7 ways to boost classified ad revenue

January 13, 2016

By Janet DeGeorge


There has never been a better year this decade to rev up your classified efforts. Why? The recession is over we know, but what does that mean for classified potential in 2016?

1. Employment Ads. Unemployment rate is down everywhere in the U.S. This means your local employers are having a hard time filling positions. In these times, an employer will use three to five advertising sources to hire, and your product needs to get on that list. It’s easy. Train your reps how to call them with a great offer. They want to come back to you!

2. Real Estate is back, but things have changed. According to the 2015 National Association of Realtors yearly survey of homebuyers and home sellers (www.realtor.org/reports/highlights-from-the-2015-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers), new mortgage criteria have made it harder for first-time homebuyers (i.e., mostly under 35 years of age) to get loans. Therefore, the target market for buying and selling homes are older demographics—newspaper readers. Create a great product for real estate, highlight local real estate agents in a “Realtor News” article to anchor the section and get a great sales rep to start building relationships in the market. Former or even current Realtors make great outside sales reps.

3. Rentals. The rental market is zooming. With all those who had foreclosures, all those younger demographics not buying homes and the tougher mortgage standards, more and more are turning to rent, and rental prices across the country are going up because of supply and demand. Could be there is even new apartment construction going on in your very circulation area. Create a home for your Rentals with a simple RENTAL LIVING banner, sell some module display ads to the apartment complexes in your area and this will attract the many private party listings that are not getting results on Craigslist.

4. Automotive. This is always tough, market-to-market. But one thing is certain: car sales are zooming again and have reached the pivotal pre-recession number of 17 million sold in 2015. What do auto dealers want from your publication? They want what every advertiser wants—RESULTS. They also want a great deal, that is how they do business. Respect from the top (often the publisher) is important in a first meeting with auto dealers. Then all you need is a rep who is fearless and who is given the ability to deal within a fair range. Make sure every display package comes with lots of auto line ads. Sell a few used cars for them, and it pays for a month of advertising. Car liners sell cars!

5. Legal Notices. With the last of the foreclosures being placed, everyone is seeing legal revenue decline. Look back to your 2006 revenues to see what you might expect in 2016. However, there are ways to increase this category. Make certain your local court clerk has a HOW TO PLACE A LEGAL AD flyer to hand out to those needing information. It can be as easy as that. Have your legal clerk contact all the former companies that have placed legal notices to keep your publication top of mind. This is all about service, service, service. Make sure you are aware of the legal regulations in your area. Do all companies with hazardous materials in their buildings have to place yearly legal notices? Many do.

6. Service Directory. Here is your ongoing revenue source! Any inside rep with some training can double any service directory. Anchor services with a friendly banner, with the sales rep’s photo if she agrees, and a direct line to her phone. Why? Service people go to work at 7 a.m. and get home at 7 p.m. They need to contact a rep who has a direct voice mail and is accessible to walk-in customers during office hours. Start by creating a friendly flyer for all potential customers (those who used to advertise, those in your competition, those on Craigslist, those on your Chamber of Commerce “members” website). A great deal and constant follow up each month from the sales rep and you will see a lot more consistent month-to-month revenue.

7. TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING. Every sales rep needs specific training for what they sell. It gives them knowledge, confidence and procedures on how to turn leads into dollars. Training dollars turn into revenue and keep reps morale high as they land sale after sale. © Janet DeGeorge 2016


Janet DeGeorge is a sales trainer and consultant specializing in newspaper classified advertising, redesign, rates, manager training and building revenue from new sources. You can learn more about her at www.ClassifiedExecutiveTraining.com or contact her at 602-717-7473 or her personal e-mail at janetdegeorge@aol.com.


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