Our enemies are in the shadows today versus 10 years ago. Specifically, how competition to traditional media is coming from of all places – and one of them is newspapers. That’s right, the newspapers’ digital divisions are taking more from traditional media than you’ll ever know. The newspapers’ digital teams are in the shadows and we are not taking them seriously. Time to take them seriously!
One of my guest stars in the Liquid Fire seminar was George Leith, VP of sales for Vendasta Technologies. George helped us cover some of the most important things happening in digital and what he is seeing on the road. Here is George discussing the impact on the radio as well as other media as especially what lies in store for business owners in the future: “Radio salespeople are on the front lines. Radio, above all other media, is actively calling on clients in their respective local marketplaces and this puts them in the perfect position to sell and deliver digital solutions to businesses. I am not talking about banner ads on the station website when I refer to digital. I am talking about the wide array of digital services businesses need and have to be addressed to stay relevant in today’s Internet age.”
During my sales seminar, I spoke of the digital sales opportunity that radio has and here is a look at what every station in North America should be selling in their digital toolkit today.
1. Listing management is the single biggest pain for businesses to manage and improve their accuracy across the 300 plus-places where a business needs to be found with correct data.
2. Online reputation monitoring: What are customers of the business saying on Facebook (now the largest review site for businesses, btw), Yelp, and Google+? There is also a multitude of vertical-specific sites that businesses need to be aware of in terms of the customer comments, and have an automated solution to deliver these reviews to the various management team members who need to know about these comments in a timely manner to help manage the business better.
3. Review-response strategy: Monitoring what is being said online isn’t enough. Business people need to respond to reviews, both positive and negative. Media companies are finding that selling review-response services is big business for their digital agency arms. Helping their clients carry out this customer service practice online is imperative.
4. Social Media channel creation: Getting businesses started with social media channels is the first step – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, and Google+. Just setting these up correctly is a challenge for most businesspeople and I have found they are more than willing to pay a provider to create robust solutions for these channels.
5. Social Media planning and execution: Once created, these channels need content. Rich, engaging content that captures the attention of the followers of the various channels. This content can position the business as an industry leader with information about the various products and services the business offers. Once established as a channel for information and relevancy, these channels are then effective promotional channels for the business. But too many times the business just posts “buy my stuff,” thus the need for a trusted marketing team to prepare content for these channels on the business’s behalf, and that’s where radio comes in.
6. Websites: It is astonishing how many businesses do not have a website and/or have a website they hate! By “hate” I mean they have a site that is not up to date or is not mobile friendly. A user is five times more likely to leave a website that is not mobile friendly, and businesses need a provider that can help with content creation for websites as well.
7. Social Media lead generation is hot on Twitter: Solutions exist that can show when consumers declare their intention for a product or service just through a tweet. When someone tweets, "OMG I just locked my keys in the car,” there are listening services that can find these leads online using geo-targeting and then responding to the potential customer with a virtual coupon or carry on a conversation with the potential client, driving new business.
8. Targeted display advertising online is a huge opportunity for radio sales. Ad networks and data service providers can provide deep information on how to target a campaign of banner ads, mobile-friendly ads, and video pre-roll messages. These targeted campaigns use the inventories of many of the websites we travel to every day. Many media companies selling this inventory in concert with their legacy avails, helps clients fill that need for digital ad penetration.
9. Multi-location opportunities. Every market has them, large companies with 100s of locations or the local brand made good with five or 25 locations in a single DMA. Listing, reputation, and social solutions exist for these businesses as well, and they are more likely to deal with the trusted radio company in the market than the guy on the phone from NYC or LA.
10. A digital agency to look after these various campaigns and services. The real opportunity is in the street salesforce that the collective radio companies have. You actually make calls face to face. BIA Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor Wave 17 Q3/2013 shows that of SMBs that advertise, the importance of an “on-premise” salesperson to sell them digital products and services was either very important or extremely important. I like to refer to it as the client wanted “someone to yell at!” The customer has a multitude of questions on digital and the best strategies. Also, they have a ton of people phoning them to offer these services – they want someone they can count on and who is transparent and accountable.
The opportunity is massive and the race is on. All media, from agencies, YP, newspaper, and TV are after these dollars and the relationship that comes with being the digital agency of record for the client. Radio has a firm relationship with many of the SMBs in their markets and is perfectly positioned to deliver these services to their clients.
Thank you George!
To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.
Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group International and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.luceperformancegroup.com.