Presented by Julie Foley and Liz Crider Huff, directors of affiliate success, Second Street
A promotion message that bears repeating. Why promotions? Local advertising has been flat for the last decade, while promotion spend is growing at 2 to 2 ½ times faster.
And this, too. Lesson from the Great Recession: In the last major economic slump in 2008-2009, spend on promotion exceeded advertising. Why? Businesses realized that what they wanted then was leads.
Tim Armstrong (Google, AOL, Yahoo) said it: Anything that is not trackable or has demonstrable ROI is going to get hit (i.e., not be in the budget).
Julie Foley elaborated: Advertisers are very cautious about where they are putting their money. And what is trackable and can provide measurable ROI? Promotions.
Sure, the economy is “shut down,” but … Second Street is encountering a surprising number of advertisers that are in growth mode now — because they know they will be well-positioned to take greater market share when this crisis is at last over.
Here are businesses your newspaper should be talking with now:
Wealth managers and financial planners. Julie Foley personally knows a wealth manager who plans on spending more on promotions, such as quizzes on how well-positioned you are for retirement. He and other financial planners believe this is a time for them to grow. A good promotion to pitch: A quiz that educates and engages while collecting leads at the same time.
Grocery stores. They are benefiting from being among the few essential businesses operating during lockdowns. But they have other goals: Short-term, to build their customer database, long-term to position themselves as important in the community. Specialty grocery stores are an especially good target right now.
Pharmacies. If ever there were a good time to go from nationally branded pharmacy to local pharmacist, it’s now. Talk to them about doing something community-oriented such as pet photo contests.
Wine and liquor stores. All jokes about quarantine imbibing aside, they are a good promotions target. Wine and liquor stores are doing great business because they are open and considered essential in almost all states. But they want to emerge from the pandemic as the number one store in their market. A good promotion is a sweepstakes with prizes such as gift cards.
Delivery companies. And there are a ton of them — Grubhub, DoorDash, UberEats, etc. — all benefiting from the closure of dine-in restaurants. They have an interest in seeing restaurants come back so many are lowering their delivery fees and investing in local restaurants. Grubhub, for instance, says it is spending $30 million to help restaurants. Pitch a promotion between a delivery business and a local restaurant.
Home improvement. Your readers and digital audience are stuck at home and so DIY projects become very big now. Home improvement stores are in the bucket of businesses that are thriving. Talk to the locally owned nurseries and hardware stores before the big chains so you can forge relationships with them.
Real estate. While there is a lot of inventory out there, houses are being sold and put on the market even amidst the coronavirus. Promos that work for them: Photo contests, quizzes.
Lawyers. Not typically big newspaper advertisers, they are signaling a willingness to spend on the right promotion. For instance: A Chicago personal injury law firm sponsored a “Take a Walk” photo contest through WGN-TV.
Telemedicine. This sector was growing before the pandemic, but has accelerated now because it’s basically mandatory. It is poised to grow in the future because more people are likely to prefer the remote treatment/diagnosis of telemedicine rather than going to offices.
Other opportunities. Here are some advertisers that are not quite in growth mode, but would be open to lead-generating promotions because they need to retain their customers and market share.
Pet services. Look for people coming out of the pandemic to think about changing their veterinarians. And remember that people still need pet supplies. These promotions practically write themselves: think cute pet photos.
Urologists. These professionals have typically ramped up spending around this time, when March Madness and other sports are riveting their demographic. They have lots of money to spend but no sports connection now. Consider suggesting quizzes on themes such as men’s wellness.
Banks/financial institutions. These want to educate their customers and potential customers on their remote services and consulting they can do. Again, educational and engaging quizzes are the way to go with these businesses.
Tax preparers. Very similar to the previous. People are thinking about finances a lot. Many people need advice and are searching around to perhaps replace their accountant. You can help these businesses find leads.
Urgent care. Pre-pandemic, this was a growth sector but now — as people shy away from going to the emergency room — they are poised to surge.
Landscaping. People are putting off vacations and looking at their lawns as a place to spend. Landscapers need leads. One successful contest is “worst lawn” in the community. It not only gives them leads but gives the landscaper information to qualify the leads.
Roofers. They hadn’t spent much in the past because they had word-of-mouth going for them, but now, Second Street believes, they are desperate for business. Call and tell them how you can help them find households that need a new roof.
Window/door companies. Some are doing promotions right in the middle of the pandemic, such as a window company that is sponsoring a Hero of the Week contest focused on pandemic first responders and frontline workers that is running in the Orlando Sentinel.
Pools/pool maintenance. With public pools likely to be closed into the summer, a backyard pool will be more attractive to homeowners. Help generate leads with summer-oriented promotions.
Restaurants. Many are holding contests now with gift cards as the prizes. A couple of examples: A “social distancing” photo contest and a “What to do on a date night in” quiz.
Automotive. They are still trying to sell cars, but they don’t really need brand awareness right now — they need leads.
Colleges/trade schools. In this confusing environment, colleges are completely disrupted, but they want leads for the fall.
And technical schools and trade schools should be an especially good target advertiser because they always see a bump in economic downturn as unemployment grows. It happened in 2008 — and they expect it to happen now. Drive leads with a sweepstakes.
Tutoring services. This forced home schooling during the pandemic will leave many kids behind in their learning. Help tutoring services find leads with in-house learning quizzes and photo contests.
Home storage. Cooped up people will be looking for sheds and other additions. The Paducah Sun recently ran a photo contest with the theme “Home but not alone” that was sponsored by a storage shed maker.
You asked: Are there liquor laws that could restrict some of the promotions by wine or liquor stores? Liz Crider Huff responded, there probably are. I’d defer to your legal team.
You suggested some businesses to pursue during this pandemic: Power washing companies, RV/trailer sellers, pest control, furniture.
You asked: How do you price promotions? Think first of the elements of the promotion package. What is the value of the print piece? What is the value of the digital? Second Street has seen packages range from $500 to $15,000. It all really depends on what value you put on the elements of the packages.
Julie Foley said it: The conversation needs to be: What do you need? How can we fill your pipeline with leads? Rather than, don’t pull your print!
Some Second Street resources:
Covid-appropriate promotions are at Secondstreet.com/covid-advertisers. You don’t need to be a partner; it’s free for all.
On-demand training has been updated to include the promotion climate during this COVID-19 time.
After the webinar. You can always get in contact with Second Street by going to lab.secondstreet.com. You don’t need to be a partner with Second Street to participate.
Here are some additional materials provided by Second Street: