In my opinion, people who develop websites that aren’t selling products or offering a special service should strive to bring on advertisers directly in lieu of pay per click advertising or Adsense. Forget about ad networks, cut out the middle man, and you will greatly increase your revenues.
The first step is arguably the most difficult – building a website with unique content that ranks well in search engines and has consistent, growing traffic. I believe that once this has been accomplished, getting advertisers to directly place banners or links on your website is where you will make the most revenue. If your site is bringing targeted traffic, there are advertisers who would like the attention of this traffic.
Here are 5 tips to getting direct advertising deals:
1) Do a Google search for 10-15 keyword phrases related to your website and identify the companies that are paying for advertising on the top and side of Google. Don’t just use the most obvious searches. Search for complimentary services as well, since those advertisers might be interested in advertising on your site as well. For my blog, I would search for keywords such as hosting, web development…etc. Visit those advertisers’ websites, and on the About Us or Management page, find the person responsible for Marketing/Advertising and call him to let him know about your website and rates.
2) Scout out your competitors’ websites to see who is advertising directly on those sites, and see how your site stacks up on public analytics websites such as Alexa and Compete. Compare your PageRank and search engine positioning with theirs. Find out what they charge, and based on the ranking comparison, price your advertisements accordingly. Create a pitch sheet with these stats, your website’s traffic, and email the Marketing/Advertising Manager for those companies and tell them about your website and competitive rates.
3) Learn about the leaders for the industry in which your website is located. See if they operate affiliate programs, and if so, sign up for those programs and add their banners prominently on your website. Depending on the performance of those banners, set your direct advertising rates accordingly to make sure you aren’t losing money by going direct. Reach out to some of the smaller companies who compete with the affiliate companies on your site, to let them know you’d prefer to go direct with them and will take down their competitors’ banners.
4) If your website is in an industry in which you do business, speak with your Account Representative or someone at the company that works with you, and let them know you are looking to bring on advertisers on your related website. Either offer them special deals in exchange for customer incentives or do some sort of product trade if they aren’t able/willing to pay for advertising. Eventually competitors will follow suit if your website has targeted traffic.
5) Probably the easiest way is to add an easy to see “Advertise” link, allowing site visitors to easily contact you about advertising opportunities. Make sure you have a form to get enough information about who is inquiring, and make sure you contact them ASAP – preferably by phone. Tell the potential advertiser your goals for the site as well as the analytics, and share your passion for whatever the website is about.