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How To Make Direct Ad Sales

written by John Chow on August 22, 2007

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Selling your ads directly instead of thought an ad network has both advantages and disadvantages. In the end, the upside generally outweigh the downside. Here are some tips to getting more direct advertising sales for your blog.

Have Enough Traffic Before You Sell

If your blog is brand new, then it maybe best to work on developing traffic instead of developing sales. Ad sales can’t happen if you have no traffic. You can monetize the blog with Google AdSense or any of the other ad networks from the Make Money list. You may also choose not to run any advertising at all. For the first nine months of this blog’s life, there was not a single ad on it.

Put Your Ad Prices In your Advertising Page

Many time when you visit a blog advertising page, they ask you to email them for more information or for a rate card. This is fine if you have a sales staff to help out. However, if you’re a one person operation, it’s best to just spell it all out in your advertising page so the advertisers never have to contact you (unless it’s to make a buy). Dealing with direct advertisers can be time consuming. The less work you have to do, the better. Ideally, you want to automate the ad buying process. Services like OIOpublisher Direct are great for that because it’s free.

Get Rid of Google AdSense

If you are seeing a lot of Google Sitematch ads on your blog, that’s a good indication that it’s time to sell your ads directly. A sitematch ad is a Google AdSense ad targeted directly to a specific site – it only shows up on that site and no others.

Many advertisers will use Google as a back door way to get cheap advertising on a highly prized blog. For example, I was sending tons of “I Love Darren Rowse” ads to Problogger.net using Google Sitematch. My average cost was about $2.50 CPM, which is extremely cheap for a 300×250 spot on Problogger. However, the full $2.50 doesn’t go to Darren. Google needs to take their cut so Darren is left with $1.25 (assuming Google takes 50%).

By removing the Google ads, you stop cheap ass advertisers like me from stealing your ad space. I still have a 468 Google ad running under the first blog post and I see a bunch of Sitematch ads on it. Enjoy it while you can, guys. AdSense will run until the end of this month. Starting in September, Google AdSense will be gone from this blog. If you want to advertise on John Chow dot Com, it’s going to cost you!

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

How much should you sell your ads for? My rule of thumb is to at least double the eCPM rate you’re getting from Google AdSense. If a spot is making you $2.00 per 1000, then sell it for a minimum of $4.00 CPM. It would be stupid to sell it for anything less than double because that is what Google is selling it for (again, assuming 50% cut).

Sometimes it’s better to work on an affiliate deal than a straight ad buy. I could sell a 125×125 button to Text Link Ads for $500 but then I’ll be giving up over $2,000 in TLA affiliate income.

Really Monetize The Blog

If you’re going to monetize your blog, then really monetize it. The people who complain about too much ads on a blog will complain if there is one ad or one hundred ads. They are very vocal and if you listen to them, you wouldn’t be making any money online.

The fact of the matter is people don’t leave a site because of too much advertising and those who claim to leave, don’t. They may not visit as often, but rarely does anyone completely leave a site (most likely they will read it from the full feed RSS). Because of this, don’t be scare to push the envelope when it comes to blog monetization. The key is to monetize as much as possible while still preserving the user experience. Your traffic will tell you when you reach the tipping point.

How I Sold 8 Ad Spots In 1 Day

It was very important for me to have those eight ad button sold for the launch of the new theme. What I did was send out ten emails to past advertisers who purchased a ReviewMe review. I enclosed a screen shot of the new theme showing the ad spots available and asked if they want to be the first to sponsor the new theme. I was hoping for six sales. I ended up with eight.

The lesson to take home from that is, it’s a lot easier to sell to someone who has dealt with you than it is to make a brand new sale. When the time comes for you to go direct, start with the sites that you are currently dealing with and work out from there. You may also want to take note of the Sitematch advertisers so you can contact them after you remove Google. :twisted:

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