New Media Notes

notes on news, advertising and social media shared by ben smith

Archive for the ‘Email’ Category

The Future of Direct Mail

Posted by benasmith on October 10, 2008

Many advertisers still consider direct mail a “premium” means of distributing information. Direct delivery to a consumers mailbox has an appeal, of course. But it’s time to move on. If an advertiser wants direct distribution to a targeted consumer why not look at one of the many opt-in email opportunities. “Opt-In” is the key phrase. So much quicker, cost effective, and targeted. Surely it makes more sense for an advertiser to reach 500 people that have requested to receive information about specific categories of products or services than even 5,000 that haven’t requested anything and likely don’t want junk clogging up their mailbox.

Interesting article in Newsweek:

It’s amazing to read that direct mailings now constitute some 52% of mail volume, up from 38% in 1990. Yet at the same time the consumer polls referred to in the article state that some 89% of consumers say they would prefer not to receive direct mail and some 44% of direct mail is never even opened.

Working in the newspaper industry, I see this as a great opportunity for newspapers in particular. Despite trends in circulation decline, newspaper is still a highly effective media. Especially at a suburban / community level where newspapers provide unique hyper-local news and advertising, less so in metros where they traditionally provide information that’s now available on countless websites and cable TV. Where newspaper have traditionally lost a certain amount of advertising revenue to direct mail, it’s a great time to go after those advertisers. Use readers to build targeted email lists. Build lists that can be targeted by zip code, that have opt-ins for different categories of information. Seek email sign-ups at every opportunity. Run reader contests that prompt for email sign-up when they enter, make it part of the subscription or renewal process. Keep building the email lists and make sure when advertisers use them to send information they include decent offers, coupons or promotions. Make the emails something people want to receive – strong offers, limited to the categories of information they have requested and relevant to the local market. Don’t abuse their trust in your product by sending information they didn’t request. Soon people will want to be part of the list and sign-ups will keep growing. It’s a great opportunity for any newspaper and thanks to services such as Constant Contact it’s easy to deal with spam regulations and to send quality HTML email without any technical knowledge required.


Posted in Direct Mail, Email, Newspapers | Leave a Comment »

Ten Ways That Ad Sales People Can Save Newspapers

Posted by benasmith on September 5, 2008

In some ways I think the title of this blog is a little misleading. It’s really a blog concerning revenue opportunities on newspaper websites. It doesnt address print itself, and contrary to what many people think there are still plenty of print revenue opportunities for those newspapers with a strong product and the ability to forward think and get creative.

Also a couple of online opportunities I believe should really have been included but weren’t mentioned. First, local directories / “business hubs” such as Lawrence Marketplace. Make sure the site is of genuine value by being pro-active in getting every business in the particular market on the site with a free listing. And make sure that listing contains a decent, useful, amount of information. Offer businesses the opportunity for paid upgrades, but get them on their first with a decent free listing that makes people actually want to use the site as opposed to going to a typical yellow pages type site. Second, opt-in email services – advertisers paying to be part of daily, weekly or even monthly email newsletter to readers that opt-in to receive local offers. Give readers good reason to opt-in by providing local offers and content that’s of value. And give them opportunities to opt-in at any time they are interacting with the paper – part of the subscription process, an additional check box in reader contests or promotions. Give readers local offers and information that isn’t perceived as spam. Give them something of genuine value. My personal experience has been a very favorable opt-in rate. To make life even easier use a third party service such as Constant Contact to manage email lists and provide very easy to use email templates.

Having said that, this is still a good list of ten basic principles every newspaper should follow in generating online revenue:

Posted in Email, Newspapers, Online Revenue | Leave a Comment »