How to Sell Newspaper Subscriptions

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One way to sell newspaper subscriptions is by using referrals.
One way to sell newspaper subscriptions is by using referrals. (Image: Erik Snyder/Lifesize/Getty Images)

There are many ways to sell newspaper subscriptions. However, the methods you use will be highly contingent upon your budget; and whether you are selling for an actual publisher or as an entrepreneur. Print newspaper readership has been on a downward spiral for many years, according to a 2008 article by "The New York Times." Therefore, you will need to incorporate online newspaper subscription sales into your strategy.

Things You'll Need

  • Website
  • Fliers
  • Brochures
  • Voucher form
  • Mailing lists of consumers and businesses
  • Display ad
  • Display booths
  • Referral form

Create a website if you do not currently have one, or have a web designer create one for you. Include details about your newspaper on your site, including sections, free weekly magazines and subscription rates. Write about the key benefits of ordering a subscription to your newspaper, including any award-winning journalists or national columnists. Include a printable brochure on your website, as well as an order form.

Distribute fliers in high-traffic areas of your location. Hire adults or college-age students 18 or older to distribute the fliers, as some states prohibit newspaper solicitations by minors. Put the fliers on door knobs, in apartment mail slots and on car windshields at shopping centers or movie theaters. Offer discounts for new subscribers.

Create a voucher form that you can mail to people, suggests Ideas in Circulation. Combine details about your newspaper and a space for ordering on the same form. Use postcard voucher forms to enjoy lower postage rates. Create a separate voucher form with special deals for businesses, including a free listing in the newspaper if you work for the publishing company.

Hand out vouchers in front of busy grocery stores; or have your workers distribute them.

Order mailing lists of consumers and businesses in your immediate area. Purchase these lists from the local phone company, if it has them available. Mail vouchers out to consumers. Offer them coupons or special deals when they sign up, for example. Distribute vouchers on a smaller scale if you are an independent newspaper vendor.

Print large display ads about your newspaper inside the paper if you work in marketing for the publishing company, for example. Gear your subscription information toward people who may have picked your newspaper up at a newsstand.

Set up display booths at numerous high-traffic areas in your city, including at airports, convention centers, baseball stadiums and other sports venues. Hire experienced salespeople to sell your subscriptions at these locations. (Start with just a few displays if you are a newspaper route owner.)

Include referral forms inside newspapers when people subscribe. Provide an incentive for people to share names and addresses of their friends and family members, such as three months free, or 10 to 20 percent off on renewals.

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