Overcoming Advertiser Objections to Ballot Sponsorships

by Julie Foley Second Street

When you sell ads or sponsorships around ballots, you will probably encounter at least one of the following objections. Don’t let them be conversation stoppers. Instead, show the advertiser why ballots can be invaluable.

“It’s a scam to get money from us.”

Nope, it’s not a scam. You can have a presence in the promotion, be nominated, voted for, an even win without buying a package. But there are several benefits to purchasing a package:

  • The Best-Of campaign will be everywhere (on-air, print, online, social, emails, etc) and includes a unique online distribution strategy.
  • It will be everywhere in our community and gives access to a huge local audience of potential new clients, customers, and supporters.
  • If it’s true, remind the advertiser of your experience with running promotions and that people look forward to them.
  • It’s a great opportunity to thank your supporters (for years in business, for winning, etc).

“Why are you jacking up the price?”

  • We’ve revamped the Best-Of campaign and added more value.
  • The price of the package reflects the growth of the audience. We previously only used a paper ballot, which limited our reach. Now, with an online distribution strategy, campaign audience is exponentially larger.

“It’s rigged! There is no way for me to win, other businesses spend more money so they will win.”

  • It is not rigged. We use a third party to facilitate the promotion and process the votes.
  • You could win without spending a dime and we would love to celebrate that.

“I don’t need the whole package. I don’t need this on top of my normal ad-buy.”

  • The Best-Of campaign brings in an audience that does not engage with us regularly. It’s one thing we do each year that brings in non-subscribers. If you’re not advertising in this campaign, your chances of reaching that audience is small.
  • Your traditional ad-buy is all about sales, while this messaging is a call to action that is quite different. This message is all about why you deserve to win the title of ‘best’ in your local industry.

We don’t want to sell a piece-meal strategy. We want to sell something that works. Our packages are set to be valuable as a unit, and breaking them down will essentially cost you more money. There is a range of packages and something for everyone!

“I’m not sure you’re going to have a lot of traffic, so I’m not sure I’ll get a lot of exposure.”

Purchasing an online-only sponsorship can be scary for some advertisers. If anyone brings up this objection, remind them of the following:

  • The list of winners stays up forever, which means that your sponsor could potentially be getting additional exposure throughout the year.
  • Your audience will come out to vote.
  • If it’s true, remind the advertiser of your experience with running online engagement campaigns and that people look forward to them.
  • Finally, a citywide ballot is a prime opportunity for a sponsor because it is a prestigious brand and a serious competition that commands respect in the community.

“I just don’t know if I can afford it.”

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Ballots are a great way to offer various levels of sponsorship opportunities so businesses of all size can participate. Stress everything that your sponsorship packages include, such as:

  • A top-billing leaderboard and big boxes all around the contest
  • A full calendar year of customizable online ads
  • Promotional ads online and in traditional media
  • At least one email sent to the entire promotional database
  • An opt-in on the registration page
  • Social media mentions

“An ad in the special section? Thanks, but no thanks.”

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Respond with the following points:

  • Don’t you want to thank your customers for making you #1?
  • You can add a coupon or offer to increase your foot traffic.
  • This special section or broadcast reaches wider demographic than your publication or station’s normal audience.
  • People look forward to finding out which are the most popular businesses and services in their communities, and they often bookmark online listings or hold on to print special sections to refer to later.

Learn more about the Second Street Summit.