Below is a post written by fellow entrepreneur, Jared O’Toole co-founder of Under30CEO.
A lot of people talk about how advertising is dead. Guess what? They are wrong! Advertising is not dead…the models are only changing and evolving.
Advertising is still a great way to monetize a site you just have to know what your getting into. Here are 10 ways to make the whole process easier on yourself…
1. Focus on content
Content is and always will be king! You will need great content and lots of it to drive an audience. Varying your content can be key. Make some social media friendly content ie. lists, but also have the in depth more thought out stuff. A steady dose of both will build and drive a powerful audience to a website.
2. Don’t worry about size
Even if your website isn’t huge its ok. Advertisers are looking for niche audiences. More then size concern yourself with defining that niche. Even the smallest niches can drive huge ad dollars if you prove your site is a player in it.
Find ways to measure those numbers. A great way to take a measured slice of your audience is to develop a Facebook fan page. It will track all the demographics of each fan and will chart it all out ie. age, gender, location. Perfect overview of your general audience.
3. Look to the Future
Whats the next ad model to come out? It never hurts to try campaigns and pitches. One thing that will never change is that companies will look to push their message in front of audiences. It’s up to you to create a new more effective method for them to do this on your platform. Look for the next big way to do this or some else will.
There are companies that will buy that banner ad on your site. You just have to find them. This means calling and emailing everyone.
Gary Vaynerchuk gave a great description of this. He compared it to those times you see that guy with that extremely hot girl and your asking yourself how the hell he got her. He got her because he asked every hot girl he came across out and eventually someone said yes!
Same with selling ads. Its the hustle. Someone will eventually say yes!
5. Look outside “advertising”
Get companies to sponsor things on your site. Maybe a series of articles. An event. Even the entire site. Be creative and think beyond banner ads. There are probably quite a few sponsorship opportunities on your website if you look for them.
6. Build a Community
A strong community will be more likely to trust ads and partnerships you have with advertisers. A trustworthy community will lead to advertisers seeing results which means they will be happy and will consider advertising with you again.
This goes back to defining your niche. Advertisers want to see that community and know that they are active.
7. Put yourself in the advertisers shoes
How much would you pay to be on your site? Where would you want your ad on your site? What would make you buy a spot?
Think like you are buying something on your site and see how you feel about it. This will let you optimize your site and pitch to meet those advertisers needs.
8. Don’t be afraid to put ads front and center
Don’t over do it but people understand that nothing is free. Everyone needs to make money to keep things going. Having an ad or two near the top or in an article won’t corrupt a whole community if its whats keeping your site afloat.
Remember that if you plan on creating a serious revenue stream from ads you will have to use optimal locations for these ads. If your not willing to do that advertising may not be for your site.
9. Analyze others
Look at who is successful in the ad space. Mashable and Techcrunch are great examples (both do millions each year in advertising) but also look at sites in your industry. Even better try and find out what they were like in their early days.
Focus on where they place ads. What they get sponsorships for. Look at their media kits and what they pitch to advertisers. All of this will help form your campaign.
Don’t just look at these sites once. Keep checking in over the course of months. Ads and sponsorships will pop up in various ways overtime as they try new spots or get offered various deals.
10. Build other revenue streams
Yes the 10th secret is don’t use advertising! Build other streams and look beyond ads. Have multiple revenue streams. In the end maybe ads aren’t your million dollar ticket. So try multiple things and see what works and expands the best!
Just remember advertising is not dead, you can make big bucks from it you just have to understand what is best for you and your site.