Effectively Selling Digital Services Alongside Media Core Competencies!

Kevin Hoppes
Kevin Hoppes

March webinars featured a presentation take from the Driving Digital Revenue conference about selling digital services alongside print with a legacy sales team. Richard Clark of Sandusky Newspapers presented a webinar that wasn’t deceptively simple—it was downright simple. And effective. Learn the one single thing your newspaper can do to revenue from classifieds from the Inland Key Takeaways

From the best of Driving Digital Revenue conference presentations…

Effectively Selling Digital Services Alongside Media Core Competencies!

With Kevin Hoppes, Associate/ Trainer, The Blinder Group

The reality that bests perception: While newspaper share of market is down slightly from last year—and digital is about to overtake all other media this year—newspaper still has the largest share of any “legacy” media. 

Of the print advertising that got shifted, only 17.6% went to online advertising. 52% went into a “web presence,” a website, a social media campaign, etc.

Get into digital services. Sell SEO, sell ways to help businesses with social media. Even build websites for businesses, a strategy that was disparaged years ago but makes sense now.  Reach and frequency is something we’ve been selling forever—now do it online. Sell geo-targeting. And of course, get into mobile.

Can your legacy reps sell digital? Yup, because at the end of the day, this is something your reps have always sold: Reach and frequency.  

The perceptions that are holding back our sales reps: Nobody reads newspapers anymore, the only media that matters is digital. 

How do we change perception, or sell to that perception? If legacy media is perceived as dead—right or wrong—that’s the advertiser’s reality. Combat that with data. The data shows that nothing does better than legacy media combined with digital. 

From Media Audit: newspapers reach 46% of overall population, and their digital products reach 33%, giving an unduplicated audience of 59%. 

Nielsen said it: “There’s no doubt that newspaper have seen its fair share of the change (in media habits).” The research shows newspapers are beginning to get millennials through mobile.

Kevin Hoppes said it: “The reality is we’re still the best game in town.”

The way around the perception of the newspaper industry? Sell the shiny new toy—digital. 

Some sales tactics:


  • Use visuals in sales presentations
  • Explain you’re not selling print—you’re selling marketing
  • If they say, “I don’t need you,” say, “Why do you not need all the people in this market that use our paper?”

Case study: Honesdale, Pa., five-day 2,500-circulation paper. How did they succeed in their sales presentations? Counseling businesses to balance their budget with reach, to keep a consistent message—and keep advertising even during slumps. 

Presentation questions that get “little yeses”: Mr. Advertiser, would you agree that a consistent message with reach will work? So you’ve got them agreeing. If the local newspaper were to provide a deeply discounted program to provide a consistent campaign, would you be interested?

Support presentations with data. Local newspaper reach may be down over historic levels—but better than TV or radio. If the business thinks radio is working for it, then how much better will they do with the local newspaper.

Packages to sell at different price points: Print and digital ads with SEO and reputation management. And your legacy media can sell these because they are all about selling reach and frequency. (See details of packages in the presentation slides, which are linked below.) 

Confronting the Facebook objection. You’ll see advertisers who say, well, I don’t need newspapers because I’ve got Facebook. But Facebook reach is going down. Facebook is pitching its “Boost”—in other words, pay Facebook to reach more people. One solution: Friends2Follow, which can aggregate all a business’ social media and post on a widget. It also shows everyone using social media in your market so you can sell to the best prospects. 

Another case study: Generated $234,000 in North Carolina with Propel digital services and print. (Again, details of the packages are in the presentation.) 

Want to follow up with Kevin Hoppes? Contact him at khoppes@ptd.net or 570.952.4956