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Q: How can we increase our advertising sales revenues?

Answer: Its easier by far to sell more ads to your existing clients than to find new ones. But to grow ad revenues, you need a plan for both. Here are some suggestions:

Sell more to existing advertisers

Step one: interview existing advertisers to get a current understand of their preferences. For example, do they favor online advertising more than print? By listening closely to your current customers, you want to discover why they're not already spending more with you, and what opportunities may be open.

Next, based on what you learn from them, create new products to boost their spending, such as: extra issues (like an annual report or directory), conferences (both in person and online), email newsletter sponsorships, and/or more robust online advertising options.

Always consider raising or restructuring your ad prices. Many publishers need to revamp their prices as their business grows -- so that you are properly rewarding your best customers with significant discounts, for example. I created a simple advertising rate card worksheet to help develop new prices or refine an existing rate card.

Finally, consider beefing up or re-energizing your sales team. Tease out their new ideas and enthusiasm by modifying your commission structure to reward successfully upgrading current accounts.

Finding New advertisers

First, make sure every potential advertiser has a chance to learn about you by posting your media kit on your website, and listing your publication in the widely used ad reference directories from SRDS. A listing with SRDS is free.

Next, Study your competitors to see if you have overlooked any prospective advertisers. And don't forget to look at web publicaitons as well as printed ones.

Finally, consider adding new ad opportunities for smaller advertisers, particularly classifieds or keyword advertisers. Many companies that never advertised before have started spending money on keyword ads or small classifieds (both in print and online). And nearly every niche publication or website should experiment with these kinds of ads.

More Information

I recommend my how-to business book for publishers, Starting and Running a Successful Newsletter or Magazine. It covers key business decisions that have enormous impact on your publishing success. My second book, Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing (co-authored with Lucia Hwang) covers editorial, production and budgeting decisions in even greater detail. Look for both in your local library, well-stocked bookstores, or buy them right now from



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