Why your biggest selling point is who you can connect your advertisers to.

By Gretchen Kast

Have you ever heard that old saying, it’s not what you know, but who you know? The phrase may be cliche, but the sentiment is still relevant, even in the world of advertising and exhibit sales.

While the details of your newest publication, sponsorship package or digital platform may seem exciting to you, they alone are not the reason people sign on for a new advertising or exhibit contract. Take a step back and think about why someone signs on for a new program with you. Potential marketing partners are usually more interested in how these opportunities will help them boost their sales by either finding new customers or strengthening previous relationships. When it comes down to it, it’s your audience that really matters most. And your sales conversations should reflect that.

Whether you see yourself as a party planner (inviting brands to join the biggest event of the season) or a matchmaker (helping each company find the perfect long-term partner), your job is to help organizations meet new people and build new relationships.

In order to really sell your audience, you first need to know the ins and outs of who you are reaching. Start with some basic stats. How many unique visitors does your website receive each month? How many attendees have registered for the event? What types of organizations receive your publication?

From there, invest a little more time and effort into understanding their demographic details. Is your audience mostly concentrated in one region of the country? What positions do they hold in their companies? Are they primarily CEOs and decision makers? Are they engaged in particular industry categories or divisions? 

Once you have all the facts pinned down, you can dig in even deeper into their expectations and needs. Do they rely on your magazine for recommendations on new products they can purchase? Are they coming to your event to learn how to make their business more efficient?

As you seek more detailed information about your audience, you will have to set up new processes in order to gather and analyze this data. Send out surveys after your events. Give new and existing subscribers the chance to select which categories and topics they want to receive updates on. Not only will this help you understand your audience better, it also gives you a chance to segment your content promotion, which helps increase reader and member satisfaction.

When you have a more fine-tuned picture of who your audience is and what they want, it makes it easier for you to pitch more meaningful programs to potential advertisers. When you’re on a sales call, make sure to ask questions about who they’re looking to reach and make a case for why your audience could be beneficial for their goals. The person you’re calling may not have even considered your audience to be a viable target for them. By arming yourself with a greater understanding of your readership, you can help craft more valuable solutions and make more compelling arguments for why a potential advertiser needs to participate.

Once you communicate the value of your audience, you can then move on to the how. What are the different ways you will connect them to these new customers? At what frequency? But by first positioning your audience as your biggest selling point, you are reinforcing the idea that you have the resources to really help your advertisers increase their sales and visibility.

Want to learn more? Get in touch today.