Analyze this: A sales team’s guide to insightful analytics
It’s not easy being in ad sales these days. We bear the responsibility of generating the majority of revenue associated with our publication(s) but have almost no decision-making authority when it comes to the tools, technology and training we need to gain a competitive edge.
I hear more and more media executives lament how their salespeople can’t sell digital or that they’re not using a consultative sales approach. There’s a remedy for this: Train your sales team to use web analytics platforms.
Just a little bit of training can go a long way to providing the knowledge and confidence to make it rain on the digital side. Heck, you might be able to use the analytics to sell some print ads in the process.
The key is to focus on extracting data about your readers’ content consumption and preferences, not just their demographics/profile data. Unless you have a registration-based site, a typical analytics platform will provide anyone who’s interested with “basic” profile information—household income, age, gender, etc.
Ad networks already have and use this information to sell your site, so if you’re trying to sell using that same information – but at a higher CPM – you’re already behind the 8-ball.
Here are two scenarios where leveraging analytics data can put salespeople in a position to close larger contracts.
Pitching prospects with purpose
Let’s take eMediaVitals.com as an example; I know that “e-readers” is a topic that we’ve been covering (along with our competitors). I can go into Google Analytics and find how many articles we’ve written on the subject, the number of pageviews, average time on page, which types of articles were most popular—were they news focused or more how-to—were my prospects mentioned in the articles, and so forth.
So now, when I go to pitch companies that manufacture e-reader devices, I’m not going in with just audience demographic, but solid intel about the marketplace and the kind information that their potential customers want to justify why they need to be running on my site.
To take it a step further, because I know the types of information my readers are most interested in, I can also make recommendations on how to shape the marketing message. If prospects are not quite ready to advertise, I would suggest we do some proprietary awareness and perception research to find out how the advertiser stacks up against their competitors.
This approach positions you as a true marketing partner with a strong chance of landing the ad campaign spend when the time comes.
Here’s another quick and easy way to prospect using external analytics programs, like Quantcast. Hopefully your site is already “quantified” (if not, this is a must, it takes about 15 minutes, it’s free and agencies are using it more and more).
One of the more insightful Quantcast features is “Audience also likes,” which breaks out the other sites and categories that your readers are likely to visit. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if advertisers are running on these other sites they’re probably a good prospect for your site as well.
By the bingo, you may be surprised by the other sites your audience also visits – it’s not always your heads-up competitors. Here’s a an example of the “audience also likes” for New York Daily News:
Using analytics to help sell PRINT and online packages
Most magazines and newspapers have regular sections, topic hubs, columns or features that run in print. You probably have a few advertisers that would be a great fit given the subject relevancy, but they are having a tough time moving the client off the dime.
You can use analytics to create a dashboard for just the articles that were published in that particular section over the last couple months. This enables you to demonstrate with hard metrics not just the popularity of the section but the engagement as well—how much time spent, what they clicked on next/previous, etc.
If you have a more advanced platform you can probably pull demographic details as well. If the demos match up to your print readership, then it shouldn’t be too hard to sell an integrated campaign sponsoring the section in print and online.
If they don’t match up well, spin it another way: Now the client is getting exposure to a new set of possible prospects simply by running one campaign with you.
You can use that same methodology to help up-sell special issues or conferences, or to demonstrate that just because articles are in the back of the publication doesn’t mean they are not read.
Be honest – you have to play to an advertiser’s ego
If you’re lucky enough to have a current or potential client mentioned, quoted, or profiled in an article, please do not squander the opportunity. Most account managers will send such an article to their contact when it first comes out as a “thought you might like to see this.”
But how many of you pull the analytics on the piece after a month, and if it does well you have another reason to reach out that doesn’t involve “selling” them something. Well, as far as they know…
Understanding how to access the rich insight analytics can provide about your readers’ content consumption will provide salespeople with the confidence to sell integrated advertising programs and position them as a marketing consultant rather than just another ad space salesperson with a media kit.