For any media owners who face the challenge of selling digital alongside an existing media, print in my case, the best approach is often debated. Should it be separate, should it be packaged, how much time do I dedicate to it? All questions with various pros and cons before you answer.
Media sales people who sell both print and online media often dominate their client conversations talking about print. It is an incumbent offer, most likely worth more money, and therefore to focus on the print seems like the fastest way to meet a target…or is it?
In search of more radical but carefully considered options, I believe the opposite outcome could be likely. Focusing or at least beginning with print can lead to lower or less significant print sales. Here are a few reasons why:
Digital is not ‘new’ to anyone anymore. The pace and amount of change means most recent evolutions may indeed be ‘new’ but on the whole clients would rather talk about digital options than talk about print. It is sexier and grabs all the headlines, not just in advertising or media trade press, but in everyday life. QR codes and AR technology regularly feature in consumer magazines, TV shows regularly feature hash tags to generate social buzz during air time. Your favourite musicians or bands probably release their material on VEVO or Youtube much sooner than on the radio. Digital media is more interesting for all people, and our clients are people too. Small businesses or not, they understand!
However, when dealing with smaller and mid-sized clients there is a very real opportunity to educate them and take this knowledge further. They might know about social media and have their own Facebook or Twitter account, but do they know how to use it commercially? They know you can advertise on websites, but do they know how to target more specific channels, pages or locations of user? If you can help them understand the chaos that is digital media today, who is the hero? These clients are not represented by agencies, they don’t have dedicated experts who keep up with the changing digital marketplace. If you keep up, you can be of real service to them.
Finally, digital advertising removes the most frustrating post advertising sentence of all time: “It didn’t work” or “I didn’t get a response.” One of the most significant reasons why momentum has so quickly moved to all forms of digital advertising is the qualified value, particularly in times of recession. Digital media is more easily accountable than print because of post campaign analytics. The ability to talk through these results together with your clients and actually pinpoint the difference you have made in their business is a significant development. At this point a detailed conversation about further improvements to their business should be the outcome.
The same rules will always apply, you first need to establish the need and remain focused on where the client’s interests are, otherwise you have still missed the chance to use the information above. However, get this part right- as all great salespeople do- and you will simply have a better conversation and begin to forge a stronger relationship.
So be brave, talk about digital options first. It might be less money now, but the rewards are far greater. When you become more valuable to your clients, find out more about their needs, you will undoubtedly uncover far more opportunities. Anyone who has been in this industry for a while will know that once trust is developed, you can begin to achieve great things. That is when you can introduce potentially more lucrative print options back into their budget.
So, sell more print advertising by pitching what captures your clients’ interest. Digital.