Leverage the Summer Slowdown to Do This with Your Ad Sales List

How to make hay in the ad game when the rest of the world is slathering on the sunscreen.

Summertime – it’s hot, the sun’s out, your contacts are on vacation – and it’s easy to fall into thinking that there’s not much productive work you can accomplish. Instead of giving in to the August doldrums, Carl Landau of Niche Media offers some ad sales strategies to make the most of the dog days of summer.

“Summertime means longer daylight for fun, lots of vacations, people leaving the office early on Friday afternoons. Sometimes it’s hard to get clients to answer phone or email. It’s also kinda hot and it makes everyone slow down a little,” Landau writes in Niche Media HQ. “But we actually need this time during the year to pause and think creatively and strategically.”

For Landau, this is the ideal time to get yourself in position for your clients’ 2019 ad budgets – and the best way to start is by emailing everyone on your list.

“That’s right–everyone,” he explains. “Try to personalize as much as possible and be sure to use your CRM so you can track opens, clicks, and hard bounces.”

“Try this subject line:  ‘Are you interested in reaching this audience?’
This message usually gives me a high response.”

Next, create a spreadsheet of who’s opened or clicked on your email, and their current level of interest, i.e. whether they are A/B/C prospects. “This is crucial so you have the most accurate and updated list when fall hits,” Landau notes.

Finally, research the bounce backs. 

“People move around from company to company, chances are your contact has moved on,” he continues. “Research to see if you can figure out where the prospect has landed so you can add them into your database. I also send group emails to the old employer inquiring who my new contact would be. (I don’t try to sell anyone in this email.) You would be surprised how many people respond with helpful information.”

For Landau, this three-step approach is already working.

“I recently tried to email a prospect who I had worked with several months earlier,” Landau writes. “At the time, he was very engaged, we went back and forth for months, I sent him a proposal. Then crickets. So I wasn’t surprised when a couple of months later his email bounced back. I did the research and sure enough, he had moved on to another company so I added that new info to my updated list.

“I then sent the group email to the old company,” he continues.  “I received a response immediately that he no longer worked there. And I’m now working directly with the decision-maker, his boss!”

The pay-off to this non-glamorous but important work is a deeper understanding of not just your “A” list (likely renewals), but those Bs and Cs that you’ll contact in the fall push. 

We talk a lot about the need for publishers to take an active role in educating advertisers about the value of print. We used to almost take it granted that our ad partners understood the “why” behind their ad choices. But with the advent of digital, everything has changed, and publishers must become advocates for their ad partners.

We are getting better about helping them understand where print fits in today’s consumer funnel and the truth about print in the digital age. And part of that is taking a “back-to-basics” approach toward contact management like Landau advises.

So now, when someone asks what you did all summer, you’ll be able to say you positioned yourself for some serious sales success in 2019.