Bulletin photo by Kareya Saleh

‘The reason we’re so committed to promotions, and why we think they’re so exciting, is it’s where the growth is going on.’

-- Matt Coen,
Co-founder, president,
Second Street,
St. Loui

Convention speaker Coen:
Promotions help grow email
databases, and advertising $$

By Trea Lavery
Bulletin Correspondent

One of the most important sources of revenue for media companies is advertising, but it’s not always easy to get.

Matt Coen, co-founder and president of Second Street, a St. Louis-based company that helps media companies gain advertising revenue, presented a workshop Friday, Feb. 19, at the New England Newspaper and Press Association winter convention about how to do just that -- increase advertising revenue, through promotions. About 30 people attended his presentation.

The most important factor in that process is growing your email database, he said.

“They’re not just a bunch of emails,” Coen said. “We can actually use promotions to learn about our audience so we can personalize and serve them better as a whole.”

Coen said a company should aim to have 80 percent of its market’s email addresses.

Coen described different kinds of promotions that a media company can run, and how each of those will help to grow its list of email addresses of potential consumers. He discussed the different and most effective types of promotions and how to employ them successfully. Coen used the recent winners of the 2015 Second Street awards, which were announced just two days before, on Feb. 17, to illustrate successful such promotions.

This year’s seventh annual Second Street Awards included 26 categories of the best contests, sweepstakes, ballots, quizzes, and other promotions hosted by media companies.

Coen explained how each of those different types of promotions helped a company gain subscribers, Web traffic, leads for new consumers, or even just awareness.

“The reason we’re so committed to promotions, and why we think they’re so exciting, is it’s where the growth is going on,” Coen said.

A photo contest, for example, gives a website a lot more Web traffic. The winner of the Second Street Award in the photo contest category, a cutest baby contest hosted by WPXY-FM in Rochester, N.Y., generated 30 percent of the radio station’s website’s total traffic during its run, Coen said.

A sweepstakes is a great way for a company to grow its email database. Coen described an example of an advertiser sweepstakes where a company that made hearing aids gave one away. Just by receiving entries to the sweepstakes, the company was able to identify people in the area who were in the market for a hearing aid, and could therefore advertise to those people.

Some types of promotions were meant just to showcase a company, such as when a beer company encouraged consumers to post a photo of the beer on Instagram using a hashtag, which helped the company broadcast that it had changed its look. In that way, the company gained free advertising and branding from consumers.

Coen explained that all of those promotions and the others from the Second Street Awards were hosted by media companies, and that those companies benefited from the promotions by gaining new subscribers, traffic, and consumers, as well as advertising revenue. The advertisers benefited by finding new leads on potential consumers, as well as information about those people, such as their interests, and what specifically they wanted to buy.

By coming up with interesting ways to engage consumers’ interests, the companies were drawing in more and more revenue.

“Promotions can change the story,” Coen said.

The most important thing is that promotions are easy and enjoyable, Coen said.

“It’s something that’s so versatile and so fun,” he said. “And it’s something that should be working throughout your organization.”

Trea Lavery is an undergraduate student in the Northeastern University School of Journalism.


POSTED 3/7/16


© Copyright 1998-2016 New England Newspaper and Press Association. All rights reserved.