Preparing for Renewal? Here Are 5 Ideas to Upsell Advertisers

We all know that retaining advertisers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. On average, it costs 5x more to attract a new client than to keep an existing one. 

Publishers with high renewal rates are more likely to generate sustainable revenue than those with low rates of renewals. But what can you do when your renewal rates are already high, and you have satisfied advertising clients who can’t wait to extend their campaigns?

The answer: you upsell.

Upselling existing advertisers leads to incremental increases in monthly revenue for digital publishers. Rather than encouraging advertisers to continue paying the same rates indefinitely, savvy digital publishers are using the contract renewal period as a time to offer their clients bigger packages with an even greater return on investment.

Industry estimates show us that the recommended ratio for new vs. renewal in ad sales should be 50/50 for online publications. Most online publishers should strive for this ratio or better.

Try these ideas to upsell advertisers during the contract renewal period.

5 Clever Strategies to Upsell Existing Advertisers

Instead of keeping their contracts the same, try these techniques to upsell advertisers when they’re preparing to renew. 

1) Change up the ad positions

Do some ad placements on your website have higher click-through rates than others? Are there certain ad placements known for delivering exceptional results?

Take advantage of the brief time before an advertiser’s renewal period begins to look at the advertiser’s past campaign results. How could you improve on those results, so the advertiser sees higher click-through rates and greater levels of engagement?

The simplest solution is to suggest a change in ad placement. Now is the time to promote more prominent positions, such as the leaderboard position next to your publication’s logo. This comes with a greater price, of course, but also with the expectation for improved results. If an advertiser is already in a prominent spot on your website, try offering a second placement elsewhere.

2) Pitch native advertising

Native advertising is content that resembles a publication’s editorial content, but is paid for by the advertiser. It’s used to promote the advertiser’s product or services. Since native advertising is a form of premium advertising, publishers can charge higher rates than they would for traditional ad placements. 

Take a quick look at your advertiser’s current product catalog and investigate how their products or services align with the published content on your website. The closer the alignment, the more beneficial a sponsorship becomes. Consider the results that the advertiser could see from native advertising on your website, and include all relevant details in your proposed renewal package.

3) Open up newsletter advertising

If you aren’t already selling newsletter sponsorships, now is the time to start. Newsletter advertising is one of the fastest growing areas within digital advertising. Newsletter advertising gives publishers a way to generate revenue through an entirely new channel. Advertisers benefit by reaching targeted audiences that have already opted-in to receive dedicated email blasts. 

The ideal sponsorship format and ad placement will depend on the specifics of your existing newsletter products. The most common formats for newsletter advertising are native email ads and dedicated emails. Popular email marketing platforms, like Mailchimp and Constant Contact, include the capability to place advertising along the header and sell primary or mid-position sponsorships.

4) Sell a whole section

The larger your publication, the more opportunities exist to upsell existing advertisers with section sponsorships. Section sponsorships are when an advertiser pays to have exclusive rights to the advertising on a certain page or section of a publication’s website. Section sponsorships are also called homepage takeovers or section takeovers. 

In a section sponsorship, every ad that a visitor sees on a specific section of a website is coming from one advertiser. That’s a powerful position for the advertiser to be in, and it is one of the reasons why section sponsorships are such a high-value advertising opportunity.

5) Offer discounted rates

Rarely would we suggest a publisher discount their advertising rates. This is especially the case for renewals. If advertisers are satisfied with the results they’ve been seeing, there’s no reason to offer a discounted price. However, there are times when discounting your existing rates makes sense, and that’s what we’re talking about today.

The No. 1 reason to discount rates for an existing advertiser is when you’re upselling the advertiser on a larger package. Sweeten the deal and encourage the advertiser to purchase a larger package by offering to reduce the price of the add-on. 

There’s a reason why so many fast food restaurants sell bundled meal deals. They work! Maybe you have an advertiser who already pays $1,000 per month for display advertising. An additional $1,000 for a newsletter sponsorship might be too much to swallow. But what about a discounted newsletter sponsorship rate of $750, or five sponsored posts for $750 as part of a bundled renewal package? It’s easier to upsell advertisers on larger packages when they feel like they’re getting a deal, and we all know that bigger packages incentivize good advertisers to purchase more.

What are your best strategies for upselling advertisers when it’s time to renew?

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