The Tupelo (MS) Journal and The Norwalk (CT) Hour Share Insights On Advertiser Workshops During Blinder Group Webinar
During a recent Blinder Group webinar, "Making Money with Advertiser Meetings", attendees learned that local businesses, especially those that are small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), are approached 26 times a month about advertising opportunities. They are being contacted almost daily by 'pure plays' who are promising them big revenue results if they move their marketing dollars online with them--and those dollars are now representing nearly 48.9% of advertising budgets. "SMBs are thinking about the Internet," says Mike Blinder, President of the Blinder Group who moderated the webinar. "They are waking up in the middle of the night nudging their partners and saying 'we have to do something about this Internet thing'. SMBs are craving a solution to help them grow their businesses during tough economic times. If media companies do not provide a solution, someone else will."
The solution for many media companies is to host an Advertiser Workshop. "It's a great way to address these small businesses and talk to them about their online strategies and how your company can help them achieve their goals," says Mike. Two Blinder Group clients that have had great success with hosting Advertiser Workshops are the Journal in Tupelo, MS, and The Hour in Norwalk, CT. Executives from both of these media companies joined Mike on this recent Blinder Group webinar to share with the 250+ webinar attendees the specifics about hosting such an event. "They are looking for business solutions," says Marty Baily, New Business Development Director for The Hour. "For a lot of these customers, they really don't have a fully-routed vision of what digital can mean for their business," And, the Advertiser Workshop helps give them this vision along with a multimedia solution for getting the most from their online marketing efforts.
During an Advertiser Workshop, participants are given the benefits of online advertising, shown the current and predicted spending levels of specific business categories, and offered a value oriented online solution from the media company-a solution that has limited availability for a limited time.
The events themselves are organized by local media clients of the Blinder Group, sometimes in association with local civic groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce. Invitations are sent out to local businesses, ads are run in the newspaper as well as online and some media companies, such as the Journal, even run radio spots promoting the free event where businesses can "learn how to grow their business online." "Cast a wide net and follow up with regular customers," suggests Richard Crenshaw, Advertising Director for the Journal. "Offering them the opportunity to learn more about online and how it will help their business brings some of those non-traditional newspaper advertisers. We did have a lot of attendees attend the workshop that were not advertisers."
To make sure everyone feels welcome as soon as they walk in the door, most media companies set up 'Greeter Stations' where attendees can check-in and given their materials. Salespeople are available in the room to welcome guests and help them find their table. "Salespeople do not sit in the corner, but use their relationships to create a welcoming environment," says Crenshaw. "We really stress that attendees are coming to learn, not to be sold something."
At each session, Mike Blinder presents an information-packed program that not only educates attendees on the Internet, SEO and social media, but introduces them to the importance of targeting both "active" and "passive" audiences. "Banners are not 'dead,"' says Blinder. "They are the perfect way to reach out to readers who don't even know that they need your services yet." He calls this a passive target audience. "They simply have to be designed to provide strong, 'offer-oriented' messages that change often. They should contain local contact information like addresses and phone numbers placed within the actual design, so that readers can respond traditionally, instead of having to click to purchase."
At the end of each presentation, Mike presents the limited availability online sales packages being offered exclusively to them by the media company with some attendees signing up to participate in the advertising offering before they even leave the event. For others, they are encouraged to schedule a follow up appointment with a Blinder Group representative when they return to market. "Even if we get the gatekeeper instead of the decision-maker at the event, they get so jazzed for what they see, they make an appointment for us later," says John Brosz, Vice President of Sales and Marketing with The Hour.
Sales Team Training
The key to the success of the Advertiser Workshop is to fill the room with qualified prospects. With the guidance of the Blinder Group, sales teams are trained to qualify each attendee using DELMAR:
- Decision Maker - is this a business owner or manager who can say 'yes'?
- Established - is this person representing a company that is currently open and generating revenue?
- Locally Focused - is this business interested in local customers and/or clients?
- Marketing Budget - has this business performed any marketing/advertising in the past?
- Afford the Offer - can this business afford the multimedia package we are offering?
- Rapport Established - has the salesperson met this person prior to the workshop?
"Since using the DELMAR approach, our closing ratios have gone up 15%," says Blinder, who also provides clients access to a customized online database that allows them to track workshop attendees and complete the DELMAR qualification process online. "This allows sales managers to focus their attention on attendees with the highest probability of closing as well as monitor the sales team's pre-workshop rapport building."
A brief sales training is held the morning of the first workshop giving sales reps an overview of the Advertiser Workshop as well as tips for introducing the multimedia advertising option and suggestions for closing the sale.
Sales Support Materials
Utilizing, detailed local market research as well as industry standards and information, the Blinder Group assists in the production of the associated sales support collaterals. Simple, easy-to-follow, multiple page fliers are developed so the local business owners (and the sales team) can easily grasp the features and benefits of the sales program. The Blinder Group has vast experience in creating such sales presentations. "Too often media companies do not graphically explain the online portions of sales programs in an easy-to-follow manner," says Blinder. "This creates confusion during the sales process."
In addition to the sales materials, the Blinder Group assists clients with pulling together individual folders for each workshop attendee. The folders include a copy of the business' website home page, advertising found in competing media, a "snap shot' of their current Google rankings when key business categories/terms are searched, and a pledge letter for the rep to sign at the workshop. "The Pledge Letter is something we recently added," says Blinder. "It shows the advertiser that you are committed to helping them grow their business."
Most of the business owners who attend will remain after the presentation to review the data and to learn more about the limited availability online sales packages being offered exclusively to them by the media company. "This was great training not only for our staff, but our customers," says Crenshaw whose newspaper closed $150,000 of new revenue with the Advertiser Workshop model.
"This gave us a template for how to conduct business and made us as a newspaper more of a multimedia company. It was important for us to get the message out that we are a multimedia company," says Brosz. "We continue to develop new relationships with our consultative sales approach." The Advertiser Workshop strategy generated $320,000 for The Hour with, at the time of the webinar, 100% retention.
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