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The week after Christmas my publisher gave to me 15 new promotion ideas for 2019

Wagner Get RealBy Peter Wagner

It is January and time to empower new ideas to put money in the bank this year. Here’s an idea for every month plus and extra three to swell the pot.

Honor Roll of Business pages
This is a great project for your inside sales department. (See example.) Sell local businesses 2x2-inch black and white ads, 27 to a page, listing the name of each participating firm under a bold listing of the year it was established. Add desired contact information to complete the message.
Arrange the boxes on the page or pages according to the year established. Begin with the oldest and continue right up to the newest startups on your account list. Bill the ads at your open column inch rate to experience a high return from each page.

Valentine’s Day Double Truck
Start out with a unique single or process color background of red and pink hearts or other traditional symbols of the holiday. Sell local gift stores, clothing stores, grocery stores, restaurants and florists set size ads to be laid on top of the background. Offer both black and white and process color ads. We have the best response offering 2x6, 3x5 and 3x10½ ad sizes. There’s still great opportunity selling Valentine’s Day ads but being successful requires much effort than a few years ago.

Easter Funny Bunny Money promotion
This is a different twist of the bunny’s tail. It is centered around having a costumed Easter Bunny handing out packs of Bunny Money (coupons) good for discounts on Easter fashions, groceries, restaurant meals, holiday decorations and basket treats. Have the person in the bunny suit distribute the Funny Money along downtown streets and at key business strips during advertised hours the Saturday before Palm Sunday. Sell the coupons and participation in a promotional page to your retailers at a price that will cover the ad page, the printing of the coupons and the cost of having someone being the Bunny. Offer reasonable discounts to firms that buy a second, third and fourth coupon.

Everything on Wheels section
Springtime draws readers outside. This section is designed to draw readers into car and truck dealerships, RV and motorcycle businesses, four-wheeler stores, lawn and garden tractor outlets and bicycle shops. Sell ads in the tabloid by pointing out it reaches the unique male audience with a large selection of whatever item on wheels currently interests them. This project works best as a tabloid sold only as quarter-, half- and full-page ads. For extra dollars include advertisers offering accessories and vehicle service.

5. MAY
Hospital Salute section
May is Hospital Month and the health industry is one of the best growth markets for community newspapers. Gain your share with a locally produced tabloid reporting each facility’s unique and exceptional services. Sell the section in page units priced about 150 percent your regular rate by offering a page of editorial material, provided by the hospital, for every page of advertising,

Four Wonderful Weekend Vacations Multi-Week Promotion
Keep it local. Work with local motels, bowling alleys, golf courses, resorts, various restaurants and outdoor events to create four weekend vacations full of local flavor. Sell two to three pages of 2x7-inch ads to run repeat over eight weeks. Each package includes free Weekend Vacation posters, a registration box and registration blanks. Have all the participating firms draw a possible vacation winner every two weeks and share that name with the newspaper. The paper then draws the actual vacation winner from that group. Doing so will give smaller merchants an equal opportunity with larger stores to have a winner. Let the store where the individual registered call the winner with the good news and have the winner pick up their prize package at that store. Be sure to offer the package to all the firms providing the various prizes. Already being in the limelight, they need to cash in on the greater value of the traffic created by the weekly registration.

Red, White and Blue Sale
This is an easy one. Do a special sale the week before the Fourth of July – right before traditional summer discounts – offering free red or blue spot color with every ad. Bunch the ads together to create an “I love America image”. We have the best results offering only eighth and quarter page ads.

End-of-Season Percentage Off Sale
This is designed more for building improved customer relations then for producing exceptional additional revenue. The deal is simple: The ads are open rate card rates, no volume or other discounts allowed, at a price reduced by percentage offered in the ad. If the end-of-season ad proclaims all clothing at 25 percent off, the discount is 25 percent. If the ad says 70 percent off, the discount for the ad is 70 percent.

Grandparents Day Pages
Grandparents Day is always good for a mixed page of 2x5 and 3x5 ads from gift stores, drug stores, service centers and health centers. For best effect, sell only process color ads.

Name That Ghost Promotion
Halloween is one of the top three retail holidays of the year. Publish a page or more of 2x7 ads, or a series of run-of-press ads, with ghost like images of the store’s owner or one of the employees in the center of the page. (You can get the negative images in Photoshop by inversing the colors.) Ask your readers to visit each store to correctly identify the ghost in the images. Offer a simple prize to the first person to deliver the correct list to your office, or put each correct list into a drawing for a grand prize.

Christmas Featured Firm Pages
Begin this promotion the first week of November so you can run the page every week the seven weeks before Christmas Day. Break the page into six smaller 2x7 spots and one larger 6x7 position. Determine your price by taking a full-page rate, dividing it by seven and multiplying that amount by 115 percent. Be sure to move that figure up to a nice round number. Each business gets one of the smaller spots six of the weeks and the larger spot, at the same low price, one week.

Sports Heroes Section
Local high school teams traditionally take time off from their weekly schedules during the holidays. That makes it a great time to publish a Sports Heroes section honoring the year’s top seniors, a great state-winning team from two or three decades ago or exceptional athletics from a specific year in the past. Double your income by selling both traditional and community support advertising into the section.

Plus, as promised, here are three more:

Red Ribbon Day and associated pages
You can easily sell four full-page community support pages each fall promoting restrained drug and alcohol use and run them during Red Ribbon Week in October, Homecoming Week, the Christmas holidays and graduation. (See example.) Use the majority of the page to explain the value of not drinking and driving and list all the sponsors in 1x1-inch spaces at the bottom. Sell all four pages with one call in the fall and bill the sponsor each time one of the ads runs.

Agriculture Featured Firm page
If you are not a strong agricultural area use the format to sell a specific neighborhood, a nearby community, a group of contractors or other like industry. (See example.) Once you have determined the theme, break a page into seven sections much like the Christmas Featured Firm promotion listed above.
Schedule the page once a month with six accounts filling the 2x7 spaces and one in the large 6x7-inch spot at the top. As before, determine your price by using your full-page rate, dividing it by seven and multiplying that amount by 115 percent. Close your sales calls quickly by pointing to the first buyers that by buying early, they get their choice of the best months for the bigger ad space.

Summer Dreaming
Produce a summer of weekly special sections by focusing on different nearby communities or neighborhoods for editorial material. Do features on what some of the local residents and officials – mayor, fire chief, lead pastor or family doctor – dream about for that area in the future. Include comments from schoolchildren, senior citizens and the retail community to expand the information base. Sell advertising to local merchants with the line “everyone in your community (neighborhood) will be sure to read this section to see what your leaders plan to do in the future.”

So there you have it: 15 workable ideas for any size publication. And with that, a Happy New year to all and to all a most profitable 2019.

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