REGIONAL publisher Johnson Press has launched a campaign to persuade more small businesses to advertise online, according to HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk.
The company is trying to address a problem that has been nagging at newspaper companies for some time. While large companies have embraced digital advertising, smaller enterprises are less enthusiastic, largely because they feel uncomfortable with the medium.
It is a situation mirrored in America, where a survey by the Boston Consulting Group found that although 23 million small firms power the US economy, their digital spend was tiny. The 550 small-business owners they polled spent only three per cent of their advertising budgets online.
It is only a matter of time before this reticence is broken down (in the US and here), and digital revenues begin to flow from firms that have traditionally had a close relationship with their local papers.
But Johnston Press is understandably trying to coax things along a little, rightly trumpeting its digital marketing expertise and the reach of its brands.
It, like other regional newspaper companies, will have taken keen interest in the half-yearly financial report from Trinity Mirror. It showed digital revenue growing an impressive 47.5 per cent to £14.9 million.
The money is there.
Newspapers have to show flexibility in meeting advertisers’ needs, putting together marketing packages that combine print with website ads and social media campaigns.
Key to gaining trust is offering easy-to-understand pricing structures and metrics that illustrate return-on-investment in what is a bewildering new area to many business owners.