Increase classified ad revenue: Options

January 13, 2016

By Ken Blum
Black Ink

Would you like to increase revenue from private party classifieds by 50 percent or more in 2016?

It’s not all that difficult. Just offer options to make the little ad a lot more effective. These add-ons are easy to plug-in via today’s word processing or classified-specific software programs.

First, decide on the amenities you want to offer and make sure employees are ready to handle the mechanics and charges.

Then, prepare a menu for the ad-takers to present to customers, which could include the following ad appetizers. (Note—the sample surcharges are typical for a midsize weekly or smaller daily newspaper.)

A picture. Let’s say that Sam places a personal classified for his ’70 Hemi Superbird. Ask him to snap a JPEG image and e-mail it for the ad. The pic will probably require a column inch or so. Upcharge - $10 or $15 if it’s in process color. (See photo, this page.)

Spot color, usually yellow. Does the printing press allow color for the classified page’s position in the paper? If so, offer to run a yellow tint block over the ad, attracting extra reader attention. Typical charge - $7.50 to $10 per column inch.

BOLDFACE TYPE, perhaps all caps, for the first few words of the ad. Typical charge - $5.

A bold frame around the ad. Typical charge - $7.50.

Teenie-art to attract attention to the add—for example, a pair of eyes, an arrow, a smiley face. There should be a plentiful supply in your dingbats and wingdings or clipart selections. Typical charge - $5.

These display offerings not only bring in plus-revenue, but they add some pizzazz to the classified page, and the attention draws more ads.

Other upsells

Multiple insertions for following issues. Typical charge – half off initial charge for each additional insertion.

Insertions in additional newspapers/shoppers. If the company runs multiple newspapers in adjoining markets, upsell into one or more additional papers. Typical charge – half off per each additional newspaper.

A few more suggestions

Many newspapers offer amenities free, but they aren’t mentioned in the classified page heading, thus customers aren’t aware of them. Examples include: automatic placement on the newspaper’s website or other classified network websites, automatic placement in a shopper or sister publications.

Make sure the customer knows what he’s getting. List these services in the heading.

Always require immediate payment for personal ads via cash or credit/debit card. Accept all the major credit cards.

Many newspapers set the deadline for personal classifieds way too early—say Monday noon for a Thursday publication. Set the deadline for personal classifieds as late as possible—the last page finalized for the printer! © Ken Blum 2016

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; or phone 330-682-3416.


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