How to Sell Promotions

by Liz Huff Second Street

“Every company should have an entire business unit tied to promotions.”

Rebecca CapparelliDirector of Strategic Alliances, GateHouse Media

Her goal is to make promotions easy and fun to sell. Here’s how she does it:

  • Start with your objectives. She’s been with GateHouse for 5 years and has seen massive growth in their promotions programs. Initially, she started by just looking at revenue in the 1st year, and after their 1st promotion, their site traffic increased 27%! She recognized they could grow their database and drive serious revenue with promotions. Start with one objective, and keep your eye out for new opportunities. If one market has seen success with a promotion, duplicate it in your other markets.
  • Planning is key. Start by asking, “What advertiser categories do sites want to grow?” Then, she creates a promotions calendar for sites, including every site doing a metro ballot. Make it easy on your markets by providing toolkits for your larger initiatives.
  • Make it easy on your markets. Do all the heavy lifting for your staff. Share successes that have worked in other markets and examples of how market leaders are kicking off internally. This could be to have a kick-off party or just pairing reps to work together.

Karie Thornton, Emerging Media Account Executive at WPSD-TV, has run 21 contests with 41 advertisers in the last ten months. How much revenue did she generate? $100K! Karie shared some of her best practices for selling these advertiser contests. Here are her takeaways:

  • Always start with a customer needs analysis. When you are selling an advertiser specific contest, you need to have a good understanding of the advertisers goals so you can develop a promotion that deliver the results they are looking for.


  • Focus on goals you can control. Create goals with the client that your company can reach. While it would be great to increase your advertisers sales by 20%, you can’t control that. What you can control is running a promotion that will generate leads – which will lead to increased sales. Sell that.



  • It’s all about the client. This promotion type is all about meeting the needs of your client. In this situation, you are working for them. Be sure to regularly follow-up with them. They like to see the numbers, but don’t talk over their heads — break it down for them.