05 Nov Follow the Script and make more money from Native Advertising
Native advertising represents our best chance to date to charge a premium price for online advertising. CTW has clients who charge three, four, sometimes five times more for native programs than they do for online display advertising.
That’s the good news. The bad news: your sales force needs to understand how to sell the value of native ads.
Lets start with the basics. Can’t you just hear a salesperson walking in on unsuspecting client and announcing, “I have a great new product for you, native advertising! You can try one for only $________. May I sign you up?”
At least the salesperson asks for the order. Unfortunately, the poor potential advertiser is undoubtedly befuddled. What’s native advertising? Why do I need it? Native advertising commands a higher price, but it takes explanation and effort to sell.
Here’s a recap of how advertisers benefit from native advertising:
- The advertiser’s native ad appears on the home page of your website as part of the news feed. This is huge. It’s like getting an article about them on the front page of your newspaper.
- Advertisers get an exclusive landing page that features their current article, all previous articles and any ads that might include timely special offers.
- The articles remain in your archives for discovery in search for as long as your advertiser maintains a program with you. This gives the native ad a long tail effect that potentially could last for years.
- Key search terms are built into each native ad. The same key terms are built into every article of a continuity program to aid in opinion leadership and search results.
- You will build an interesting, sharable graphic or twist of phrase into every native content presentation to promote engagement and sharing.
- You will promote the advertiser’s native content via social media to call attention to the ad and further promote sharing.
- You will provide the advertiser with social media posts that they can use on Facebook and Twitter to promote their native ad on your site.
- You can package native content with other online advertising, even publish the native content in your paper if you choose to make this part of the program.
There are a ton of reasons why native advertising is worth more than run-of-the-mill display advertising.
So let’s reframe your salesperson’s opening gambit: “I’m really excited about a new opportunity we have for you to appear on the home page of our website and then benefit for a long time afterward. It’s like having a story about you appear on the front page of the newspaper, only better.”
Rather than even mentioning native advertising, your salesperson explains what native is and offers an easy-to-understand benefit: “This is like getting your story on the front page of the newspaper.”
(Editors out there, I can feel your cringe. But remember, we’re going to present a really good, truthful, useful article. Native advertising can make a ton of money that helps fund your local journalism.)
An advertiser’s response to sales approach No. 1 is likely to be, “Huh?” The response to sales approach No. 2 is likely to be guarded curiosity: “Sounds expensive, but tell me more.”
“Before I go on,” says the salesperson, “I know you have a website, a Facebook page and I get your tweets. Are you satisfied with the traffic and sales you get from your online efforts?”
Most prospects will admit they arenot satisfied, which is your opportunity to explain another benefit of native. Even if the prospect says he’s satisfied, you have the opportunity to ask, “How would you feel if I can increase your traffic?” Listen in:
“Our program is designed to help you get more results from the time and money you already invest in online. Our news site is like a huge megaphone that amplifies your message. You leverage our traffic in a powerful new way. Did you know we get more visitors to our site than any other local website every month?”
Hopefully at this point your prospect is intrigued and asks, “How does this work?” The other likely response is, “How much does this cost?”
You are not ready to talk cost yet, so you say, “Before we talk price let me tell you how this works…
“We make it easy for you. When you sign up for this program a writer will contact you and interview you for a story about what makes you different from your competition. They’ll talk to you about key words that people search on to find you and work these into the article. Then after you approve the story we will post it along with a great photo or graphic as part of the news feed on the home page of our website. It will appear on the home page for a month.
“When people click on the article they will be taken to a landing page with just your article and a display ad for your company. The page is exclusively yours with only your messages on it. Better yet, after the first month your article will stay in our archives for as long as you are part of the program. So your customers still will be able to discover your article in search.
“Here’s what your story would look like on our home page and on your landing page. Powerful, huh?
“In addition, we will post links to your article on our Facebook page and publicize it with tweets. Did you know we have ____ followers? Plus, we will give you suggested posts with links to your article you can use on your Facebook page and Twitter, along with a schedule of when to post. Together we will call more attention, and bring more interested prospects, to your articles.”
By now your prospect hopefully says something like, “Sounds good, but I don’t know if I can afford it. How much?”
“Actually, the price is really reasonable considering the impact you get. Unlike other advertising, these stories keep on working long after they appear on the home page — for weeks, months, even years in search. As important, because these stories talk about your expertise, they will help raise your opinion leadership in our community. What we suggest is a 12-time program with new stories every month. Studies show that new content combined with continuity will increase the click-through rate for your article by 66 percent. The cost for all of this is only $_________ per month and again, it’s like getting your story on the front page of the newspaper every month.”
“This sounds interesting, but it’s still a lot of money for us. I need to think about it.”
“Of course. I may have forgotten to mention that part of the value of this program is category exclusivity. You would be the only _________ featured. Just so you know, my colleagues are also out selling this today. I came to you first because you are a perfect candidate for this program. You’re always introducing new products and have such interesting things to say. I didn’t want you to miss out on this exclusive opportunity to be featured on our home page throughout the year. We could start you out with six insertions at a slightly higher price each, if you’d be more comfortable…”
You get the idea. In order to command several times more for online advertising, your sales team needs training. They need to be able to help your client understand the opportunity. They need to help their advertisers use social media to support and expand the reach.
Tomorrow we will look at how you can help advertisers help themselves and why that’s important.
In the meantime, if you have comments, suggestions or thoughts you want to share please post them here or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!