This guest post is by John Burnside of moneyin15minutes.co.uk.
If you have a blog or website then I’m sure that you will have looked at various ways to earn a bit of money for all your blood, sweat and tears. There are so many ways to do it.
You’ve got pay per click, affiliate programs, or advertising to emailing lists, plus dozens of other methods. But if you take a look at some developed blogs within your niche, you are likely to see an Advertise With Us page in their top menus.
This is where private advertisers will come to find out prices—and where you can start earning a more stable living online.
Let’s look at a few key things you can do to target these advertisers, and start building relationships with them.
Set up your Advertise With Us page
If you don’t have one of these on your blog, you need to build one. If no one knows you’re selling advertising space, you’re not going to get any customers.
This page should include pictures of where the adverts will be placed, explain what type of ads you’re selling (e.g. text links, banner ads etc.), and provide a contact box so that would-be advertisers can contact you straight away.
I believe that you should also include the pricing for each advert slot on this page because this can smooth the communication that follows. But if you have confidence in your blog, you could simply say, “Please contact me for details on pricing.”
If you’re happy with your site’s traffic, include those details on the page too. If an advertiser knows how many views they are going to get for the price, that will give them more confidence in purchasing.
Another tip: label the ad spaces that have already been taken up by other businesses. This will show potential advertisers that your site is in demand.
Excellent Advertise With Us pages
What does a great Advertise With Us page look like? Here are a few choice examples: clear and concise pages that will attract a lot of business.
- Mashable: If you take a look at this page you can see where your advert is going to be placed, what sizes of banner ads are on offer, and how many visitors the site attracts. The only thing not listed is the price of the adverts. For such a large site, that information is unnecessary at this point, since all advertisers know they’d reach a massive audience by advertising with this site.
- John Chow: The first thing that’s mentioned on this advertising page is the amount of visitors the site gets. Straight away, this gives a potential customer an idea of how much value they can expect to get for their ad placement. Then, the page clearly explains how your advert will be shown—on which articles, and so on. This is a great idea to increase revenue when you are getting a lot of business on your site. It adds advertising spots when your site has physically run out of space.
- Shoemoney: This is much the same as the other pages, including nice guides on traffic and where your ad will be placed. But this page has a nice twist: it lists all of the popular publications that the author and the blog have been mentioned on. This shows a lot of credibility and proves that the blog is popular.
Price your ad space competitively
It can seem like the biggest decision you are going to make, to decide on your pricing. But don’t spend to long wondering where the threshold is between what advertisers will pay and what is too much.
The best way to decide is to see what other people in your niche are charging and then judge your offering against theirs.
I would recommend going to at least five blogs within your niche, and checking out their ad pricing. Then use tools like Alexa.com and the social proof (amount of comments, Facebook likes, retweets, etc.) those sites are getting to judge how much traffic they are receiving.
Then you can compare those results against yours and make a decision about how much you should be charging for your ad space.
Be prepared to negotiate on price
When advertisers contact you, they usually are happy to pay the price that you have stated on your advertising page. If you haven’t stated a price, or the customer is after a bargain, then they might try and negotiate with you.
Keep in mind from the start the price that you would like to get, and your minimum price.
If you have these figures in mind, you won’t fall into the trap of going lower than you should, and devaluing your advertising space. If this happens, the next time you deal with this person they are going to expect to get the space for the discounted price again.
As you’re negotiating, keep in mind how much work this person is either likely to send you, or has sent you in the past. This is particularly important for deals where the advertiser have already tested out your website, and want to come back to you with a longer term deal.
For example, if they have tested you previously with one or two tweets and paid the full price, and now they want a series of 15-20 tweets, you may decide this is a legitimate reason for them to expect a discount.
Attracting advertisers yourself
Sometimes you think you’ve done everything right. You’ve got plenty of traffic, set up an advertising page … and yet you’re just not getting contacted by anyone.
Well, there are things you can do to attract those elusive advertisers to your blog.
The first one is a passive way to get more advertising customers, but it can be very effective in the long term: do a bit of search engine optimization on your advertising page. If you target the proper keywords, you could get organic traffic from Google specifically comprising advertisers. Perhaps go for the keyword “advertising on a (your niche) blog.” It’s a long-tail keyword, so there probably won’t be too much competition for it, but any traffic you get from it should be advertising gold.
A more immediate approach is to directly email the types of people that you feel would be interested in buying advertising on your blog. First of all, you want to contact any advertisers that have used your blog before. They represent your best chance of immediate business: you know they’re interested in your service, and hopefully they were satisfied with it. You never know—they may be looking for a site to advertise on, but have simply forgotten about you.
If you are just getting to the stage where you think your site is ready for private advertisers, you could consider doing a bit of cold emailing to people who might be interested. Not sure who’d be interested in your ad space? Let me use my blog as an example to explain.
I am in the make money online niche, and to attract new advertisers, I would contact people who have sales pages offering make money systems for sale. Look for pages that are selling products, but products that you think your readers would be interested in.
Once you have found a few sites, and the email addresses of their webmasters, it’s time to send them some tempting emails. Remember while you’re writing the email that you are selling yourself and your site. Sometimes it’s hard to do this—it seems like you’re boasting—but keep in mind that you have a really good blog that can offer quality, targeted traffic for their product. Once you get going talking about how great your blog could be for them, you won’t be able to stop!
The final way of attracting advertisers if you don’t have the time to search out products and send out emails, is to go to a site specifically designed to sell private advertising space, like Buysellads. This website advertises to a wide audience. All you have to do is place your traffic, your advertising options, your site, and your prices into your listing.
They will take a commission on your advertising space, however, so be aware of that. Once you have attracted an advertiser from this site I would heavily recommend contacting them personally so that you can cut out the middleman, and make sure you get all of the money for your advertising space.
Offer a good service
Always keep in mind throughout the whole correspondence what it is you are doing: offering a service. So, to keep your customer satisfied, you must be quick to respond and polite at all times.
I usually start off my first response to a potential advertiser with a sentence like, “Thank you for your interest in my blog.” This shows that you are humble about your accomplishments, and appreciate the advertiser. Someone who feels appreciated will feel much more comfortable contacting you again.
If they ask a question, answer it as clearly and fully as you can, and avoid being sarcastic or patronizing. This is an instant turn-off for anyone, let alone someone who you’re hoping to convince to part with their hard-earned cash.
When they have asked about advertising, send them a list of all of the services you offer on your site, along with the prices so that if they would like to take you up on one of them, they already know what you offer. If you don’t, you’ll create the impression that you aren’t sure what to charge, or that you’re trying to hide something.
Finally, if you do get work from someone, be sure that you can complete it on time and to the standard that they expect. If you under-deliver on any of your projects for them, they will never come back to you.
Make a business partner for the long term
The final goal of any blogger who offers private advertising should be to get advertisers coming back month after month to use your advertising space. The main issue in achieving this will be how much traffic you have sent to their site, but there are some other things you can do to help keep them coming back.
If they have used your site once, email them just before their time is up and ask them if they would like to renew their contract with you. You never know when you might make a recurring customer.
You might also consider offering them a discount if they sign up for a longer term contract. Everyone likes to find a bargain, and if they know you already, and feel confident that you can deliver a good service, they could well be tempted.
The most important thing to remember is that you want to build a relationship with these people. They are the ones who are going to pay for your blogging exploits, and they may well know others who are interested in advertising on your site. If you make a friend in advertising it could open up a world of possibilities for your blog that you don’t want to miss out on.
Do you allow private advertisers on your blog? Share your tips with us in the comments.