How can I use mobile to help my newspaper?
How can I help my advertisers leverage mobile technology?
Mobile is becoming an increasingly important part of people's lives; as a result, mobile is becoming an increasingly important part of a company's business plan.
The numbers for mobile are staggering – there are more than 1.2 billion people accessing the Web from their mobile devices, 58 percent of U.S. consumers own a smartphone, and the average smartphone user checks his or her phone more than 150 times each day. Your newspaper needs to have a rock solid plan to not only incorporate mobile into the user experience, but also help your advertisers leverage this technology.
You need to have a two-pronged approach – one plan for your newspaper, the other for your advertisers. First, it is critical to provide the ultimate Web experience across all mobile devices (smartphones, tablets and future devices).
Your mobile site should not only feature the most important sections of your newspaper, but also seamlessly incorporate advertisers into the experience. A newspaper's mobile site should be about convenience and easy access to important information. This will differ for each individual newspaper but I would highly recommend looking at your site analytics to figure out how your consumers are accessing your content through different platforms.
At the very least, I recommend that you should feature breaking news, classifieds, local news (since your newspaper should first serve the local audience) and a "contact us" button. Your mobile site should be personalized so it retains the look, feel and personality of your paper.
There are many companies out there that can help you mobilize your newspaper and each has different strengths and weaknesses. I encourage you to look around for a solution that provides a fully responsive site that is customizable for the optimal user experience. There are several companies that I know of which have a solution that can convert any website into a mobile and tablet site based on the needs of the businesses they work with.
As you have read from my previous articles, I am a big fan of the "needs analysis" approach to sales. I like salespeople who listen to their prospects and deliver a solution that helps them succeed. To learn more about these companies, please email me.
The second part of your business plan for mobile should be related to how it affects your advertisers. Your advertisers look to you for guidance with their advertising. After all, your salespeople have been building the relationships over time and they are a trusted resource for information. Your salespeople should help the businesses take baby steps into the world of mobile and then grow the commitment, which will grow the revenue.
Have your salespeople go back to the needs analysis approach – talk with customers about their business priorities and show them how your newspaper has the right solutions. I think you should consider building a mobile template that would make it easy for businesses to engage. A standardized product would quickly give your advertising partners a mobile presence at an affordable price. You may even want to consider building different templates for different verticals that you are selling into.
If you have a deep set of products and services that can meet your prospects' needs, you have increased your chances of making the sale, since you will always have something to offer them. By developing a mobile offering, you have added another revenue stream that will grow substantially over time.
Allan Barmak is a national speaker and author of "The Accidental Salesperson." He leads a sales consulting and training firm which leverages his 20 years of sales experience in digital media. Over the years, he has worked with a variety of different companies across a wide range of industries, helping each of them expand their sales operations by optimizing existing revenue streams as well as building new ones.
He is available to run customized training for your salespeople to help them sell online media and can also deliver an "Accidental Salesperson" column for your paper if you would like additional content.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 597-1033.