2006-06-23
Issue #126

Advertising On Your Web Site

Add New Streams of Revenue to Your Business by Advertising for OTHER Companies on Your Web Site!

If you're just getting started on the Internet or simply looking for ways to add new revenue streams to your business you might consider the option of placing ads for other companies' products on your web site.

After all, who wouldn't like to make a few extra bucks? And it's so simple you just put up a couple of ads on your site and wait for the cash to roll in, right?

Um... wrong. At least, that's not the way it usually works.

When you're just starting out, your primary focus needs to be on promoting your OWN business not someone else's. It's far better to build a relationship with your target market and generate interest in your own products than it is to try generating profits with advertising another company's items. Not only that, but you could be opening yourself up to a whole new set of problems...

  • What if your visitors click on the ads and never return to your site?

  • What if you just end up sending business to your competitors?

  • What if your visitors are turned off by your ads because they see them as nothing more than a "cash grab"?

To make your site attractive to companies looking for potential advertisers, you'll need to have a great niche market, tons of traffic, and the promise of good ad placement on your site. Most companies won't even consider placing an ad on your site until you can guarantee that you're receiving a large number of highly targeted visitors on a daily or monthly basis.

However, there are ways for you to make money advertising on your web site, even if you don't have huge amounts of traffic. In fact, one of these strategies might even help drive traffic your way!

One thing, though:

While promoting other companies' products on your site might be a good way to make money advertising on your web site, it's important to remember that not all ads work for all businesses. If you decide to start experimenting with placing ads on your site, there are three things you absolutely HAVE to do:

  1. Test
  2. Test
  3. Test AGAIN!

You want to make sure you're testing the impact of every element of your new ad campaigns to make sure they're having a positive effect on your business.

As you start out, be sure to carefully test the following:

  • different products for different companies
  • different styles of ads
  • different types of ad copy
  • different positioning of ads on your web site

You need to monitor your conversion rates to make sure that they stay as high as possible as you try out your various ad campaigns. That way, you'll discover which Internet advertising techniques REALLY work for you and your business and keep working!

The most important thing when choosing which ads to place on your site is to ensure they are for products your target market is actually INTERESTED in. You'll want to advertise products that complement your own product or service and offer real benefits to your market. Only then can you guarantee that your visitors will be happy to see your ads, instead of being turned off by them.

There are lots of different ways to promote other people's products. The easiest and often the most successful include...

  1. Promoting affiliate products on your web site
  2. Starting a targeted Google AdSense campaign
  3. Approaching companies directly to ask if you can advertise for them
  4. Signing up for a blog-specific ad program

Read on to learn more about IMC'S best Internet advertising strategies!

1. Promote an affiliate product on your web site

Joining another company's affiliate program is one of the simplest ways to get started with Internet advertising. While affiliate links are not technically "ads," they do allow you to make money by promoting someone else's product.

If you're unfamiliar with what an affiliate program is, it's simply a "no-risk" partnership that allows you to promote another company's product or service on your web site to earn a percentage of the sales.

As one of the company's "affiliates" (promotion partners), you earn a commission each time someone you've referred to their web site makes a purchase. You might post a banner on your web site that links to the company's site, or you might publish an article about their products in your newsletter.

No matter how you promote them, though, it's a win-win arrangement for both of you because:

  • The company running the affiliate program gets "no-risk" advertising (in most cases, they don't pay you unless one of your referred visitors makes a purchase)

  • And you, the affiliate, get the opportunity to earn easy extra income without the hassles of production, packaging, shipping, or customer service. Generally, there is no fee to join and you can leave the program whenever you choose.

Not only that, but affiliate programs can be great for driving traffic to your site, depending on the popularity of the product you're promoting. If a lot of people are searching for information on that product and you offer it for sale on your site, then all those searches might help drive your web site to the top of the search results meaning a whole lot of extra traffic for you!

Different affiliate programs offer different payout options. Some might offer only 10% commission for each sale their affiliates help generate, while other pay up to 50% of each sale! You'll want to shop around for the best deal for you AND the best fit for your web site.

To find good affiliate programs, check out the following directories:

And you don't have to stick with just one company's affiliate program you can join a whole bunch of them!

In fact, some Internet advertising pros are actually making all their income from signing on with multiple affiliate programs. They don't even have a product of their own! This is not a strategy for beginners, however, so take some time to check out the different programs before you consider whether or not this could be an option for you.

And remember that to make this work, you have to have a highly-focused niche market and a good site that's loaded with valuable content and gets a large number of visitors.

Now let's check out another program that can help you start generating easy advertising revenues, with very little effort on your part...

2. Use targeted advertising with Google AdSense

Google's AdSense program allows you to make money advertising on your web site by placing targeted text ads generated by Google on your pages.

You've probably seen these Google ads on lots of different web sites... they often appear in rectangular boxes running down the side or across the bottom of a web page with the words "Ads by Google" over the top. These ads are paid for by businesses that use Google's pay-per-click program, AdWords.

Once you sign up with Google AdSense, these ads begin to appear on your site, reflecting the content you post there. So if your site sells a book on how to recognize authentic baseball cards, for example, the ads that appear at your site might sell baseball cards.

As one of Google's AdSense publishers, you earn money every time a visitor to your site clicks on one of the AdWords ads on your site. If you're getting a lot of targeted traffic, and if these visitors are interested in the products being advertised in the Google ads, then that could mean a healthy new source of extra income for you!

There are a number of good reasons to start your Internet advertising campaign with Google AdSense:

  • You can choose where on your web page the ads will appear, leaving you in control of how Google uses your site to advertise.

  • You can choose different ad formats (like skyscrapers and banners) and colors for your Google Ads. This way, you can make sure that the ads fit into the overall design of your web pages.

  • You can track your earnings and figure out how to maximize your AdSense profits by testing the positioning, format, and appearance of the ads. Google provides all the stats you need in one place, which makes it easy for you to test what's working and what's not.

  • You can easily block competitive ads or other ads you don't want on your site. After all, you don't want to accidentally end up advertising your competitors' products!

All this, AND Google AdSense is free to join. It's easy, too all you have to do is complete their simple application process, and your ads will be up and running right away. They do all the work of finding relevant ads for your site, and you just collect the payments!

One thing to be aware of, though Google ads don't work for all kinds of sites. If, say, you run a high-end tailoring business, this type of Internet advertising likely won't suit the type of service you offer or the general design of your web site. So if you add them to your site, be sure to test them! You don't want to lose credibility with your target market it's just not worth it!

3. Approach companies directly to ask if you can advertise for them

If your site is already getting lots of traffic and making a decent number of sales, then another way to find products to promote on your site is to look for sites that target the same niche market as you do and offer products that are complementary (as opposed to competitive!) with your own.

For example, if you own a bridal shop, you could approach a local florist to see if they'd like to advertise their wedding bouquets on your web site. After all, people who are planning weddings are probably also looking for information on where to get their flowers done.

An ad on your site would also be seen as an implicit recommendation of their product, and could send a ton of relieved brides to their web site, ready to buy. And the more successful your ads for them are, the more you can end up charging for those ads.

Or if you sell car detailing services, you could approach a local auto parts store or a local mechanic and ask them if they'd be interested in placing an ad on your site. You already know that your target audience will probably be interested in the products they offer, so it would be easy to show them why an ad on your pages could help boost their sales.

Be sure to contact potential Internet advertising partners in a professional manner to discuss your ideas for a partnership. Call them on the phone instead of just emailing them, so your communication is more personal and more professional.

Be ready to supply them with tons of information about your business and your traffic. The more information you can give them, the more likely they are to consider your offer.

And above all, make sure they have a solid reputation. If you end up partnering with a questionable company, their activities could reflect poorly on YOUR business!

You can also propose a joint-venture relationship, in which you advertise their products on your site in exchange for them doing the same for you. In this situation, they won't pay you for the ads. However, the extra traffic they send your way could end up generating even more revenues!

Just be sure to look for possible joint-venture partners who are getting roughly the same amount of traffic as you are (or maybe even a little more!). If they're TOO big, they probably won't be interested in doing business with you. But if they're not getting any traffic at all, then it probably won't be worth your while to partner up with them.

4. Sign up for a blog-specific ad program

If you already have a blog you should consider signing up to feature blog-specific ads on your site.

The kind of ads you place on your blog really depends on the type of content you write or the products you sell. The key is to consider the kinds of ads that YOUR target audience will find valuable.

For example, if you're a fishing guide, and your blog is all about some of your recent fishing trips the kind of stuff anglers want to read about! then the ads you have on your blog should be for products that your market wants to buy, like rods, reels, and tackle.

Then, because they're all fired up about fishing after reading your great blog, they might be tempted to click on one of your ads and make a purchase!

Here are some great ways to attract advertisers to your blog...

  • Sign up with a context-based ad program like Google AdSense that will automatically generate ads for your web site that you can put up within minutes of being accepted in their program. Crisp Ads offers a similar program, but only for blogs.

  • Place Amazon Associates ads on your site and feature ads for specific products you PERSONALLY use or are happy to endorse. That way, your customers are responding to your recommendation as well as the fact that you've chosen to advertise products that are complementary to your own.

  • Get advertisers interested in your blog with a simple link they can use to contact you for rates and requirements. This link can be a simple message saying, "Click here to find out how to advertise on this blog!" That way, anyone visiting your site is free to discuss advertising opportunities with you.

  • Sign up with an advertiser-publisher connection program like BlogAds or AdBrite, and get listed in their publishers directory. One important note, however: with these types of ads, the advertisers look through listings of THOUSANDS of blogs to choose the "right" people to promote their products. Unless you're getting thousands of visitors a day, they might not be all that interested in doing business with you.

If you don't already have a blog, you should definitely consider starting one. They're one of the hottest traffic-generating strategies on the Web today! And you can set one up in just five minutes with a free hosting site like Blogger or Wordpress.

To learn more about how a blog can help with your business, check out:

www.MarketingTips.com/trafficsecrets

5. How to present ads to your market in ways that maximize their effectiveness

Have you ever clicked on a web site that seems to have more ads than it has actual content of any kind? Sometimes you can't even figure out what the site is supposed to be about!

If you assault your visitors with a dozen ads for totally different products, not only are you going to totally confuse them, you're going to drive them away from your site in droves and once they leave, they'll never be back!

Remember: your site needs to grab your market's attention and make them want to stay! If you want to place ads on your site for items that complement your product, that's fine. Just be sure your ads aren't tacky, or overly distracting, or worst of all that they don't ruin the credibility of your main site sales message.

If you're placing Google AdSense (or other contextual text ads) on your site, you have some control on how they look but not much. They're still quite obviously ads. You can, however, choose colors and sizes and layouts for the ads (banner, skyscraper, etc.) that suit the rest of your site design.

No matter what kind of ads you're placing on your site, make sure they are as discreet and tasteful as possible. Try placing ads in the right or left margins, where they won't compete with your own images or copy.

When you're promoting affiliate products or advertising other companies' products for them directly, you have a lot more freedom to place the ads on your site in creative ways. You can put up something as simple as a link to the other company's sales site, or even something as detailed as a product review.

In fact, product reviews are one of the best possible ways to get your target market interested in the item you're advertising.

Simply post a detailed, helpful analysis of the product and a summary of all its benefits and publish it directly on your web site, or even in your blog or newsletter. Reviews come off as more of a recommendation than an ad, which gives them credibility in your visitors' eyes.

Which brings me to a really important point: if you're going to endorse a product, make sure that the product is something you've actually TRIED. Unless you've used the product and believe in the things you're saying or publishing about it, you could stand to lose some serious credibility in your customers' eyes!

Final thoughts

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to make sure that you have established your OWN business before you consider advertising for other companies on your web site.

It's not a matter of putting up a few ads and grabbing a paycheck it takes a lot of research and testing on an already ESTABLISHED site to make even the best Internet advertising strategies truly pay off. If you don't have a regular flow of visitors to your site, no one is going to be checking out YOUR products, let alone the ads you have for other people's' products!

You may also find that you have a target audience that resists the presence of ads on a web site. If you're putting them off by placing ads on your pages, then you're could end up losing more customers and revenue than you actually gain! To make sure this doesn't happen, remember to always TEST every single aspect of each new ad campaign you run.

Only try one technique at a time that's the ONLY way to effectively track how successful the advertising is for you AND the company whose products you're promoting. Once you can tell how a certain strategy is working, you can make an informed decision on whether or not it truly suits your site, your visitors, and the company you're running the ads for.

But once you do discover the best Internet advertising strategies for YOUR site, then you can try using those methods to promote another product, and then another, and another. And soon all those added revenue streams will combine to swell your profits to record size!

And to learn more about the internet advertising strategies I've talked about in this newsletter, check out:

www.MarketingTips.com/tipsltr.html


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