Web Site and Ezine Sponsorship
"Strategies For Finding Web Site/Ezine Sponsorships
Using Advertising Space Internally"
One of the problems web site owners, developers and ezine publications face is finding
advertising or web site and ezine sponsorships. I have a pretty successful site that has
had scores of inquiries from banner networks. I have declined every proposal so far simply
because they aren't offering what I believe to be the site's real value.
An Overview Of Site Sponsorship
I have been offered anywhere from .06 to .15 all of which are IMHO an insult to my
intelligence and my site. I don't blame the banner networks or advertisers because this is
the going rate caused by a surplus of banner inventory. Basic economics tells me when
supply is greater then demand goods become undervalued. However, what really frosts me is
payment is based on click through.
I won't even go into the no mans land of loss of control of the look of the site or the
creative being displayed. My biggest complaint is that this method of payment doesn't give
any value to the brand awareness that banner impressions create. Recent surveys have
finally proven that this is the case, contrary to what the networks would have you
believe. That is, of course, unless you are a rep selling CT advertising then it seems to
be an advantage!
So what does an enterprising developer do about the situation? Well, you can throw up
your hands and give in to these modern day carpetbaggers or you can use the space in other
ways. I'll now outline ways I've found to use this advertising and sponsorship space for
the time being.
Some are designed to help you get true value from the robberbarons (networks) and some
are designed to create revenues. All of these strategies I have talked to other developers
about, read in articles or discussion lists and verified their advantages and
First off, before you try any of these you better have your media kit ready! This can
take several forms from hard copy, an information page for sponsors including all the
verifiable information you can muster about your users, a rate card or an autoresponder
with all the information just mentioned .
4 Web Site Sponsorship or Advertising
Strategies I've Tried
1. Advertise Other Areas of Your Web Site
This has a couple of advantages that I'll quickly outline here. Using your site logs
you can track what kind of CTR can be achieved on a page. Of course if you are using this
strategy make the creative generic so the person you're giving the information to can
realistically translate it into what your site could possibly do for them. The
"WoD" is actually a trojan horse for my design firm and my banner is at the top
of the pages that will reach this target audience. This strategy has produced more leads
then any other form of advertising I've used!
The other advantage is it will enable you to funnel traffic to income producing areas
on your site. Once again use this information (coming from site logs)to get some figures
for ROI. I have found that some ezines, sites etc. have users that will not purchase. This
is important on sites (like mine) where free information is the reason for being there.
Some site's communities just don't buy!
This is especially useful for email publications. Always contact advertisers to see how
their CTR and ROI was. This enables you to provide a potential sale with what works in
your publication and what kind of ROI to expect. If you can get them to give you a
testimonial all the better.
One last thing don't advertise for advertising in the space that the ad will appear in.
This looks bad and screams "I'M HARD UP GIVE ME A FRACTION OF WHAT THIS SPACE IS
2. Arrange Banner Exchanges With Similar Sites
I have heard this works real well but I found that the time spent looking for suitable
sites and making sure they run the banners is too time consuming to do this on any big
scale. The few times I did do it the inequities in banners shown, where they were placed
and in every case notification of removing the banners quickly soured me on this strategy.
3. Join a Free Banner Network
I know what you're thinking! "T you just called these guys robberbarons and
carpetbaggers!" Free banner networks like Link Exchange generate traffic! Some people
(myself included) believe these programs are possibly counter productive but that's
neither here nor there.
Patrick at HTML Tips has eloquently outlined the disadvantages to these programs at http://htmltips.com/rot.html . Different strokes
for different folks, I'm just trying to outline some alternatives not tell you what you
This is definitely not to say Link Exchange is a bad deal. It's just not one I think
will achieve my goals. I will say though that if I was going to go this route they would
definitely be at the top of the list. Any company with an affiliation with John Audette
(MMG) is a step up in my books!
However, some networks can provide some valuable information to get sponsors for your
site. For instance some banner networks give bonuses for click throughs so you could
provide verifiable CTR's for possible sponsors by converting your bonuses to a CTR.
4. Affiliate, Partner Pay for Sale Programs
Here's 5 reasons why these programs are the best means of sponsorship.
- Total control of look of site and link type(banner or text)
- It Pays better (I make on average over $1/clickthrough!)
- Control of what's appearing on my site (I've heard some horror stories from site owners
participating in networks)
- You can develop content around these programs (some even provide you with the content!)
- Point your community to products you know they NEED not products
that get the space because they are willing to pay for it.
I have been using a combination of 1 and 4. A banner advertisement for my design work
has resulted in ALL the work my firm gets. Nothing spectacular mind you, but much more
lucrative then what I'd get elsewhere. The affiliate programs more than pay my business
internet related costs.
Affiliate/partner programs are the Internet Equivalents of Mom and Pop shops in the
real world and if you haven't gotten on this bandwagon than you don't know what you're
missing. Who knows, most of the Internet giants started in someone's basement.
I've seldom heard a peep of negativity about these programs and when I do it is always
about the same vendor! Amazon.com, who seem to be re-thinking their program and addressing
the problems. It should be noteworthy that an Internet Marketing powerhouse like Amazon
has moved quickly to keep their affiliates happy. Perhaps their sales are more dependent
on these relationships then they would like to admit to the suits on Wall Street!
This is the first of many articles on affiliates and site and ezine sponsorship.
When it is finished there will be two new indexes. The first will be traditional
sponsorship and banner networks and a separate site for Affiliate/Partner programs will be
in place. This will be the resource center for a book that Terry Williams has generously
offered to collaborate on.
So, if this topic is of interest to you, stay tuned and book mark this page.