Local media publishers are taking proactive steps to defend and grow their Public Notices franchise, using rapidly advancing technology. Below are four ways major media have chosen to increase margins using iPublish Adportal Public Notices . These publishers include Hearst Communications, The Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News Publishing Company, Times Media Group, WEHCO Media Inc, The Washington Post, among others.
Here are the findings:
1. Use Software to Lower Costs
Software automation for public notices provides immediate cost savings by making the order-entry faster and easier for any customer or admin to perform.
In addition, they significantly lowered costs by paying a flat rate for unlimited users and unlimited notices, rather than a revenue share. Sometimes billed as “free,” the revenue share model actually costs the publisher far more than a fixed rate.
In larger chains and markets, the platform cost is considered a generous savings when factoring in workflow efficiencies and reduced labor costs. In smaller markets where every dollar counts, any savings are a welcome advantage.
AdPortal Public Notices provides a flat rate for unlimited users. Automated bulk affidavit processing with support for both wet and dry signatures is available streamlining the process even more. Affidavits have a nominal fee that most markets are passing on to the customer.
2. Increase Efficiency of the Call Center / Internal Staff
One of the biggest unspoken challenges for newspapers is a continual need to adopt numerous software platforms supplied by different vendors. Each new software package adds another layer of time, training, integration and support.
Using one provider for multiple verticals and channels eliminates additional rounds of cross-training and streamlines call-center and self-serve operations. Publishers simply add the additional self-serve Adportal to their existing stack that can support classifieds, obituaries, real estate among others, thereby extending the call center’s capabilities with a single sign-on.
Each additional AdPortal vertical leverages the existing integration points (advertising system, pagination, billing, and payment gateway) immediately.
For large chains, this approach enables a single call center to scale services across hundreds of newspapers. For smaller newspapers with fewer resources, these efficiencies are even more important to margins.
3. Control Brand and Local Customer Relationships
Publishers tell us it is critical for them to own and maintain their partner relationships, brand control, and customer data for the franchise, which is always the case with iPublish Public Notices.
When the relationship, customer data and credit card history are controlled by a third-party vendor, and newspaper branding is weak, publishers fear they stand a risk of being decoupled locally from this critical franchise over time.
Publishers may need to switch software, or negotiate rates, all without sufficient leverage. In the not so distant digital-only future, third parties that own this trio—data, credit cards and relationships — will be positioned to cut newspapers out of the picture all together. Publishers need to be wary of expedient deals that take them down this slippery slope.
The same applies to control over branding and how orders are taken. Successful publishers opt for software that supplies fully developed brand customization, and decide for themselves if they want to use self-serve, a call-center, or both.
AdPortal Public Notices supports this goal by ensuring the publisher maintains control of the customization, data and their customer relationships.
“We do much more than upload a tiny logo on a templated site,” said Kim Johnson, VP of Sales and Marketing. “The publisher’s priorities are our priorities,” she said.
4. Deliver World Class Customer Experience
State legislators are continually pushing to change public notice requirements, and like it or not, customer-experience is part of the conversation. When legal institutions, government entities and the local community are annoyed by clunky software—or worse, no easy online order-entry at all—legislators who oppose publishing requirements are unencumbered in making and substantiating the case that newspapers are dinosaurs that need to be left behind.
Pay close attention to how these local entities and communities interact with the software, and commit to making it look and feel intuitive, and has state-of-the-art ecommerce applications and payment gateways.
iPublish Media Solutions has more than a decade of proven expertise in user-experience and optimizing hundreds of millions of ecommerce transactions across verticals and channels, has been the preferred solution to meet this criteria.
Publishers need to feel and be confident in a world-class user experience, and also get credit under their own brand for unexpected details that delight users, such as pre-configured templates with required legal jargon, paste-from-word options that maintain the pre-formatted text and many, many more. These intuitive details make creating, submitting and processing public notices submission a snap.
In summary, publishers who value growing margins for public notices adhere to these critical rules: Lower costs with a flat rate. Create and maintain a consistent user experience across platforms used by the call-center, and their external community. They control their brand and customer relationships, and deliver a world-class customer experience.
Committing to these four things will ensure public notice franchises across the country remain on solid ground for years to come.