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Advertising On Your Site: When, How And How Much?
by Marc Bissonnette, InternAlysis.
This has been a question I've been hearing a lot from my clients, as more and more of them start looking at their traffic analysis and think to themselves that there may be some income involved :)
First of all, there are a few do's and don'ts when taking advertising on your site, although these can depend highly on what type (industry, target market, traffic volume, etc) of site yours is.
What can I charge for my ads? This is the question I hate the most, because I have to give the most annoying answer: It depends.
It depends on things like; how long has your site been up? How much traffic actually goes through your site? How many other sites link to yours? Do you already have advertisers in your other publications (magazines, newsletters, etc) Is your site generally open to the public or closed to members or clients only? How much time do you have to guarantee (as much as possible) the continued traffic patterns?
Aside from that, this newsletter is international in nature, so there may be many factors in your home countries that are different from here (Canada).
One of the best solutions to pricing (on any item, service, advertising, etc) is the simplest: Ask a valued client what they would pay for such a service. It stuns me how many people think their relationships with their client's are one way only. For exmaple, the client asks you questions/requests services and then pays you for it. ASK. Tell one or three of your client's that you are thinking of allowing advertising within your site and what they, if they were interested in such a service, would be willing to pay for it.
Most will give you an honest answer, or a slightly low-balled one (After all, they may well be interested in the idea!) Most clients will also appreciate tremendously the fact that you value their advice and/or opinions and not only their cheques!
What else do I need?
Information. A lot of it. To close the sale on any of the well-paying (and more importantly, regular) clients, you will need detailed demographics on who uses your site, which sections are the busiest, what your traffic patterns are like, who else is linking to your site, search engine visibility, your own advertising of your web site, the nature of your site and the products, services or information it offers, your update schedule, major events for the future, and so on.
Naturally, you will probably not need to give *all* of this information to each and every advertiser, since they will individually consider certain types of data more important than others.
You also need to make sure your site is as promoted as it can possibly be. Even after you've done that, do it some more. Get the cross-links with other sites, make sure your current advertising contains your URL. Be active in the newsgroups (in a helpful, contributing way, no spamming!) with your URL in the tagline. Make sure your invoices, faxes, letterhead, etc, have your URL on them prominantly. Keep registering in the other search engines (no, you didn't get tham all the first time around, and you never will, there are more every week )
To shamelessly plug my own firm, InternAlysis specializes in just the above types of information: Competitive Intelligence. If you're considering advertising as a primary or even consistant portion of your income model, it is highly suggested that you hire an outside firm to take a look at your site and it's positioning with the competition. There are many people out there that tend to miss a lot on the competition, simply due to their own bias.
Marc Bissonnette is the president of InternAlysis, a competitive intelligence internet research firm located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Marc is also a very accomplished programmer. Visit his site, www.internalysis.com, or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is reprinted with permission from Michael Wong, the Editor and Webmaster at eboz.com. eBoz!, listed as one of the top 101 best business websites by U.S. Window's magazine, is your guide to creating successful web sites.
Tags: E-commerce and Internet