as a paid subscription on the USPS Annual Statement of Ownership.)

• Full color one issue per month.

• One classified ad each week.

• 40% discount on all special sections, including Out and About* advertising.

(*Out and About is a tourism publication.)

• 25% discount on social media maintenance (Facebook, Twitter) banner and tile ads on ellsworthamerican.com and mdislander.com.

• 50% color discount on additional weeks.

• 50% discount on help wanted advertising.

There are more discounts available such as 3 percent for paying by the 15th of the month, 5 percent for monthly prepayment, or 10 percent for prepayment of the entire package.

The American has a separate department devoted to electronic media.

Most hometown newspapers aren’t to that point, but still, even a small newspaper can create a package for print/website advertising. For example: print ad, Web ad, free color once a month for the print ad, free classified ad, free subscription to either the print paper or e-paper or both; bonus quarter-page ad in the print product every quarter.

The package is one of many summarized in the American’s 26-page Advertising Guide, which was recently recognized as a first-place winner in the New England Newspaper and Press Association annual contest. The guide features numerous ideas that can be adapted at any hometown newspaper.

To get a free PDF copy, go to: www.ellsworthamericaninc.com/advertise-with-us/ Click on the picture of the guide to download.

Thanks to Publisher Alan Baker and General Manager Terry Carlisle of the American. © Ken Blum 2015


Ken Blum is the publisher of Butterfly Publications, an advising/speaking/publishing business dedicated to improving the profitability and quality of community newspapers. He puts out a monthly free e-mail newsletter titled Black Inklings. It features nuts and bolts ideas to improve revenue and profits at hometown papers. To subscribe to the newsletter or contact Ken, e-mail him at blummer@aol.com; or phone to 330-682-3416.

Web Design LVSYS - Copyright © 2017