Why Most Stations Don’t Make Money on Their Website

A Special Article By Scott Wolf

OK, marketers, here’s a hypothetical: you’re putting a brand-new station on the air. Other than selling combo packages with your current station(s), how will you build your account list?

You have no audience. No numbers to sell. No advertiser success stories. How are you going to do it? It’s not like selling your market’s #1 station with a 15 share.

You’ll only accept big-money advertisers who sign annual contracts, right? Wrong. Instead, you’ll fight for every new account, even the small ones. Then, when they do sign up, you’ll service them like crazy so you can keep them on the air.

Although you’ll have attrition, you should slowly but surely develop a critical mass of advertisers who become the foundation of your station’s account list. They’ll spend more and more with time. And if you’re smart, you’ll keep the new ones coming in the door to keep building that list.

“Value Added” Means “Profit Lost”
But until you focus on this station, revenue will only come when you combo it with your others. Your rate will stay low and your sales team will give it away as "value added."

The cold hard fact of life is your new station needs a dedicated sales effort to get the billing off the ground. Otherwise there’s just not enough focus to produce meaningful results.

Sounds like a lot of Radio station Websites, doesn’t it? While few broadcasters would think of launching a new station without a marketing plan in place, it happens every day with Radio station Websites.

Why Sales Drop After 90 Days
When it comes to selling Website ads, most stations are not happy with their production. Here’s the typical strategy: Have your AEs include an "Internet component" on each of their proposals. Period.

This develops some revenue, but not enough to give your website a life of its own. Maybe your account executives will make a sale or two to their clients that distribute coupons. Perhaps they’ll sell a couple of past prospects that only do print. Ninety days later, they’ll be fresh out of prospects and won’t know how to find more.

Here’s the harsh reality: Unless you have a systematic marketing strategy to develop an ongoing stream of new Internet buyers, your Website will always be "value added."

Enter the telephone. Set up a telephone sales department and you can dramatically increase your Website sales. Why? Because one telephone salesperson will make 80 sales calls every day, as many as 10 account executives. Now that’s focus!

Since most new advertisers start small and increase their spending over time, a telephone salesperson is ideal for starting relationships with new advertisers. It absolutely is not worthwhile for your outside sales force to spend the time and energy tracking down $400 to $500 orders - and you don’t want them to! Yet those $400 orders represent the start of a long-term account list.

The Solution for New Revenue and New Advertisers
Instead, put a telemarketer on the phone. A producer who makes just two $500 sales a day will add 40 new buyers a month to your account list and $20,000 in new billing. Now go over this list of new telemarketing accounts and send your AEs out to service the buyers with more potential . . . this is something to get excited about!

What if your telemarketer only sells 15 new companies a month? After a year, that’s 180 new buyers. Add 180 new buyers to your Internet account list and your one telemarketer will sell more than most major market clusters!

Suddenly you have a marketing strategy in place that makes sense, and you will begin to see real growth in your Website sales.

Does this mean telephone selling is easy? No. It takes work and you may not have the time to build a successful telemarketing department. But if you believe a successful Website is important to your long-term success, you can count on this strategy. It works.