Trade publications are facing the same stark issues with advertising that many others in the publishing industry are also dealing with, but with an added issue; their pool of clients just isn’t as big as a general interest publication. So how do you find new advertisers in a smaller pool of fish?
Look for Problems to Solve
The most basic reason clients look at new publications, whether they switch their ad dollars to another or simply add them to the portfolio, is because they think choosing that advertiser will address a concern they have. With trade publications, the best way to land that account is to solve that problem.
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Is the advertiser in question looking for more government contracts? Are they looking to broaden their appeal to a different sector of the industry? Are they simply dissatisfied with how their campaign is performing? Look for and have solutions to these problems. Even if you can solve a narrow and specific problem, it’s still business, and those accounts can grow surprisingly fast.
Meet the Clients On Their Terms
More often than not these days, a potential advertiser hears about you through a link to an article or gets your email address from a forum. Keep a sharp eye out for these, not least because they’ll contact you through unorthodox means, such as dropping a comment on a blog post or sending you a Facebook message. Demonstrating that you’re watching these channels both ensures you stay in front of your client’s mind, and means they’ll reply right away.
Don’t Assume the Big Clients are All There is
No matter your industry, there are more clients out there than you think. The simple fact of the matter is that many industries are growing quickly as new small businesses start up and look to gain traction, and that there are often many businesses that have marketing budgets you can be a part of. Keep an eye out for new businesses and ask them about their marketing needs; even if it’s early days, bringing them more customers is often appealing, and many small businesses are willing to experiment.
Create Follow-Up Content for Your Internet Presence
The trade industry has a notable aversion to posting their content online, but that extends often extends to posting any content online, and that’s a mistake. Part of finding clients is drawing them to you, and the best way to do that is often to tie your publication to your blog or social media presence with follow-up content such as a Q&A with the author or a reaction piece to the letters you receive. Discussion in particular is important because the more people talk with your staff and each other, the more hubbub they make and the more people come to participate.
Don’t Give Up
The most important aspect of finding new advertisers, in the end, is to never stop looking for them. The more present you are, the more cards you give out, the more hands you shake, the more you’re in the minds of potential clients. It’s hard work, true, but it pays off.