If you are using an ad broker, Adsense, or just about any other method to create advertising income from your site, chances are you aren’t making as much as you could be.
- Most people believe that Google is taking a 50% cut of Adsense earnings.
- Text-Link-Ads takes a 50% cut of link revenue
- ReviewMe takes a 50% cut of review sales
While I honestly could care less about ‘trends’ in the make money online world (Why would I? Most of them are ridiculous), there’s one that you can’t ignore. People that are selling their own ads are making a lot more money than people who aren’t.
In this lesson, I will cover 5 steps to selling your own ads:
- Make room for your ads and get some up before you try to make sales
- Contact your competitors.
- Set your prices.
- Create a solid advertising page.
- Contact potential advertisers.
Step 1 – Make room for your ads and get them up.
You will have a hard time selling ads if you don’t already have ads sitting there. This means you need to create a section for the ads now.
A very popular and effective format for selling ads is the 125×125 ad banners in the sidebar. I use this ad placement and it has worked out very nicely for me. Your sidebar will need to be at least 260 pixels wide to use the 2-column placement that I have. If your sidebar isn’t wide enough, you could use a single column.
In order to make sales, your ad section will need to appear as high as possible in the sidebar. I took a look at some of the big sites in my industry and tried to match their placement.
In order to be able to charge the same amount to all of the advertisers, I knew that I would need the banners to rotate. To make them rotate, I used a plugin called Got Banners. The page I got it from no longer exists so I guess I’ll just post it here: Got Banners Download. You basically install a little piece of code in the sidebar and then manage the banners by going to Options>>Got Banners (Settings>>Got Banners in WP 2.5+) in your WordPress admin.
Some of you may want to sell advertising on your sites. This could be very effective if you do it right. Create a section where you can put the banners now, and we’ll discuss making the sale later on in this lesson. If I had a bunch of niche sites, I would probably create the section in a theme that I could use on all or most of my sites. Your enemy with that approach is wasted time, and using the same theme will save tons of time.
Another very common ad placement is the 728×60 banner like the one they use at SparkPlugging.com. They don’t sell their own ads as far as I can tell, but the placement is what we’re looking at. Again, you have to create the placement before you can make the sale.
What banners do you put in until you can make sales? I would use affiliate banners from sites like NeverBlueAds and AzoogleAds. They have all different sizes of banners that should fit in nicely on almost every site. You can also use banners that point to other sites that you are trying to establish.
Perception is everything when it comes to making these sales and you have to put your best foot forward. Trying to sell banners when you don’t have any banners in your section will be a HUGE waste of time.
Step 2 – Contact your competitors.
At this point of the process, you are NOT trying to sell advertising to your competitors. You are simply going to contact them to determine the rates they sell advertising for. Many of your competitors will have the rates published somewhere on their sites, others will have to be contacted via email or telephone. You should ask how much they charge, and how many impressions (total hits on pages the ad is on) you could expect to get per month if you were to purchase an ad spot.
Step 3 – Set your prices.
Once you have determined how much your competitors are selling advertising for, you will be able to set your prices accordingly. You should figure out exactly how much your competitors are charging per impression.
If your competitor can deliver more impressions than you each month, you will want to lower the amount you charge per impression by a slight amount, something like 10%. If you can deliver more impressions than your competitor, I would increase the amount you charge per impression by 10%. After you start selling ads it will become easier to determine whether you can sell your ads for more or not – this formula is here only to get you started.
Example: Your competitor is charging $500 per month for an ad spot and can deliver 500,000 impressions to that ad each month. That means he/she is charging $0.001 per impression. That’s 1/10th of a cent.
If you can deliver 50,000 impressions to an ad, charging the same amount per impression would give you a price of $50 per month. Lowering your rate by 10% would give you a monthly price of $45. This gives a slightly better value than your competitor, which is a trade off for not being able to deliver as many impressions.
Step 4 – Create a solid advertising page.
9 out every 10 banners I sell are sold directly from my ‘Advertise‘ page. In order to sell advertising, you will need to put your best foot forward – talk about your strengths as a site.
- High amount of traffic
- Valuable traffic – maybe you don’t have that much but you have people that are looking to spend a few thousand dollars on a cosmetic surgery or something.
- Targeted traffic
- Solid organic traffic – Organic traffic has a longer attention span than social traffic.
- Good rankings for solid keywords
- Loyal traffic
I use PayPal subscription buttons to make the sales on my advertising page. That way, all of my ads are sold on subscription. During the first few months I sold my own advertising, I created a HUGE hassle for myself by not selling on subscription. I had to invoice each advertiser every month and that ended up being a major pain. Switching to the subscription method made my life a lot easier.
These subscription buttons can easily be made from your PayPal account. You simply go to ‘Merchant Services’ and then click the ‘subscribe’ link in the ‘Create Buttons’ section. It will have a simple form that you will use to create the button, and will then give you code that you will paste in on your advertising page.
Step 5 – Contact potential advertisers.
At this point you basically have two options. Firstly, you could wait around hoping that you can make advertising sales from the traffic you currently have. I’m doing this now, and am selling out my advertising almost every month. However, in the beginning I was a lot more aggressive, because I needed to be.
After I created my ad sections and set my pricing, I contacted all of the companies that were advertising on my competitors’ sites. This resulted in some sales during the first week. I didn’t have an awesome sales rate, but was able to get a few because I contacted so many people. I want to say I contacted about 30 and sold maybe 3.
When I emailed these companies about the possibility of advertising on my site, I let them know that I was offering advertising at a better rate than other sites they were advertising on.
It’s very wise to contact some sites in the beginning, because once you have some legit advertisers, it becomes a lot easier to sell to more.
One trick that I considered using (in the end I didn’t have to) was selling a few spots at a huge discount. For example, you could contact a premium advertiser in your industry and offer them an ad spot for $1 per month. That gets a high-end advertiser in your ad section and that looks great to potential advertisers. As an alternate method, you could tell them that you would like to give them free advertising for a few months. That way, you get a premium advertiser in your ad section and might be able to sell to them after the free period ends.
Selling your own advertising can result in a lot more profit for your online business. Making that sale will require creating a good perception and providing a little more value than your competitors. This value can be provided by either providing more impressions or a better rate per impression.