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Blinder Group Helps Take Local Online Yellow Pages to Market for Gatehouse Newspapers in Freeport, Illinois

While newspapers have long competed against Yellow Pages in the print arena, they are now finding themselves in heated battles in the online space as well. While Internet Yellow Pages sites only make up about 34 percent of local searches users of Yellow Pages sites are getting their information more quickly and finding more desirable information in key advertising categories such as automotive, home and garden and general services. What does this mean for newspapers? "It's all about local!" said Mike Blinder president of the Blinder Group, an internationally respected multimedia sales training and consulting firm. "Newspapers already have the relationships with the local advertisers-they just need to offer them a single multimedia option to help them better target local shoppers with traditional offerings, as well as enhance their marketing exposure on search platforms such as Yahoo! and Google."

Many newspapers have created or partnered with vendors to create dynamic and interactive online business directories for their advertisers. The directories are a wonderful resource for the newspaper's online users – giving them direct access to businesses within their own communities often with direct links to websites and/or e-mail addresses. However, newspapers need to add more than just listings to their online classified offerings in order to compete effectively with their online competitors.


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Shows an actual training slide used by the Blinder Group to instruct the traditional ad reps of this client newspaper about the program offerings and how to "take it to market" effectively.



Click on image to view larger version

Shows an actual training slide used by the Blinder Group to instruct the traditional ad reps of this client newspaper about the program offerings and how to "take it to market" effectively.



Click on image to view larger version

Shows an actual training slide used by the Blinder Group to instruct the traditional ad reps of this client newspaper about the program offerings and how to "take it to market" effectively.



Click on image to view larger version

Shows an actual training slide used by the Blinder Group to instruct the traditional ad reps of this client newspaper about the program offerings and how to "take it to market" effectively.



Click on image to view larger version

A look at a few pages from the actual sales materials, developed by the Blinder Group, that assisted this client in successfully taking this multimedia program to market.

GateHouse Media has added a new element to their local newspaper websites. A simple "search box" now appears on all pages of all sites which offer users the ability to look for local businesses based on "key words" or popular categories. Each box is "defaulted" to search within the local market area. Once a user enters the information they are looking for, a results page is shown listing all local businesses within the area – listed geographically. Advertisers who choose to purchase an "enhanced" listing appear highlighted, at the top of the results page, with a logo (or image) along with links to their website and more information.

When users "click" for more information, they are taken to a "profile page" about the advertiser that offers more information, maps and directions and images about the business. This page can be populated with information from the local newspaper.

The technology deployed by Gatehouse also offers the advertiser a form of "Search Engine Maximization" since these result pages will appear higher on the "organic" results pages of major search engines – those same search engines that are currently getting 66 percent of local online searches.

"The key to offering this type of program to local advertisers, is to combine it with traditional print elements," stated Mike Blinder. "When you add print components to the online offerings, you give the ad rep more "muscle" to take to market – by giving the advertiser the benefit of more eyeballs within the combined media. Plus, you have a better competitive advantage in being able to offer the "active" shoppers who may be looking for products and services within the search environments along with the "passive" shoppers who are reading the traditional newspaper product. And finally, by blending the print and online together, you can "drive up the price points" to make the entire package more palatable to the traditional print reps who need to feel some form of an incentive to sell it."

The "package" that was crafted with Blinder Group's assistance for local offering in Freeport, allowed advertisers to be placed within a daily print based directory which was category exclusive each day and limited to only twelve advertisers. Each day a different directory appeared within the newspaper which targeted a specific Yellow Pages category in which the newspaper wishes to gain market share. During a strategic planning session with the Blinder Group it was determined that the directory categories selected for local deployment would be:

Mondays: Health/ Wellness
Tuesdays: Rural Living
Wednesdays: Wedding Services
Thursdays: Senior Services
Fridays: Personal Services
Saturdays: Home & Garden
Sundays: Local Business Professionals

The advertisers also received "enhanced" status within the online, local Yellow Pages platform within any five categories they chose. Plus, within the online results pages, the actual weekly print ad appeared where normally a customer logo would be placed. This changing graphic online image, taken directly from the weekly print directory ad, offered the advertiser the opportunity to display timely, changing marketing messages online within the local directory product; as well as be seen from users who access global search engine platforms such as Google.

Initial offering to advertisers was $49/week with a one-year contract agreement required. "We brought Mike and his team in to help us plan, package and deploy the technology offering given to us from our corporate folks at Gatehouse," stated Steve Trosley, Publisher of the Freeport (IL) Journal-Standard. "I also wanted to have a Blinder associate ride with my reps to show them that they can take the Web to market easily and effectively. It is their expertise of training in the field that really works in getting traditional reps to adapt to new forms of selling. We're also happy with the results as well, now having one of the most successful deployments of the online Yellow Pages program across the whole Gatehouse group.

  • Download all the sales materials here.


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