You have now created your “advertise here” page and your media kit document. You have your contact details available on your site but still no e-mails from interested advertisers. If you run a small site, having an advertise page will not be enough to attract advertisers. Google Adsense is your friend while your readership is small. But what if you are tired of contextual ads? What if it does not work for your content? What if you want another source of revenue? You have to learn to “sell” your site better and start directly approaching companies that are related to your content.
A guide to follow when approaching advertisers
- Search Google for your content keywords. Look in the “sponsored listings” and other ad areas on the search result page and see what companies spend money to advertise there.
- Go to your competing sites and other relevant websites and see which companies advertise on them.
- Select the most relevant of these companies. If some of these companies provide relevant products or services to your visitors, take a look at their site, learn about the company and find the contact details of their marketing department.
- Send them an email. Present your site as best as you can. Keep your emails short and to the point. Tell them about your site and what you can help them with. Include these details: Who are your visitors? How many unique visitors do you get? If you do, what relevant keywords do you rank high on?
Here is an example of an email I sent out recently to one potential advertiser:
I run a #your content topic here# at #your URL#. I rank high in Google for several keywords including #relevant keyword one# and #relevant keyword two#.
I was interested to hear if you would be interested in advertising on my site as I believe it could bring you some highly targeted, quality traffic.
Let me know what you think. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
- The responses. Companies are usually very fair and you can get a high response rate in many cases. Here are the responses I got on the email above:
The open answers:
Yes we may be, did you have something particular in mind?
You’ve done a nice job with your site. Tell me what you’re thinking.
The affiliate deal answers:
With reference to your email we would be very interested in appearing on your great website, I would like to suggest a cooperation with you! Would joining our affiliate programme and working on a CPA basis be something you might be interested in?
I have looked at your site and think that it would be perfect for our strategic partnership program. On becoming a strategic partner I can provide you with a white label, feed or banners all with a unique tracking code to allow you to list our inventory on to your site.
The text link answers:
Thanks for your message as received below, it has been forwarded onto me. We would be interested in advertising, specifically text links back to our relevant pages, could you let me know what the cost would be for this?
Thank you for your mail. Would it be possible for us to stick a link on URL or possibly have you create and endorsement about company name within the current content of this page? We are very interested in this page and working with you.
The thanks, but no thanks answer:
Thank you for your email. We are satisfied with the way we market our product and are not at this point looking for further outlets. Thank you for your interest in our company.
- Give them a realistic offer. When you do get a positive response, the ball is in your court. Think about a long term relationship potential. Do not oversell yourself. Do not overestimate your abilities. Do not overcharge. Under promise and over deliver.
Companies are looking for value. If they pay you for one month and do not get satisfying results they will not come back. Some options you can offers is a month of trial or a hybrid deal where you get a fixed fee with a CPA affiliate deal on top. Think realistically what your site can perform, reply back and offer an interesting deal which is a reasonable price for the size of your site and for their budget.
When an advertiser has decided to purchase, try offering an incentive to spend more. Discounts and bonuses both make the marginal cost of purchasing another day of advertising more attractive. Discounts reward with decreased payment for buying more, whereas bonuses reward with increased product for buying more. I prefer the idea of a bonus, because it doesn’t leave any money on the table; instead it gives the advertiser more for their money. Discounts are probably easier to administer manually, and can be in the form of percentage discount, or “daily rate: $1, monthly rate: $25, 6 months: $125″ etc. Make sure you make the discounts or bonuses clear in your rate card.
Try encouraging your advertisers to spend more by sending a reminder when their ad is finishing, asking them to extend instead of letting it lapse. It’s also a good idea to inform the advertiser how the ad has performed (through Click-Through Rate and impressions), when asking them to extend. This is a simple contact at the point of need for the advertiser; it reminds them of your existence, and it is dead simple for them to then act upon your request.
Your content can indirectly help sell ads
You never know who is reading your post. You may write with your visitor in mind, but a potential advertiser might be reading as well trying to find new opportunities to reach their audience on. So you have the possibility to sell advertising space indirectly by just writing a post that does well and that attracts advertisers and readers alike.
Writing some strategic posts regarding the growth of your site is another way of attracting advertisers. I would recommend, no matter the topic, to share good experiences and milestones of your site with your readers. Reached 100 posts? Got 1,000 subscribers? Hit the front page of Reddit and got a great number of visitors? Share it. Your readers would like to hear about your success and you might attract some sponsors as well.
When doing this make sure to have a “contact page” with a contact form in your navigation menu so it is easy for potential advertisers to contact you. WordPress plugin like Contact Form 7 allow you to easily insert a contact form into a page. No matter what you do with the advertisement offers, in my case I have not accepted either of them, it is still a very good step forward to get advertisers directly contacting you about buying advertising space on your site.
How to setup your banner management system
If the above two methods work and you do get some advertisers here’s how you can setup your banner management system. By directly approaching advertisers you work without the middlemen and you keep 100% of the revenue your site brings in. If successful with your approach, you will have sold some ad space and you will have to incorporate some banner ads into your design.
The whole process of getting direct advertisers can take a long time. You have to find and contact the relevant advertisers, you have to negotiate, you have to edit your design template to find the right ad spot, and you have to beware of the agreement to know when to take down the ad or even when to renegotiate the deal.
There are several WordPress plugins that can help you manage your ads more efficiently, which will leave you with more time to write new content and do the promotion of your site. I have tested the best-known WordPress ad management plugins, WP Ads, UBD Block Ad, and WP125. I would recommend WP125 as a very good introduction for new bloggers into the world of ad management. WP125 is simple to setup, simple to use and great start for those who want to sell ads on their site by themselves.
As the name suggests, WP125, serves the standard banner size for online sites, 125×125. You can chose between one and two columns and you also have the option to decide the number of ad slots. There is an option to chose the ad order and WP125 also keeps track of the number of clicks on the ad. You can decide the period of time you want the ad to be served and you will get the email notification when the ad is to expire so you can get in touch with the advertiser, ask about their experience of advertising on your site, and try to renew the deal. WP125 is widget ready, so you just have to add the WP125 widget into the sidebar and the ads will start displaying.