3 Ways to Make Selling Native Advertising Easy

14 Aug 3 Ways to Make Selling Native Advertising Easy

Bloomington, IN — We often hear that native advertising is difficult to sell.

For the last two days I’ve been in Bloomington, Indiana at The Herald-Times where they made selling native easy… or at least a lot easier. How?

The Power of a New Idea

The Herald-Times has the luxury of an experienced, talented and highly motivated sales team. Of course that makes selling anything easier from the start. Their approach to selling native, however, is less about selling and more about bringing powerful new ideas to their customers.

Every business we talked to was more than willing to hear about something new. It was a diverse group: a high-end home furnishings design store, university, rental property managers, plumber, auto dealers, greenhouse, entertainment venue…

“This is really cool,” said the plumber, a small businessman who clearly is trying to figure out how best to spend a limited budget to drive growth. “Thank you for showing this to us. We have to figure out if we can afford it, but this sure gives us something to think about. “

The spirit of native advertising is to give a gift to the reader of useful, actionable information. If you approach selling native in the same spirit: give the gift of knowledge to your customer, then even if they don’t buy, you win good will and credibility.

Offer Real Value

The Herald-Times’ goal was to sell 12-month native advertising packages and reinforce the value of the print newspaper. To make the value proposition attractive to its prospects, in addition to a custom-produced native ad the paper included a monthly full-color quarter page print ad and a larger than normal online display ad in their package.

The rate card price for this offering would be $33,444 a year! Eyes opened widely when prospects learned they could get everything for just $1,000 monthly. The value was clear.


No newspaper sales rep wants more things to sell these days. To motivate the sales team for this effort The Herald-Times offered a $500 bonus for each 12-time native contract in the form of two $250 gift cards, one at signing and one at the completion of the campaign. Smaller gift cards were awarded for three- and six-time programs.

The sales team got the message and quickly entered into a friendly competition to see who could sell the most.

Key takeaways from Bloomington?

• Bringing something new to your customers is a good idea even if they don’t buy.
• A compelling price that ties online with a known value for print quickly establishes your value proposition in customer minds.
• Giving your sales team a bonus to focus on what you want them to sell for a specific period of time increases motivation.
• Having clear goals and aligning packages, pricing and rewards to those goals will enhance your chances of success.

The results won’t be complete until the end of August. However, based on the calls we made together over the last two days I am betting the paper exceeds its goal: $100,000 in bookings for native advertising by the end of the month.

-Paul Camp, CEO