|Newsletter No 8
||29 November 2005
||Advertising & Marketing:
Grow Audience, Not Just Circulation
need to think more about growing audience, rather than simply
circulation, says Jerry Hall, circulation director of the St Petersburg Times
in Florida. He gave some easy - yet extremely effective - tactics that
newspapers around the United States have used to expand their audience.
Price vs Discount: Unless you are saying, "50 percent off,"
it is better to tell someone how much the subscription will cost rather
than tell them the percentage discount they are receiving. It helps
them determine if the discount is a good value, keeps them from having
to read the small print in the subscription form, and produces better
results. One newspaper that made this simple change saw their response
rates increase from 1 percent to 4 percent.
Evoke Emotion: If your local sports team wins a championship, offer
your readers a reprint of the front page if they renew their
subscriptions. The St Petersburg Times did so when the local hockey team won the Stanley Cup. 10,000 people renewed just to get the front page.
Sell memberships rather than subscriptions: The Sacramento Bee
in California created a membership site and charged 12USD per month to
join its “press club”. Members received a membership card and received
a number of incentives like a ‘deal of the week’ and free tickets to
leisure events. Newspapers can further this strategy by partnering with
other membership clubs. For example, one publication offered
subscribers a free membership to AAA, a club that offers car services
to its members in distress. As a result of this particular promotion,
the newspaper received over 2000 new one-year subscriptions.
Offer Consumer Based Pricing: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
found its multiple pricing offers confused potential customers, so it
simplified things and decided to offer a flat rate subscription of
10USD per month, no matter whether the subscriber wanted to receive the
newspaper one day per week or for all seven days. This helped to
succeed in getting Sunday subscribers back, which had been decreasing
for some years.
Permission Marketing vs Direct Marketing: Instead of blindly distributing free copies of the newspaper, The St Petersburg Times
called a sample of people and requested whether they wanted to
subscribe for three weeks to the newspaper for free. On the first day
of the delivery, customers received a glossy card along with the
newspaper informing them of subscription costs. After two weeks,
everyone participating in the trial period received a phone call from
the sales team asking whether they were enjoying the newspaper. They
were then offered a special deal on subscription rates if they signed
up then and there. The newspaper enjoyed a 21 percent response rate for
Targeted Advertising Partnerships: Because there are many new homes being developed in the area where the St Petersburg Times distributes,
the newspaper began delivering special coupon booklets titled ‘Welcome
Home” that offered a free home pizza delivery and variety of discounts
on furniture stores and home maintenance services.