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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to make money with direct advertising

What is Direct Advertising?

In Simple language, direct advertising is all about reaching the potential customer or buyers without any inter-mediator, sometime termed as direct marketing. Direct advertising is possibly the best way to make money from a website or blog. But its not as easy as many webmasters and bloggers think. We have to work really hard to make some decent amount of money by selling advertising on our blogs. To be really applicable for making money with direct advertising, you need a blog with lots of search engine traffic, good page rank and good Alexa ranking as well. And when we get some queries about advertising, we have to reply them with the kind of advertising we are offering on our blog and the price range for different advertising options. And when some advertiser buys some kind of advertising on our blog, we have to maintain a record of time duration, mode of payment and e-mailing when links or banners are going to expire etc.

Direct Advertising benefits

  1. No Revenue Sharing: We are able to make more amount of money if we sell any kind of direct advertising on our blog. Because in this case, we are able to save big amount of money that we have to pay if we prefer to go through a advertising network like Text link ads, TNX, Linkworth or ReviewMe. When we accept advertising on our blog through these network, we have no alternate except giving 30 to 50 percent of our earnings to them. Suppose I sell a link on my blog via Text link ads for $50 for a month, they will give me $25 only and will keep the rest of $25 at them. And in case we had sold this link directly, we will be having full $50 in our pocket and will not be sharing even a single penny with them.
  2. More control over ads: When we sell ads on our behalf, we have more control over how and where the ads will be shown on our blog.
  3. Our own prices: We can decide the amount of money we are willing to charge for a banner, link or paid review in case of direct advertising. On most of advertising networks we cannot decide the amount of money we want to get paid for advertising.
  4. Interaction with Advertisers: We remain in direct contact with the advertisers who are willing to get any kind of advertising, which we miss when we sell ads via advertising networks. In this case, we can negotiate with them about the amount of money we will be charging and also offer them additional deals if we have.
  5. Fast Payment: With most of advertising networks, we are paid on monthly basis. But with direct advertising, we get the earned money instantly in our paypal or Bank account. So payment retrieval is really fast in case of direct selling.
  6. More advertising options: We can sell any kind of advertising on our blog in this case. And when we sell ads via a network, we are forced with some fixed ad formats. With some networks, we can sell 125×125 banner ads only and with some we are forced to add 468×60 banner ads. But with this option, we can sell all kind of banners on our blog. Some of popular banner formats are 125×125, 250×250, 160×600, 468×60 and 728×90. 

Direct Advertising losses

  1. Lack of Advertisers: It’s really difficult to find new advertisers who will be willing to purchase some kind of advertising on your blog. And when we decide to go through an advertising network, we don’t have much problem in gaining some advertisements for us as they have large collection of advertisers with different requirement and pricings. So it will not be difficult to earn some advertisement for your blog through them.
  2. Require lots of time: If you have decided to get some direct advertisers for your blog, you need lots of time finding them through Google search, other ad networks and from other blogs in your niche. And when you get success in getting few advertisers for your blog, you have to handle other issues like their requirements, payment system, report generation etc.

How to find advertisers for your blog

Once you are ready to sell some kind of advertising on your blog, you will need to start looking for advertisers who are willing to place their ads on your blog. And don’t feel discourage if some of advertisers turns down your request initially. If you have a good blog with good amount of traffic and Google page rank, you will surely get some advertisers sooner or later. Now lets discuss how and where to find advertisers for your blog:
  1. Google Adwords Ads: are the biggest source of finding quality advertisers for your blog. Go to Google.com and make search with some of leading keywords in your niche or some of keywords your blog is ranking on. Browse through the sponsored links section and check these websites. Sites in sponsored section are spending money for their listing on Google adwords. With this they may be interested in other modes of advertising. Create a small list of such websites and note down their contact details like their E-mail ID’a and phone number’s. Once you have created a list, make a call or e-mail these websites with your offers. And if they find your blog can be good for their business, they will not hesitate in spending some money for doing advertisement on your blog as well. Suppose your blog is on top for ‘Make money online’ keyword, browse all the sponsored listings, contact website owners and try to convenience them that they will be able to get some real business if they agree to place some paid ads on your blog.
  2. Other popular blogs in your Niche: Browse through the top blogs in your niche and generate a list of websites that have placed their banners or links in the sponsored section. When these websites are spending money to get advertisement on these blogs, they will surely be interested in placing their banners and links on your blog as well. If you offer them good advertising options at a reasonable rate, they will be interested in advertising on your blog.
  3. Use Text link selling networks: create a publisher account on text link selling networks like Text-link-ads, TNX or LinkAdage and browse through their marketplace in categories your blogs fits in. Create a list of some blogs where some ads are already sold. And when you have created a list of like 50 such websites, visit these websites one by one and check the sponsored links on these websites. Sponsored section on these bogs will include the list of websites that have purchased links on these blogs by paying some fixed amount of money for a month. All these websites can be your targeted customers. Now add these websites as well in your advertisers list you are generating with their contact details.
  4. Competitor’s websites: Browse through some of your competitor’s websites and create a list of companies that are advertising there. As they are advertising on your competitors websites, they will also be interested in buying some ads on your as well if you have a well designed blog and covers their targeted audience. 
  5. Using discussion forums: There are some popular webmaster and seo related discussion forums where there is a marketplace for selling and buying links. On these forums, there are always hundreds of open threads about buying/selling of links. And if you want, you can create a thread of your own with your pricing and other stats about your website like its page rank, Alexa ranking, rough traffic estimate and your website niche etc. And if you are new to these kind of forums, spend some time in their marketplace to know what kind of people are actually looking for links and how much they are paying for a link. Some of popular marketplace you are try are:- Digital point link selling place- Sitepoint link selling marketplace- V7n link selling place

Creating an ‘Advertise Here’ page

You should create an ‘Advertise here’ or ‘Your Ads here’ page on your blog if you are aiming at making some good amount of money from direct advertising. And once you have created this page, you should place this page in your navigation bar or in the header section like I added my ‘Advertise here‘ in my Top Navigation Bar. We do this so that all of our website visitors become aware about the advertising options we have on our website. Here are some points you should notice when you create an ‘Advertise here’ section on your blog or website:
  • Traffic Stats: You should include stats like monthly page views your blog get on an average. And if you don’t want to share your exact traffic stats, give some rough estimate about your website traffic. This page should include the kind of audience your blog occupies with some popular industry terms your blog is doing well with. And if you want to share more information about your traffic statistics on the advertising page, can include details like unique visitors per month, bounce rate, locations from where you get most of your traffic etc.
  • Alexa and Technorati Ranking: Your adverting page should also include your website page rank, Alexa ranking, Technorati ranking and compete ranking. And if your blog has good amount of RSS or Email subscribers, don’t forget to mention them on your advertising page. You can also include other stats about your blog like its age, number of posts you have added so far, comments count, number of posts you make on daily or weekly basis. You should keep it updated as you notice some changes in the parameters we just discussed.
  • Mention Advertising options: You should include all advertising options available like text links, banners of different sizes in various sections on your blog and sponsored posts on your ‘Advertise here’ page. You can omit the pricing for various kind of advertising options if you want to keep your rates variable. But all advertising options should be clear and easily understandable to everyone.
  • Testimonials: you can include the list of testimonials you got from previous advertisers. When advertisers see testimonials on your advertising page, they show more faith and confidence about advertising on your blog. You can even make a list of advertisers who have so far did some kind of adverting on your blog and show them on this page.
  • Media coverage: Don’t forget to mention the list of newspapers, websites and blogs in your niche or general where your blog is mentioned.
  • Contact information: And towards the end of advertising page, add a valid e-mail address or contact form where people can get in touch with you. You can even share your chat ID on all big internet messengers and your phone number as well.
  • Payment system: And most importantly, include the mode of payment like Paypal, Check, direct deposit etc you are able to receive money. Paypal is the most popular method of sending and receiving money. If you don’t have a paypal account by now, create a premier or business account there to make high number of transactions in a given month. 

How to approach advertisers

Some advertisers will directly approach you after seeing the ‘Advertise here’ page on your blog. And for the rest, you have to contact by e-mailing or calling them. If you think about approaching them via e-mail, create a standard template that you can use for all them. And if possible add some elements of personalization in your template. You can format your standard template as:
- First introduce yourself and your blog
- Reason for contacting them
- Other details about your blog like its traffic estimate, Google page rank, RSS subscribers count and Alexa ranking etc
- Describe the kind of benefit they will get if they chose to advertise on your blog and if you have some discount scheme explain that as well
- Introduce advertising options and their respective pricing
- Try to convince them for any kind of advertising they are interested in buying on your blog
- And keep your e-mail size small as advertisers will simply skip your email if you send a mail with lots of text.
And if you think of approaching them via phone, you can include all these points in your conversation with them. And if any of them is ready to buy advertising on your blog, try to serve them the best possible way. Top

How much to charge for advertising

In the last three to four months time, I got some advertising inquiries on my blog. I was really happy when I got my first inquiry. At that time, the only thing that was going through my mind was ‘How much I should charge’. If Charge too much, I was afraid of losing the only advertiser that I got. And if I thought about charging little, I would not be able to property utilize the only money making opportunity I had. I spend some time on internet looking at what other bloggers are charging in my niche, how much I would have made if I had added some PPC ad there and many more. There were many more factors that I took into consideration before deciding the final pricing for an ad on my blog:
  • Fair amount of money: We should charge in such a way both you and advertiser remain happy. Advertiser should get the value for the money he spends in form of impressions, actual visits, form fill up or lead generation. The whole deal should not end in a way where advertiser feels that it’s was a bad deal or just waste of money on your blog.
  • Charge on CPM basis: we could charge on CPM (cost per thousand) basis. We could start charging $5 per CPM and can increase the rates if we decide to place ads in the header section or above the fold in the sidebar on your blog. But before you send the advertising rates, It should be clear, what kind of advertising he is actually willing to purchase i.e. if it will be a text link or 125×125 banner and if the ads will appear on home page or will appear on all pages on your blog as well. There are many more factors we can take into consideration while deciding the advertising rates like your blog traffic, page rank, Alexa ranking, niche and demographic factors.
  • Check other people’s blog: To get clearer idea about advertising rates, check advertising page of top blogs in your niche and industry. You can test the amount of money you should charge by placing a Google Adsense unit in your blog section where you want to sell some ad space. Keep Adsense ads on your blog for 10 to 15 days and get value for that space in your Adsense advance report section under eCPM.
  • Offer discount: If someone is willing to buy advertisement for six month or for a year, offer 5 or 10 percent discount on the total amount you would have charged if they have purchased the ad space on monthly basis. 

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