Local magazines can create awesome micro-moments on smartphones

It’s now more than two years since Google introduced the concept of micro-moments. Google put a name to a behavior that, thanks to mobile, was becoming pervasive. People had started to expect an immediate answer in the moments they wanted to know, go, do, and buy. The concept of micro-moments was perhaps as truthful, observable, and relatable a consumer behavior trend as any marketer could wish for.

What does micro-moments have to do with local magazines?

Mobile is rewriting communication and commerce, changing the relationship between brands and people forever. And with half of the world still waiting to join the online world, we are only at the foothills of what is possible. The brands that lead this, providing consumers with a frictionless experience online and offline, are the brands that will win in the future.

The advertisers behind those brands need help to generate relevant and authentic content – journalistic and well as advertising. Even poorly made local magazine websites tend to carry a lot of weight for search engines to present relevant local information. So imagine what a magazine website with great editorial AND advertorial AND advertising content around a brand can do!

How can local magazines create products around micro-moments?

Local magazines are uniquely positioned to offer advertisers a subscription service to web pages with advertorial content with their own targeted url to drive SEO. Think a professionally written article where a brand is cleverly mentioned and the url does not include the brand, i.e. https://localmag.com/where-to-find-stone-oven-pizza.

Typically, four core micro-moments are defined:

  • I want to know
  • I want to go
  • I want to buy
  • I want to do

Get your team together to brainstorm ideas for what local brands and advertisers that sell products matching those core micro-moments. Pick the top five most promising ones, based on ability to get ROI for the micro-moments and how likely it is that smartphone users will be searching for the type of products they sell. Put together a short pitch of your offering and go sell!

How should we build our pitch around micro-moments?

First and foremost, your magazine website MUST be responsive, meaning that it displays as nicely on a smartphone as on a large screen PC. As a user I can’t be expected to zoom in using my finger. If you don’t already have such a website, get one quickly because this advice does not only apply to micro-moments.

Next, present a step-wise customer journey to the advertiser you’re pitching to. This journey need to start with a very product or problem specific Google search on a smartphone, related (of course) to the product that the advertiser is selling, and end with the smartphone user buying the advertiser’s product.

Start by presenting the search results you get the day you’re pitching and present what an alternative universe. A universe where the advertiser’s brand is represented on your website with editorial, advertorial and advertising content. A universe where the content is published under specific urls that are optimized for the product or problem that smartphone users need a solution for.

Finally, present a simple ROI calculation based on facts from Google’s “Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile“. Some of the statistics in the piece are stunning:

  • 65% of smartphone users look for the most relevant information on their devices regardless of what company provides that information,
  • 90% of them aren’t certain what brand they want to purchase when they begin their Internet search,
  • 82% consult their smartphones even after they are inside a chosen store,
  • and ‘how-to’ searches on YouTube are growing 70% year-over-year.

Show the advertiser how much you’re likely to be able to increase sales for him and show him how you can help generate the content as part of your package. Go back to one of our past posts for more ideas.

What content is relevant in micro-moments?

Focus on the smartphone user to connect with them on a one-to-one basis. In order to create an engaging experience, help the brand get rooted in purpose and doing good for the world. Yes, I know this may be stretching what you as a published believe your mission is, but I’d argue that it should be part of your mission to connect advertisers and their customers through a easy, helpful and convenient experience.

Don’t limit yourself to banner ads or advertorial content that is so obviously pushing products. The smartphone journey from above is a fragile flower that will end as soon as the experience becomes irrelevant or inauthentic. It is possible to create advertorial content that don’t feel like a product is being shoved down the readers throat. That’s what you need to pitch and even better if you can offer it as an editorial piece.

Banner ads that are not intrusive in their location, look and feel can certainly play an important part in the smartphone journey but do make sure they display well on any device. Use a platform like Bannerflow to generate HTML5 banners rather than displaying crappy gifs.

Video, video, video … and video times a large number

By 2021, 82% of the global internet is predicted to be video traffic. Already, according to Adweek, 50% of Gen Z ‘Can’t Live Without YouTube. Help your clients leverage video in an educational and fun way. Think up ways how you can incorporate video in articles originally produced for print to multi-purpose your carefully crafted journalistic content on your website.

A word of caution. While the younger generations consume a lot of content on YouTube, you need to educate yourself on the pros and cons of YouTube. Depending on the nature of your publishing business you may want to host your videos on Wistia rather than YouTube.

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SendGrid email guide for Media and Publishing

SendGrid is RunMags’ recommended email partner and our email platform for high volume email senders sends email with SendGrid. Every day, SendGrid helps thousands of media/publishing companies deliver email to their recipients and their platform is an ideal solution for many of these companies because they send both transactional and marketing email.

Now SendGrid has put together a small email guide for media and publishing companies.

Click here to download your copy of SendGrid’s email guide!

In addition to meeting all the email needs of media and publishing senders, SendGrid is the industry leader when it comes to customer support, deliverability, and email expertise. The email guide is designed to help media/publishing companies:

  1. Learn how other media and publishing companies leverage email for business success
  2. Compare email engagement metrics to industry-wide benchmarks
  3. Get delivery best practices for media and publishing
  4. Determine what changes will improve email performance

Delivering large volumes of email is not quite as easy as most people think. For publishers it’s absolutely crucial to maintain a high degree of deliverability, especially if sponsored emails are part of your product inventory or if it’s possible to purchase advertising in your newsletters. As a comparison, imagine if you have a 50,000 circulation for your print magazine, but only 10,000 of the copies make it to the mailboxes of each paying subscriber. Not only would your readers be upset with your delivery quality, but your advertisers would probably also not like your inability to get their brands in front of the readers.

As a publisher using RunMags, you won’t need an account with MailChimp or Constant Contant. For a very competitive price we’ll hook you up with a SendGrid account and your own IP address. That way you’ll always maintain your customer database with subscribers as well as advertisers in RunMags. You’ll compose your emails in RunMags, but SendGrid is your highly effective mailman.

Click here to download your copy of SendGrid’s email guide!

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Best practices for promoting your magazine

Social media is merely one out of many channels you should employ to promote your magazine.

While this post aims to help magazine publishers promote their magazine’s advertising products rather than to sell subscriptions, the two are for obvious reasons connected as a large circulation will help attract advertisers.

Media agencies and local companies buy differently
Don’t only create a Media Kit for agencies. Sell your value prop.

Naturally you already have a website where you drive traffic via organic search, convert visitors to email subscribers and sell your numerous products, right? Don’t forget to sell your digital magazine there, too – believe it or not, I’ve stumbled across quite a few otherwise savvy publishers whose digital magazine is mentioned nowhere on their site!

The Economist doesn’t hold back, they have a clever rotating ad at the top of their home page that speaks to both digital and print subscribers, asking “Which Economist reader are you?”

The obvious
Designing a great cover, advertising on Google, etc

When you’re asking yourself how to promote a magazine app, the first place any publisher should look is at their own web presence. Promoting your app on your website is an important part of growing awareness and sales of your digital edition. The way you promote your app will depend on if your publication is digital only and distributed exclusively on app store sales, or if you sell print and digital subscriptions on your website.

If your publication falls into the later, you’ll want to evaluate the best way to incorporate your app into your online subscription sales. On the other hand, if your publication is digital-only, you can develop a landing page (stand alone or as a part of your website) to promote your app and lead visitors towards the app stores.

A landing page gives you more visibility in search and, while it’s true that your Apple iTunes and Google Play page will show up in search, developing your own web presence allows you to communicate and promote your app in ways the stores simply don’t allow.

Another thing you’ll want to do to communicate with mobile users is to set up an app banner on your website. These banners will show up to mobile visitors, directing them to download you app. It’s important to configure your app banners to direct users to the correct app store, based on the device they are using. There are a few ways to implement universal app banners that work on Android and iOs – this article explains some popular ways.

Invest time on App Store Optimization (ASO)
When we’re talking about mobile apps, the starting point for user acquisition is developing a strong search presence on the app stores. App publishers can improve their organic results by adopting some basic App Store Optimization (ASO) strategies that boost app store ranking and visitor conversion rates, in addition to using tools (usually at a cost) to gain competitive insights.

Your app description, keywords and icon all play a role in driving traffic to your app. That being said, maybe the most underestimated element to optimize are your app screenshots, which should portray realistic usage of your app while highlighting the most important features or exclusive content in your digital edition. Many magazine publishers will also update their first screenshot to the cover of the latest issue, which is a great strategy considering it’s the first screenshot that is previewed in search results!

3. Enact a plan to get reviews & ratings
There’s no sense gathering reviews and ratings until you have a lot of people using your app, right? Wrong. Both reviews and ratings are an important part of your ranking algorithm, plus they give users social proof (i.e. confirmation about the benefits of downloading your app).

On Apple’s App Store, your average rating will only kick in once you’ve received five ratings, so getting a jump start on reviews is important. Asking app users to review your app with push or in-app messaging is one strategy, but it will take some time to build up an active user base, and you need reviews now. So what can you do?

To get those all important first reviews, reach out to your beta testers, friends and customers via email. You can even offer an incentive (like a free issue) to encourage users to rate your app. Also, respond to negative reviews immediately (on Google Play) as it shows you’re active in optimizing the app experience, which will help you gain more users in the long run.

4. Build your viral acquisition strategy early
Generating and converting quality traffic to the app store is the goal of your app promotion strategy, but the secret sauce to growth hacking is building virality into your app. What does this mean? Simply put, this means making it easy (and rewarding!) for app users to share app content or actions across social networks, email, or chat – with the direct benefit of driving referral traffic to the app store.

Gaming apps have led the charge on this trend by leveraging social login to invite friends to play, to share accomplishment and by rewarding users with bonus points, etc. In short, including these features in your app right from the start is a great way to gain viral momentum early-on.

5. Set aside a budget for paid acquisition
Not interested in spending money to get downloads? You may want to rethink that. While organic traffic might make up the majority of your traffic, it’s paid acquisition that can fuel quicker growth. Even a small budget can help get your app in front a large number of people, helping you acquire quality users in short sprints (vs. sustainable “marathon” campaigns) and as a consequence boost your ranking.

6. Don’t forget about offline promotion
Real world marketing isn’t dead, even with all the attention on digital. But the trick is to integrate your offline campaigns in such a way that it makes the transition to mobile easy. Viral marketing campaigns that use tactics like launch events, publicity or advertising, can increase word of mouth for your app in local markets, but even the best campaigns can fail if the call to action isn’t clear. Mention where your app can be downloaded and include a memorable, short URL or a QR code on your printed marketing materials that links to the app store to bridge offline and online worlds.

3. Digital Magazine Marketing with Social Media

There’s no excuse not to use one digital medium to promote another. But believe it or not, some of the biggest players have yet to figure this out – and yes, it absolutely makes a difference! For example, OK! magazine, with a whopping digital circulation of 196k, features prominent promotion for the digital edition in their timeline.

Know your audience
Since it is an e-zine, your prime channels will be online.
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter & Google +. If it is B2B sector then LinkedIn. If it has video embedded, then YouTube channel.
Influencer Targeting: seek out influencers to help you spread the articles. Target food bloggers if you want food articles to be spoken about, use movie bloggers if you want the film review to be spread etc.
you may consider Google Adwords and Facebook advertising along with Twitter promoted tweets
Yahoo and Gmail ads can also be chosen
In print, you can use QR codes to send people to the e-zine. Similarly target specific locations with QR codes that take people to articles that are related to that location (film articles for a movie theater etc.

Build your readership with email
Invite people to subscribe to a limited news flow and-/or test subscription. Don’t buy lists.

In either case, for E-Magazines I think exclusivity is your aim. Or else it will be very difficult to differentiate from a normal content website. So the distribution has to be limited. Do this, you can publicize a really interesting piece from your edition or images and ask users to subscribe to get that edition once it comes out. The number of people who will get to subscribe can be restricted. This I think can work well for really captivating content.

2) Forums is also a good place for you to promote your e-magazine.

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G Suite for Magazine Publishers

As we operate our RunMags in the cloud, we’re frequently being asked if we recommend G Suite for Magazine Publishers. Our response is always YES! simply because publishers can really benefit from operating their business in the cloud. Not very different from software developing companies.

Since a few months, Google Apps for Work is now G Suite. And from a productivity standpoint, it’s hotter than ever! This is much thanks to how the G Suite ecosystem allow you to build your business processes around your favorite apps. You employ software that was born in the cloud as opposed to adapted for the cloud, allowing for single sign on and switching between devices.

It’s been some time since we last published some advice on G Suite here and during that time quite a nice number of new services have come about that you should take a look at. Read and learn about how we believe there’s great fit with G Suite for Magazine Publishers!

Google Team Drives

Up until March 2017, we did not feel there was a compelling reason to subscribe to a larger G Suite package than the $5 per user and month starter level. However, when Google released Google Team Drives, we immediately upgraded to the $10 per user and month Business level. Our monthly price for G Suite doubled over night, but it’s so worth it.

Sure, there’s a value with unlimited storage. But the main thing for us was to (finally) get a joint company share drive for documents that are of the more permanent type. This includes strategy and business plans, marketing documents, process descriptions, etc. If you have the slightest ambition to build a sustainable corporation, Google Team Drives is a must for you.

With Google Team Drives, you continue working on your daily documents in Google Docs and Drive just like before. That’s where you share access to specific folders and files with your teams during projects. But when you have finalized work products that need to be stored for access by the entire company or select departments, you move them to a separate Team Drive. Most companies should then set up permanent Team Drives for functions like Marketing, Sales and Finance. That’s where shared documents can be maintained and updated as needed.

Slack

Having a 100% remote team, Slack is how we communicate and stay in the know. We view email as a great time thief that create busy work with little value and we’ve all felt the pressure from an inbox that has built up during vacations. With Slack, we can chat sporadically but also in a structured manner in channels. It’s really easy to contact someone without interrupting, at the same time as it eliminates the need to send email.

The iOS and Android Apps for Slack are so convenient to use that we tend to use them even if we’re at our desks. But since they are so easy to use and often provide context in the chat, they also become used when we’re out running about. Imagine being able to link to and reference colleagues, clients, support cases, etc. in a chat on your phone.

An added benefit from using Slack is that you can employ hard working software robots and feeds from other systems. This helps you focus on things that matter and make educated decisions. At RunMags, our Slack provide information on our how our marketing efforts are working, if someone signs up for a free trial and if they seem to need help to get going. We also get automatic bug reports and notifications of successful and unsuccessful Stripe transactions.

Dialpad and UberConference

Dialpad Inc. provides two products; Dialpad is a software phone that can replace your desk phone and UberConference, which is a simple-to-use conferencing system. At RunMags we use them both on a daily basis.

Anyone that call our toll or toll free numbers are routed through the processes managed by Dialpad so that the right resource is reached quickly. As we take calls on our computers and headsets, we get great sound in both directions regardless of where on the planet we may be. I have personally been at very remote places while the person I was talking to believed I was in California. If we need to get moving, the call can seamlessly be transferred over to a mobile phone without any interruptions.

Every online demo that we do is done over UberConference. No download is necessary to get started and no PIN is needed to access the call. You can instantly start conferences and invite people, but you can just as easily schedule a call, integrated with the G Suite Calendar.

Marker

Marker is a simple screen capture tool with redline capabilities. Publishers can use the tool take a screenshot of anything, the magazine website or a print piece, then mark it up with the electronic pen, provide comments in text and submit it into a Slack channel directed to a colleague, Trello or any other tool that Marker integrates with.

Xero

Finally, Xero, the great-looking and easy-to-understand accounting system. When we started RunMags we didn’t even consider using an accounting system that wasn’t cloud based. Pretty much all modern accounting systems are cloud based these days. As 100% digital nomads we may not be your typical company, but as a reflection it may be worthwhile noting that we have never met our CPA in real life. After a short due diligence process where we evaluated various Xero certified CPA, we picked our guy and company. We’ve been very happy with that decision and fully trust them with our business.

Automatic bank feeds is a very important feature for us as we don’t have to enter data manually from our bank statements. Xero automatically uploads the information, which means we can upload matching receipts to the entries and have our CPA reconcile everything quickly so that we know exactly where we stand financially. Other platforms like Quickbooks Online also offers this so it’s really not a differentiator though. In the end it’s the user friendly design that differentiates Xero from all other platforms.


What is Google G Suite?

Google G Suite is a suite of online tools built to help companies and their employees communicate and collaborate more effectively. For $5 per user and month, you get professional email, shared calendars, video meetings, documents, online storage and a bunch of other tools in one homogeneous platform. But what Google often forget to mention in their marketing of Google G Suite is that you can connect many of your other favorite services to your Google account. Once you’re up and running with Google G Suite, you just head to the Google Chrome Webstore and connect the Apps you need – many of them for free.

Just get the trial started!

G Suite for Magazine Publishers resources:

  1. Free trial sign-up, courtesy of RunMags
  2. Product home page
  3. Pricing page

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Online magazine publishing software review

In the fall of 2014, when we had been going with RunMags for about half a year, we did a review of software options for digital magazines. The time has come for a 2017 review.

At the time, the HTML5 markup language was employed in some of the platforms to make the reader experience nice on any device, but formatting was at large static flip book publishing and publishers were not in control of their subscribers. The saying “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product” couldn’t have been more true and many publishers embarked on strategies hoping that digital newsstands would make circulation skyrocket.

Today, many publishers with a print foundation are frustrated with how badly their digital strategies have panned out. Expensive app development initiatives haven’t generated the traffic they were supposed to. Print replica PDFs uploaded to platforms vanish among the other 21 million publications represented in the same newsstand. And it’s questionable, at best if, users event want to consume their magazine content online in the same way as when they read their print magazines.

What magazine publishers need from their online delivery platform in 2017


1. The delivery format must align with the target subscriber’s preferred way to consume content.

Print is apparently not dead. Despite what some vendors of online / digital platforms have been claiming. The landscape is just changing and we’re still not even close to seeing it stabilize. But while print magazines will have a place, digital replicas of the print magazine will not.

A static PDF sized like a regular paper page simply doesn’t provide for a good user experience on a tablet, let alone on a phone. It doesn’t matter that the app or newsstand adds a “paper-turn” sound. And while a part of the population will indeed sit down and read a new issue from cover to cover, zooming in and out on their tablet, most people will not. In most cases, content consumed on mobile devices is browsed and half-read at best. The smallest inconvenience in the user experience will trigger the user to leave.

With the above in mind, the online delivery platform has to make the information flow in a natural way on the devices used, PCs as well as phones. A magazine that can provide a seamless transition from reading on the PC to switching over to the phone will provide an improvement to the user experience over most competitors.

2. Content, even that behind a paywall, has to be Search Engine Optimized and shareable on social media.

Regardless of one’s opinion of Facebook, LinkedIn, and their likes, many publishers have more to gain from having their content being discoverable and shared on the internet than not. People like to share great stories and it’s free advertising for the publishers who are able to monetize the content at some point.

Each article must have it’s own url so that it’s not just bulked together with the “November Issue”. It must be possible to assign the article focus keywords and meta data. The snippet data and images must look good in the shared posts so that they attract users to read and share.

3. Publishers must be able to follow subscribers across channels.

In order to best serve both readers and advertisers, the online delivery platform must allow for an integrated view of the reader / subscriber. A publisher who can connect their print subscriber’s consumption of online articles and open / click rate in email will stand a much better chance of being able to prove to advertisers who the advertising actually reach.

Most of the online delivery platform that were around in 2014 are closed for integration with other systems which results in lack of unified tracking and updating of subscriber demographics.

4. For print publishers, publishing content on the internet should not duplicate the editor’s effort.

Many smaller print publishers don’t have the bandwidth and resources to re-purpose content for online publication and they don’t have a bunch of programmers on staff. Even if the online channel drives revenue, it may feel challenging to spend a lot of time to adapt images and text so that everything looks good on any mobile device. Also, print advertisers may be of the opinion that if they bought a full page ad in the print magazine, it should also fill up the entire screen on a phone.

This is a major challenge we face with today’s technology and there is not simple answer on how to do it. A mobile-first publishing strategy may certainly be the right choice for many, but it’s not the business model for everyone. With that said, if business processes are set up to have content developed to fit both print and online from the start, the online delivery platform has to be simple enough to use so that articles and advertising alike have the same awesome look and feel as in the print magazine.

Online delivery platforms that publishers should consider in 2017

RunMags is not a delivery platform. Very much like we don’t have trucks to ship print copies, we don’t offer a delivery platform for the internet. Our core is in managing the backbone IT infrastructure with customer databases and business processes.

So what has happened since our last review? What platforms are available now and what benefits do they provide? Below is a list of four online delivery platforms that we recommend you to take a closer look at. They are somewhat different in nature and we recommend that as you start a free trial of them, you should think about whether you think your readers would appreciate the specific platform.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, get out there and survey your target reader base. Selecting your online delivery platform based on your hunch or the fact that it free of charge is a recipe for disaster.

So, behold, here are the online delivery platforms that publishers should consider in 2017:

Anvil by ZEEN101

Our first online delivery platform very different from the rest. Anvil is a WordPress based solution that transforms your website into a magazine with articles, controlled by a paywall if you’d like. The solution is hosted by ZEEN101 so you don’t have to bother with the technology. While the platform also integrates with your iOS and Android apps, the main benefit of Anvil is a website user experience, suitable for phone access, with the ability to control access to premium content.

Instant Magazine

If you and your readership are open to exploring the limitless possibilities of online publishing, Instant Magazine is for you. If used to its fullest potential, your online magazine is going to have a very different look and feel compared to your print magazine. Even with full screen video included, the magazine is going to be fully responsive and reader access will be fully measurable.

H5mag

H5mag provides you with the tools to create great looking online magazines that are fully responsive. With the look and feel of a more traditional online flip magazine, H5mag makes it easy to design the magazine and deliver a great user experience.

Partica by Realview

Use Partica to convert and repurpose your print publications into rich, adaptive HTML5 content. If your business processes and/or resources does not leave room for the design of specifically online purpose magazine, Partica is your answer. The platform will transform your PDF into articles and deliver them dynamically to mobile, tablet, and desktop for a responsive and highly interactive viewing experience.

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How Slack and Intercom can make magazine publishers more productive

RunMags is all about effective team collaboration, you know that by now. But with this post on Slack and Intercom, we’d like to tease your imagination on how you could take your productivity to another level. Let us know if you like our thoughts and we’ll include them in the RunMags development pipeline.

Tools being used by agile startup companies

In the internet startup community, Slack and Intercom are a couple of platforms that many of the companies use to drive productivity, innovation and sales. They come with Freemium pricing models so you can start small for free and scale your use for a relatively small monthly fee.

What is Slack?

Slack is a messaging app and collaboration tool for teams. It brings all your team’s communication and files in one place, where they’re instantly searchable and available wherever you go – on your laptop or in the mobile app. In addition, together with Slackbot and other internet software robots ready to serve, you can make your life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

What is Intercom?

Intercom shows you who is reading your website / magazine and makes it easy to personally communicate with them through targeted, behavior-driven email and web messages. Talk directly to readers to turn them into subscribers or service potential advertisers with the information they need to see at the right time. All Intercom products come with the free Intercom platform which lets you see who your readers are, and what they do on your website.

Converting subscribers and advertisers

Software startup companies of today are incredibly crafty when it comes to converting leads into paying customers. Sales funnels are analyzed in detail and website visitors are served with value-adding tips and advice along their buyer journey. Messages are automated to start with and upon the engagement a human being can jump into the conversation to provide service.

Magazine publishers should definitely study a few of these companies to learn what can be applied to selling subscriptions and advertising. The price level of software subscription offerings are often very similar to those of magazine subscriptions so there shouldn’t really be a reason why publishers can’t adopt the model.

Intercom - Subscriber asking about free trial subscription

In the example above, a potential subscriber engages with Nifty Magazine to ask about a free trial. Kristen responds and provides a link to where Otis can get a free copy. In the process, Otis will provide his email address so that even if he doesn’t sign up, Nifty Magazine will have the email address for future messaging. At the RunMags subscription page, Otis will definitely provide his email address in order to get the free copy and at that point his home address along with all other details he’s providing will go into RunMags.

Intercom chat to convert subscriber

Above is the Intercom conversation interface that Kristen is using and she can also use Intercom’s mobile app if she’s on the move. On your website you can have targeted messages from your specific employee’s areas of expertise. For users investigating your advertising offering, craft messages from the sales reps and present them on the page(s) that explain your value proposition.

Integrate your favorite apps and bots into Slack

Slack has become so popular that many software vendors develop integration apps and bots for Slack, rather than building similar functionality in their own applications. The simple but yet capable interface make it possible to feed updates and messages to employees who can benefit from being in the know.

Intercom channel in Slack

The screenshot above displays the conversation between Otis and Kristen, the way that other employees at Nifty Magazine would see it if they subscribe to the Intercom channel.

In a similar fashion we can feed in payments from Stripe, website statistics from SimilarWeb, task assignments and completions from Trello or Asana, upcoming meetings in your calendar and more.

So where does RunMags fit into this?

The development of new RunMags features are driven by the needs of our customers. Send us an email with your thoughts around how RunMags would integrate with Slack to help you get more productive. Some of the ideas we’ve been playing around with is that RunMags can push messages on calls being made, email conversations as well as deals created, lost, and won. There could be notifications when advertisers pay their invoices and when subscribers sign up or renew their subscriptions. You may get notified about production deadlines coming up and when clients upload their artwork for your approval.

Also, a RunMags bot for Slack could send a morning message with your daily to-do list and clients to call, even as a printable PDF. You could ask it questions (in the Slack app) like “Has anyone talked with ACME?” so you wouldn’t have to bug your team or go into RunMags. The RunMags bot might reply “Steve called Peter Holmes at ACME last Tuesday and a $5,750 deal was closed the same day”.

Try out Slack and let us know your thoughts!

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Advertising sales team continual improvement

Don’t limit performance improvement to underperforming sales reps. There’s much to gain from basing your sales team cadence on an overarching continual improvement program, acknowledging that everybody can improve their performance and that it’s an ongoing process.

Employees want feedback and in case you are hiring millennials into your sales force, you better make sure you consistently provide insightful positive and negative feedback. Otherwise they will leave you. But besides keeping employees happy and the obvious driver of increasing sales revenue, your life as a business owner or sales manager will be so much easier if you already have a continual improvement model in place the day that your numbers are looking like crap.

Don’t wait until that day comes … because you know it will sneak up on you for sure. Use RunMags’ template and model for advertising sales team continual improvement. You can download it as a Google Slide and tweak it to suit your specific needs.

How to establish a sales team cadence with continual improvement

Whether you call it cadence, operational rhythm or something else, you probably already have a weekly staff meeting established and at the end of the year you have a performance review with each employee. Use our model to communicate the purpose of those meetings and allow for the team to collectively reflect over things that went well during last week, if they hit a road block and what they’ve learned. Lead by example and openly share if you misread a client’s needs and missed a deal. You’ll see that people will open up to share lessons learned and will help you remove bottle necks in your business.

There are three critical components of RunMags’ continual improvement model:

  1. Performance monitoring
  2. Analyzing, identifying, and planning solutions
  3. Implementing solutions

Performance monitoring

Performance Monitoring

Utilize the sales dashboard and other insight tools in RunMags to monitor the pipeline of each sales. Is the sales funnel top or bottom heavy? Are the performance indicators for upcoming issues showing green or red lights?

Collectively review proposals that has gone out and any client feedback. Wins and losses should be discussed openly because it’s simply not enough to have a drop down in the CRM system to create a win/loss factor. Save notes for upcoming analysis.

Review your sales plan and monitor progress. Are we closing deals with the accounts we set out to target in the beginning of the quarter? How effective are we?

Finally, and not to forget, conduct joint sales calls whether they are performed over the phone or in person. Provide feedback immediately after the meeting and also be open to receive feedback.

Analyzing, identifying, and planning solutions

Analyzing

While part the weekly staff meetings can be spent on analyzing performance, you should carve out at least an hour every month to dig into WHY your business is performing the way it is. Are we pricing too high … or too low? Do clients respond well to our media kit or is it regarded as fluff without an actionable value proposition? Do we need to conduct training on how to sell our latest offering?

As a team, discuss what you can do better. Challenge status quo and brainstorm solutions. Reach out to fellow magazine publishers and invite them to come to you to talk about something that is really working well for them. Evaluate to see if you’d benefit from implementing their ideas.

Create a joint plan as a team and pitch it to the executive leadership team / the CEO, depending on your organization’s structure and size. Even if you are a small company, make it part of your culture to do this and allow for sales team members to pitch their ideas from time to time to create a sense of ownership.

Implementing solutions

Implementing Solutions

Don’t be one of those who create improvement plans without executing on them. Use the meetings with the executive leadership team to report out on progress on past improvement initiatives and to get decisions on new ones.

If an initiative proves ineffective, kill it as soon as possible. Too many ongoing initiatives are only going to spread you thin and the team will loose sight on what’s important.

As solutions gets approved, assign the initiative to ONE person, assign the necessary resources needed to complete the task and set a reasonable time schedule. Shared responsibility is no responsibility.

Review progress during the weekly staff meetings to ensure things are going in the right direction. This is where the continual improvement cycle starts again … by monitoring how well the solutions are implemented and how effective they are.

Get help from RunMags to implement a continual improvement model

Our staff has extensive experience from implementing sales methodologies and improvement models. Send an email to sales@runmags.com for more information and to schedule a meeting to see how we can help you.

Performance Improvement Excellence

Download RunMags’ continual improvement template!

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6 precautions to take because sales reps leave

Sales reps leave their employment and move on in their careers. It’s just the way things are and it’s a healthy thing. But from time to time we get feedback from potential customers that RunMags is WAAAAAY to open and that it’s too easy for sales reps to walk away with customer data to a competitor. So how do we suggest you manage this?

Great collaboration vs. great protection

At RunMags, we believe that there’s more to gain from having the entire team collaborate to provide customers with the best service possible than there is from shielding data from employees. Making it possible for ANY person within your organization to receive a call, pull up the customer record in RunMags and HELP that customer do business is not only good customer service. It also makes your employees feel valued and trusted – a key ingredient in retaining your most talented employees.

With that said, you do need to take some precautions because even employees with the best of intentions may be tempted to steal your data … if the opportunity presents itself. Follow these six steps to protect your business when sales reps leave.

1. Include a confidentiality clause in the employment contract

This is the formal way to legally protect your business. Include one or two paragraphs that states that the employee will keep secret all trade secrets and confidential information of your company. Get a lawyer to write this up for you so that you are legally protected when sales reps leave.

2. Let it be known that customer information belongs to your company

Educate your employees from the start that customer records, sales information, email, etc. is property of the company they work for. Also, be VERY open about the fact that it’s possible for you to see if someone is downloading customer data from RunMags and that the company can see if an employee has emailed data to their personal email account. Also, openly state that legal action will be taken if misconduct is suspected. A word of caution: state this as fact – not as a threat. You want to make sure your employees feel that the CRM makes their job easier, not that its purpose is to control customer data.

3. Be supportive of employees who leave you

We live in a small world and there’s always more to gain from treating employees who leave well. If you’ve done anything right in managing your business, turning in the resignation is most likely not an easy thing to do. Recognize that and if the employee is a high performer, let them know they are always welcome back. Changes are that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence and hiring someone you know who is already up to speed on how your business works is cheap compared to hiring someone who’s fresh.

4. Reaffirm the confidentiality agreement when an employee resigns

The same day an employee turns in their resignation, send them an invite for their exit interview and also attach a one page document you ask them to sign to reaffirm that they will not leave their employment with any of the company’s intellectual property, i.e. customer databases, sales data, etc. In many countries the employee can just disregard the document since they signed up for the confidentiality clause when they started their employment. But that’s fine because the value of the document isn’t really to get a signature. It’s to REMIND the employee about the confidentiality clause they’ve been working under throughout their employment.

5. Check the user log in RunMags to see if data has been exported

In RunMags, go to Admin >>> Co-workers. Search and find the employee that just resigned and go to the tab called System events. Review the event log to see if large volumes of data has been exported. If necessary, use this if you take legal action.

6. Transfer accounts to another employee

As quickly as possible, create a transition plan. Preferably, if your employee is leaving on good terms, have them introduce key accounts to a new rep. Make the customer feel confident that they will get the same or better support from the new rep. As part of this process, bulk transfer the accounts in RunMags to the new rep. You can do this in Admin >>> System settings, under the Mass update tab.

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Cold calling script – coach your sales team to sell advertising

If you run a magazine and have been selling advertising, it’s likely that you have a lot of cold calling experience. Use our guide and free cold calling template to revamp your insight and coach your sales team in the art of designing awesome cold calling scripts for themselves.

Using a cold calling script will help you avoid sounding like a blabbering idiot

This should be the number 1 argument for sales reps who believe they can just wing it. If you’re not using a script it’s likely that each call will sound different and that the are progressively getting worse and worse.

The script will keep you on track so that you can gather intelligence about the client rather than trying to think of what to say next.

Research the prospect before calling

Scripts should be designed to intrigue the prospects you are calling. Depending on what your clientele looks like, their position, your geo location and other variables, take ten minutes to do a little bit of research before you call. This research will help you if you are able to get past the first crucial minute – the usual time it takes for most to say they are not interested or even just hang up.

Research their website, google them and also look up the person you’re about to call on LinkedIn. This makes them less cold for you. In today’s business environment it’s usually not good enough to just present your product, but if you can show them that you’re actually interested in helping them grow their business, you are more likely to grow your own.

Define your goal before calling

Your script should be laser focused on driving the prospect towards your goal so you better make sure you understand what your goals is. Do you want an in-person meeting, are you looking for permission to create a pitch and/or are you calling to determine if they are a good fit for your publication?

Don’t be afraid of being up front with this, even to put this into the second or third sentence in your script. People tend to be busy so if you are holding your goal back, you may just be making your prospect impatient.

Get to your value story quickly

Don’t spend too much time asking for permission to take up the prospects time, but rather weave that into the ending of your leadin. If your script is not good enough to hold water for more than three sentences you should not be calling at all.

—– Beginning of Script —–

Hi Terry?

(Prospect: Yes.)

Melissa here from Nifty Magazine. I have done some research about your company and I believe we can help … [replace with; grow your business, reach specific clients segments, generate leads for your sales team, etc.] Do you have a quick minute to discuss?

(Prospect: Sure, you can have 1 minute.)

Great! Terry, I’m sure you are busy and want to respect your time, so I’ll be brief. If my research is correct, your clients … [replace with; procure huge amounts of, are located in, have some time to kill on breaks, etc] Is this correct?

(Prospect: Yes, but they also …. ) [truly listen to the prospect, ask questions, and take notes in your CRM system, i.e. RunMags]

I understand. Nifty Magazine is published with premium content in print and then we have more up-to-date articles on our website to drive engagement. Experience tells us that people tend to give the print magazine their undivided attention during breaks and that related news and articles is effectively reaching them by email and on our website.

(Prospect: OK, so how does that help me?)

With your permission, I’d like to take what I have learned from you during this call, go back to my desk and device a cost effective plan for how we could add value to your business. I want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck as possible. Can we schedule a call on either Monday or Tuesday next week so I can present this plan to you?

(Prospect: Sure, Tuesday at 10 am works for me.)

Great! Shall I call you on this number and also, please let me know your email address so I can send you my plan and also a meeting invite.

(Prospect: Yes, that works. My email is terry@prospect.com.)

Perfect! I have what I need for now. It’s been great talking to you. I wish you a great rest of the week and I’ll talk to you on Tuesday.

(Prospect: Sound good. Thanks!)

Thank you, bye for now.

(Prospect: Bye)

—– End of Script —–

Design cold calling scripts for your Buyer Personas

Prospects are not created equal and you will be more effective in your dealings with them if you understand what’s driving and motivating them. If you take a look at this Cold Calling Script Template, you’ll see that it’s actually designed with a specific Buyer Persona in mind – Terry the small business owner.

If you haven’t already defined Buyer Personas for your business and would like to know more about how to do this, read this blog post where you will also find a template for Buyer Personas. Design your scripts for each Buyer Persona so that you quickly can navigate past gate keepers or blockers, and be ready to strike if you’re able to connect with a decision maker.

More effective than circulation and readership numbers

Even if your publication is not well known and the client have not heard about it, try hold yourself off from listing proof points from your media pack. While circulation and readership numbers may be important indicators for agents, don’t assume that they are to a small business owner who leads with rational needs. Instead, focus on emotional needs and the actual value that you can delivery, i.e. more business for your prospect.

As you have done your research, increase your sales effectiveness by becoming a trusted confidant that help the client stand out as a thought leader and/or reach clients that they could otherwise not reach. If your website and subscriber database allow for it, be ready to talk about which customers you client would like to reach and how you can help with that.

If you are able to intrigue the client enough to the point where you get to talk about how you can help them get more business, you may also want to explore offering additional services, for example branding and marketing expertise, artwork design, cold calling 🙂 As you put together your Deal in RunMags, think of ways you can expand your product inventory and grow with your clients.

Practice, practice, practice

One final, important note: Do not read the script, under any circumstances. Instead, practice the script as written, and then practice it from memory–so that the words emerge naturally, as if you just thought of them, the moment you began speaking.

This is what great stage actors do. They rehearse until the words are “part of them”–then, when they speak lines they’ve spoken on stage 100 or even 1,000 times before, each performance seems fresh and exciting.

Also, when you ask a question as part of the conversation, stop and actually listen to the customer. Don’t plow through like a carnival pitchman. This is about having a conversation, not about getting the words out of your mouth.

Good luck!


Resources

Cold Calling Script Template
How to create Advertising Buyer Personas

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How to create Advertising Buyer Personas

In today’s business environment your clients are learning and informing themselves on their own, mostly using the internet. At the time they contact you (if they even contact you), they have already completed 60% of their buying process.

To you as a publisher, that may mean that when you are being asked to provide a quote, you have little chance to influence the client’s advertising strategy, or how your products can be combined, and on top of this … [scary horror sounds] you may be competing on price alone.

Create Advertising Buyer Personas to influence early decision making

Use your website, social media, and even IRL events to target your ideal customers with exactly the message they need to hear and adopt. Tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups. To make sure your content creators understands who your ideal customers are, you should create Advertising Buyer Personas.

Create Advertising Buyer Personas to pave the way for your sales team

Cold Calling is not dead, regardless of what hard core content marketing supporters are preaching. Ad buyers don’t tend to don’t close themselves but your sales rep’s first call to a client is going to be a lot warmer if the client is already aware of your publication and the value you bring. To make sure your sales reps understands who your ideal customers are, you should create Advertising Buyer Personas.


Customer Purchase Decision Timeline

So, what is an Advertising Buyer Persona?

Think about the individuals that work for a select group of companies you want to sell ads to. Be picky. Go for the companies that can see a benefit in partnering with you, the ones with repeat business, the ones that pay on time. What group of people work there and who do you interact with? Is that only one individual, the company chief? Or is it two to three different individuals who influence the decision making process before the decision maker makes the final decision?

These people that come to your mind should form the basis for a set of fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers – your Advertising Buyer Personas. They help you understand your customers/prospects better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.

In our blog post on Cold Calling Scripts we have created a script for a specific Buyer Persona in mind – Terry the small business owner. That is one specific persona. Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. If you’re new to personas, start small. You can always develop more personas later if needed.

If you take the time to create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer (and see higher sales productivity).

The process for creating Advertising Buyer Personas

Creating Advertiser Buyer Personas is an iterative process that involves several people in your organization; leadership, marketing and sales. The end goal is to create a document of some form – one for each persona – and this document should evolve over time to allow for fine tuning. There are five typical steps involved in creating the personas:
Step 1: Do research on the background of your ideal clients.
Step 2: List job titles, roles and also company information.
Step 3: List what the personas value, what drives them and what they fear.
Step 4: Sum all this up in a great looking pitch.
Step 5: Give your buyer persona a name that is easy to connect with.

Buyer Personas in the digital world

While it’s important to know your audience when you prepare targeted presentations and call scripts, it’s even more important online. There you’re not in control of the engagement in the same way and you can’t read the client so you can adjust your messaging on the fly.

Rather than just having one static page on your website where advertisers can access your media kit, create a micro site that offers education and really sell the value you can offer. Experiment with different landing pages and messaging targeting each of the personas. If possible, find a way to collect user information (email address, name, company name, persona) from people that download your media kit or educational content – then send more educational content to their email address and track them as they return to your website. That’s all possible with today’s web technology. When combined with lifecycle stage (i.e. how far along someone is in your sales cycle), buyer personas also allow you to map out and create highly targeted content.

Resources

Advertising Buyer Persona Template
Contact us today to learn how RunMags can help you reach your Advertising Buyer Personas


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