Going Direct via NewsLetter Advertising – Part #1

Another way to go direct and get golden traffic at a low cost is through newsletters.   Newsletter advertising is as old as the internet,  and despite what the unknowing might say, its still the #1 way of making money online.

Newsletters are very personal, and built on relationships that is why they are a great place to advertise. ¬† Just like with direct ad buys, ¬†here also its very important to know your target market. ¬† ¬†After you’ve established who your customer is, it’s time to find newsletters you can advertise in.

There are some genius ways to do this,  of course Google to the rescue.   Typing in stuff like:

-“Your Keyword” “subscribe to * newsletter”
-“Your Keyword” “next issue” “advertisers”
-“Your Keyword” newsletter advertising

There are many other places to look, like article depositories,  forums, b2b sites, etc.

Newsletter advertising is recommended for more advanced (not newbie) media buyers that have an established product and way of promotion. ¬† ¬†The reason is that most newsletters are relationships built over many months and years with the customer; and you don’t want to sell them something that will violate their trust in the newsletter.

Some important things to ask from the newsletter list owner.

-What is the format of the newsletter? HTML or text only (this will help you determine whether to place a text ad or a banner image ad in it)
-How many subscribers does the list have and how many people who receive it open the newsletter? (what is the open rate)
-How much do they charge for mailing, Is it possible to pay per impressions vs a flat rate? ¬† ¬†Let’s be real, ¬†not everyone on the newsletter will receive it, and not everyone will open it.
-Is it possible to advertise in a sequence, ¬†in other words send a few ‘warm up’ emails with no offer to interest the readers, and then drop the offer in the 3rd or 4th email?

Going Direct vs Through An Ad Agency when Media Buying

Going Direct to a website you’d like to advertise on has its pros and cons. ¬†The biggest pro being you can cut the middle man, and get more bang for your buck (by that I mean more quality traffic). ¬† ¬†The downside is there’s no ad network helper that will keep tabs on your stats. ¬†You will need to do that yourself, and for that you will need an ad server.

So, what steps do you have to take to find websites to advertise on directly?

Step #1 – Find out who is your demographic exactly!

By demographic I mean their age, average income, location, sex, etc. ¬†The more you know about your customer the better. ¬† ¬† If you know all of this info, awesome – if not it’s best to hit up sites like compete.com, alexa.com, ¬†quancast.com.

Step #2 – Find sites to advertise on who match your target demographic

-Look through the top sites in the world on alexa.com
-Perform a search for your main keywords,  the more niched the better.
-Look for sponsored reviews on sites like reviews.com, ones that fit your product/service
-Google Adwords placement tool

*These are just some ideas to get you started, obviously with a little creative thinking outside of the box there are many other sites/places you can find to advertise on.

Step #3 – Contact The Webmaster + Negotiate a Price

Found a site you’d like to advertise on? Great! Now it’s time to contact the webmaster. ¬†More of than than not, you will find the contact information right on the page – but what if it’s not visible? ¬†Well check their WHOIS records and gain their email address that way. ¬†Even if they use privacy, you can email the privacy protection email and hopefully get a response.

When you contact the webmaster,  be brief, about what your intentions are.  If they are willing and interested in what you are after, ask them more qualifying questions like how many page views (impressions) their site gets, how many unique visitors, from what geo locations, etc.   The more you know the better,  after you got the data you can prepare a proposal and submit your offer to them.

A general rule in negotiating is to always start lower than what you are willing to pay, since its human nature to haggle; this usually works in your favor. ¬† ¬†Be a low baller, don’t be shy. ¬† Offer them 0.40 CPC to start, which is ultra low considering the norm is $2 CPM but many website owners haven’t got a clue about internet marketing, so this is where you may find traffic gold – when you score ultra cheap deals for quality traffic.

There are other creative ways to get an ad spot up on a website, some webmasters are game if you give them a sample product to give away,  or you write a guest post on their site and in it place a text ad,  or sponsor a contest.   There are many more creative ideas;  Google around.

Since many website owners haven’t got a clue about dealing with media buyers, you will have to prepare terms of agreement and an insertion order, which might sound alien to you but it will protect your interests should you have to dispute the deal with your bank, or paypal if the website you bought on decides to screw you over.

Remember, ¬†honest people have no problems doing honest business. If someone isn’t willing to sign your agreements, then best avoid them.

Going direct can render great benefit, however expect a lot of rejection and/or being ignored. ¬† Many don’t take these seriously, it’s like telemarketing a total numbers game.

How To Design Banners With High CTR

Banners are the foundation of media buying,  but not all banners sell or get good click through rates (CTR).  So how in the world do you make a banner that will get you the maximum clicks and in turn, bring the most potential customers to your page?

First and foremost, ¬†banners come in all shapes and sizes. ¬†From square to rectangular, from tiny to large. ¬† Before Google came out to dominate the internetscape; ¬†banner sizes weren’t really that much standardized. ¬† yes 468×60 was a very popular banner size, and still is today but beyond that it was a free for all.

Some popular banner sizes today:

  • 728×90
  • 468×60
  • 336×468
  • 300×250
  • 200×200
  • 160×600
  • 120×600

Since banners are everywhere,  users have become immune to them. That is why a good design will break the comfort of the viewers eye,  stop that banner blindness for a second.    The point is to catch their attention for a millisecond, have them wonder, and CLICK!

How To Get Started in Designing a Banner That Works? A: Research, Research, Research…

Hop on google, type in your keyword and check out competing pages. What kind of banners show up?  Take notes! No need to reinvent the wheel, just improve it a little to work in your favor.

You can alternatively try images.google.com and other popular search engines image searchers.

TIP#1 Feature Pics of People in Your Banners

Even though some say its corny, fake, or whatever. ¬†Research and hard stats have shown people like seeing others in banner ads. ¬† ¬†It’s all a psychological thing at a subconscious level.

TIP #2 Show Them The Benefits

People like seeing happy, satisfied people.   Zero in on their emotions, show them the benefits of the product or service you are advertising.    Lay out your message so your communicates what the product will give them, what the benefits are.        All the want is to be happy,  something easy, and to save money.

Tip #3 – Ugly banners SELL, BELIEVE IT!

Have no idea why this is how it is, but stats show that ugly banners get great click through rates.   Not sure if its curiosity of people to see, or whether many people have absolutely no sense in design.    But time and time again it has been shown that the uglier the banner, the more CTR it will get.

Here are some great ways to come out as the king or queen of ugly banner design!

-Use blink or rattle animation in your ad
-Keep it simple, as if an amateur did it who can’t even draw a stick figure
-Use OldSchool HTML designs (bright blue links, underlined)
-White background, plain text works
-Weird edges, and/or borders
-Play buttons or strange warning messages, with windows/mac buttons.

*Again knowing your demographic will help in a great deal in getting an awesome ugly banner made. ¬†For example, if you target mac users, don’t be using Windows buttons!

Tip #4 – Use Stats + Numbers, People Believe Them

People don’t trust anything, but this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to banners and numbers. ¬†You can write some kind of stats into your banner, and stats prove they will get slightly higher CTR.

Tip #5 – Color scheme your banner to blend in with the page

While the God of Google doesn’t enable you to do this on Adsense, you can pretty much get away with it when you do media buying elsewhere. ¬† ¬†To blend in like a chameleon, use their page colors, font sizes, font styles, etc. – It will increase your click through.

Tip #6 – Don’t Overload Your Banner with Information

Less is MORE! That statement is very true! If you put too much into your banner, it will confuse the viewer and they will click very little, so its a sure way to destroy CTR.    Again Keep it Simple!

Tip #7 – Banners are done, now what? Tests, Tests and More Tests!

This is by far what separates the men from the boys in the world of media buying.  If you want to succeed you must test, and tweak as I wrote earlier.   Once you find a great banner design,  work on it and change some things then test and tweak it to improve CTR.

How do you tell which banner is successful? You look at its CPA [Google CPC] or CTR.   CPA is cost per acquisition [Google CPC: Cost Per Conversion] or CTR РClick Through Ratio.    An OK CTR is 0.2% (20 people out of 1000 impressions).

A/B/C Split Testing is also a great way to test the effectiveness of different banners.