The local media industry is all-in on third-party digital revenue fueling the future. Look no further than the 11th annual Borrell-RAB digital benchmarking report. Findings included the industry approaching $2 billion in sales, and radio ad buyers plan to spend more on digital in 2023.

The message is clear — third-party digital advertising is essential to local businesses, and you have the means to capture 100% of their budget (something you can’t do with linear). With all the buzz and momentum, you may still be struggling to increase your numbers. What do you do when your digital revenue is lackluster?

Things to Assess to Take Results from Lackluster to Exceptional

Why isn’t your station experiencing success with digital? There are many different answers to that question. We’ve narrowed it down to these areas based on our experience and expertise. When revenue isn’t growing, these are the likely culprits.

Your Sellers Need More Support and Confidence

Your sellers make or break your revenue potential. While they may be bright and great at building relationships, several things may hold them back. Those could include:

  • Lack of knowledge regarding digital tactics
  • Not understanding how to build an ad mix with linear and digital to meet a customer’s goals
  • Few resources for ideas to pitch or overcome common objections

Any of these reasons makes it difficult to grow third-party digital revenue. However, you can solve these challenges by:

  • Providing consistent training on digital advertising tactics, so your sellers can become experts
  • Creating ideal digital ad mixes for objectives based on industry best practices and what you know works from previous campaigns
  • Hosting sales meetings that feature objections and have the team brainstorm how to address them
  • Ensuring they have access to content that inspires them with new ideas and delivers strategies to help them be strong sellers

When you enable and empower your sellers daily, they have the support they need to succeed. They’ll need to adopt a growth mindset and adapt to changing their approaches. It’s never an easy process, but it’s an imperative one if you’re going to hit digital budgets.

Your Sellers See Digital as Competition for Linear and O&O Dollars

Another seller concern is if they are hesitant to offer digital to customers because they believe it will reduce linear and O&O (owned and operated) spending. The reality is that many local advertisers are shifting these dollars to digital, so that will happen regardless. However, if you can deliver on their digital advertising needs, you’ll earn revenue. 

Additionally, some sellers may be forgoing digital proposals because the margins aren’t as high as linear and O&O. This may be true much of the time. Still, sellers need to adjust to advertiser needs and expectations, which include engaging audiences in many channels. Digital expands the reach of their linear and O&O campaigns. Plus, there are so many targeting opportunities to help them achieve strong results. 

The ideal strategy is to deliver a proposal with all these tactics. When you put together an integrated campaign, your sellers get a portion of a bigger pie, and clients see better performance. 

You Aren’t Marketing Your Station’s Digital Capabilities

Do your current customers and the market know about your digital advertising offerings? Making them aware is the first step. Consider developing an array of campaigns to position your station as the local advertising expert. These could include:

  • Placing banners on your website that promote digital
  • Using on-air talent to talk about digital in linear spots or via short videos on social media
  • Launching an email campaign to current and past advertisers about your capabilities and results
  • Creating case studies that demonstrate how digital campaigns have benefited your customers
  • Hosting a webinar focusing on digital advertising that educates your market and presents all the possibilities to them

You can find more ways to market your station by reading our e-book, The Broadcast Marketing Playbook.

Your Technology Isn’t Effective

Selling third-party digital requires some type of ad ops platform. If you have a system in place, but it’s hindering and not helping your sellers, it’s a significant problem. You may also have to use multiple applications to propose, order, bill and report. That typically involves manual work and time away from selling and relationship building. As a result, your sellers may abandon it and selling digital completely.

Ideally, you should implement easy, simple technology that aligns with sales workflows. A solution that consolidates all the aspects of selling — proposing, ordering, billing and reporting — is essential to improving productivity and efficiency. 

Salespeople aren’t going to adopt technology that’s too cumbersome. Even if you provide training and resources, the user experience will determine the usage. If it’s poor and clunky, no amount of support in this area will make a difference.

You can understand if your tech is the problem by welcoming honest feedback from your team. They’ll tell you what’s not working and what they want. Use this to build out an outline of a new solution.

Boost Third-Party Digital Revenue: See How Other Media Companies Found Success

Local businesses are spending ad dollars, and your sales team has the opportunity to meet their needs across the spectrum. If your revenue isn’t meeting your projections, it’s time to assess what’s really going on and address it. You can hit and exceed your digital goals with an empowered, enabled and knowledgeable sales team. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these case studies. These organizations were once underperforming, and they now count third-party digital as a substantial part of their revenue!

Case Study: Hub City Radio Wins Six-Figure Digital Account Using Marketron NXT
Case Study: Meridian Media Lands $100K Advertiser with Marketron NXT
Case Study: Krystal Media Finds Third-Party Digital Success with Marketron NXT