Digital advertising has become a revenue driver for media companies operating in all types of markets. For those in smaller markets, there are often misconceptions about whether they can do this incrementally and successfully. The reality is that you can grow local digital ad sales in any environment. Let’s review tips to help your sales team win big in digital.

Small Markets Have High Demand (Really!)

Stations operating in smaller markets often have a false impression that there’s no demand from advertisers regarding digital ad needs. These businesses have the same goals as any larger brand — they want to attract, convert and retain customers. Digital advertising enables them to target their ideal customers across many tactics, complementing traditional media buys. You can deliver both to them, which makes you a great partner.

Don’t dismiss local businesses as not having ad dollars to spend. With the economy looking optimistic and inflation retracting, they may be expanding their budgets to account for more consumer spending. Being a source of market intelligence puts you in a great position to capitalize on this demand and deliver great results.

Competition for Local Digital Ad Dollars Is Fierce, and You Can Stand Out by Being Local

All markets are competitive, no matter the size. Local businesses likely get calls or emails every day about advertising their business. You work in their community and understand the market, giving you an edge against agencies that don’t. There will be competition from other stations and local media companies, too. Thus, you need to have a strategy for local digital ad sales, including a compelling VBR (valid business reason) that demonstrates what’s in it for them to talk to you.

  • Incorporate data and stats about the region and their industry.
  • Present unique ideas on how to help them reach their business goals.
  • Emphasize how you can support their digital and traditional ad buys.
  • Take the approach as a helper, not a seller, who has answers to their challenges and concerns.

Being prepared to tackle advertisers’ objections and misconceptions will set you apart from the rest. Forming a relationship and a connection based on the value you bring will always drive better outcomes in sales.

A Commitment to Local Digital Ad Sales Is Essential in Small Markets

Many small markets don’t realize the revenue potential from digital ad sales. They let misconceptions impact their sales strategies instead of adapting to the current market. If digital advertising is an afterthought, salespeople don’t get the support they need from station leadership to make it part of every advertiser conversation. Commitment involves several things:

  • Providing sellers with training and upskilling opportunities
  • Setting digital ad sales goals that are separate from traditional
  • Adopting technology that streamlines selling, proposing, ordering, reporting and billing

Without these things in place, third-party digital success isn’t attainable or sustainable. However, it’s clear that growth in ad revenue is heavily dependent on digital. According to the 11th annual Borrell-RAB digital benchmarking report, digital ad sales for radio will hit nearly $2 billion in 2023 and will account for 22% of total revenue.

Linear ad sales aren’t growing at this rate, with advertisers choosing to spend dollars on more diverse tactics. Traditional will always be the center of what you do, but digital amplifies the impact of these ads.

Small Markets Need Technology Built for Media Companies

Technology is an essential component for small-market success, and for it to actually support sellers, it should be designed for them. Proposing, ad execution, monitoring performance, creating reports and billing are all connected with this type of platform. It reduces administrative strains on sellers and offers a guided approach to putting together the elements of a campaign. Ad execution happens through the application and doesn’t require salespeople to traffic ads. Such a solution can also integrate with our radio traffic system, enabling proposals with both digital and linear in one.

Your small market can also gain strategic support with training, resources and help from digital specialists. Your team will thrive with this structure in place. If this sounds like something that only large media companies can get, you’ll be happy to know it’s available for any station through Marketron NXT, the only third-party digital platform built for local media companies.

You can explore exactly how a small market found success with NXT by reading the case study featuring Hub City Radio. They used NXT to create a new revenue stream with digital, including a six-figure account.

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