Today I want to share a strategy I have used to find more advertising vendors for my niche websites that has worked very well for me over the past few years.
Few weeks back I wrote about hiring a full time Virtual Assistant (VA) to outsource routine tasks of your business. One of the challenges you will be faced with a full time resource is keeping them busy.
As a Manager, you have to effectively prioritize, train, delegate, monitor and follow up on your full time resource. This is all assuming that you have enough work to begin with. But what if you don’t?
Each one of us will run out of specific tasks to delegate to a full time resource at some point. This is inevitable. One way to make use of your resource’s down time however is to outline a set of “default” tasks that can be executed in pockets of availability.
For example, when faced with down time, you can instruct your resource to work on building back links for your website or blog, or commenting on other relevant blogs and forums and leaving a back link to yours.
One such default task I have specified on one of my VA’s “to do” list is to constantly research and solicit potential vendors for more advertising on my various websites. I have provided her with a spreadsheet with all my website URLs as well as a brief synopsis of each website, accompanied by a set of 3 to 5 keywords.
It is her responsibility to learn each website and its offering, and solicit companies to get more advertising deals. This is precisely how I leverage my VA to get advertisers for my niche content websites. More on the specifics below.
The definition of an entrepreneur in its truest form is one who moves resources from one area to another to gain an advantage, or something like that.
Even if you don’t have a full time VA, you can still benefit from this strategy. You can hire one just for this cause alone. In fact, it is much more economical to do it this way because you are not obligated to pay a full time salary.
You can either pay by task or by the hour. I have realized that most “employees” have the hourly mentality. They equate each hour of their time to a certain wage and want to get paid for that time. Because of that mentality, they and the majority of this world will remain employees forever. But that’s besides the point of this article.
Consider this example. If you hire a VA for $10 an hour in wages, and your VA is able to send out 10 solicitations, you are touching base with potential targeted advertisers for $1 each. Even if they don’t bite today, they might in the future. At least you are planting seeds so they know who to come to when business calls for it.
Would you pay $1 for each potential advertiser? Who wouldn’t? 6 minutes is plenty to spend on soliciting one vendor (60 minutes or 1 hour for 10 vendors) to get more advertising down the road.
If you read my post on how much to charge for advertisements on your blog or website, you know how easy it can be to generate $10 a month or $120 a year in advertising revenue on a residual basis all from just one small ad on just one webpage on your website.
This is not one time income. I am talking about passive, residual income. The arbitrage just works out. This is a no brainer.
I will outline a consolidated version of the instructions I have provided my VA in a few simple steps:
Step 1: Identify the keyword to be targeted
In the spreadsheet discussed above, there are a set of keywords that I have provided my VA. These keywords are ones which I target on my website from a search engine optimization perspective.
The assumption is that by finding other vendors / websites who are also targeting those keywords, they are likely going to be interested in the profile of my website visitors since they are essentially looking for the same thing.
You can really specify any set of keywords you want depending on the type of advertiser you are seeking.
Step 2: Go on Google and type in the targeted keyword
Keywords must be typed in “brackets”. Skip to the third page of results (results 21 and beyond) and start gathering contact information for those websites. Work your way down the list, moving to page 4, 5 and onward.
I have learned from experience that websites that are typically ranked higher in search engine indexes (the 20 or so websites on the first 2 pages of search results) are relatively well established and are already getting a good amount of traffic and therefore need less advertisement.
Those further down the list are likely to be more interested in advertising opportunities, especially bargain deals.
Step 3: Observe the sponsored links and go after those vendors
Vendors who appear on Sponsored links should actually be contacted first. These are vendors who are already paying for advertisement so you know they are willing and able to shell the dollars. Your goal now is to lure them away from Google Adsense and bring them to you.
To get an idea for how much these guys are paying Google for advertisement, and what you can expect to make from them, read my post on how much to charge for advertisements on your website or blog.
Here is what sponsored links look like. These vendors are given preferential position on search results because they are paying for it through Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
Step 5: Negotiate and execute the agreement.
Direct all vendors who have agreed to an advertising contract to AdBrite. AdBrite is an Ad Management system that automates the entire payment tracking, collection, renewal and ad removal process.
Vendors that find my websites on their own are often directed to an “Advertise” section on my website where they can interact directly with the AdBrite platform. This eliminates the need for me or a VA to intervene and thus automating the entire process. My VA helps me solicit those that don’t know about my websites’ existence (new meat).
I highly recommend implementing AdBrite, especially as you get into more advertising deals. It doesn’t cost anything to implement, and you pay a small fee on payments processed on the back-end. I love their technology and what they have been able to do for me over the years.
Consider this. Even you if you receive no advertising interest from vendors initially, remember that your VA has reached out to them to introduce who you are and what you can do for them. When they are ready to advertise, they will come running back to you.
Spreading this awareness is just like planting seeds. Once the seeds have been planted, the plant can grow at any time. You never know when the vendor comes back to you for their advertisement needs. This works for you long after your VA has already done their job and moved on with their life. Like I said, this strategy is a no brainer.
Step 6: Rinse and repeat
Here is a sample ad solicitation email. My VA maintains a copy of this. All she has to do is plug in the name of the contact person and revise some minor details.
“Hello (INSERT CONTACT HERE OR LEAVE IT TO HELLO)
I found your website while searching for the keyword(s) (INSERT KEYWORD(S) HERE).
I am the author of (INSERT WEBSITE/BLOG NAME HERE – MAKE IT A HYPERLINK TO THE HOMEPAGE) and would like to extend an offer to you to advertise on my website / blog.
(INSERT SITE/BLOG NAME) is currently visited by (INSERT #) unique visitors daily from the following continents: (INSERT CONTINENTS FROM YOUR ANALYTICS SOFTWARE).
The website experiences (INSERT #) page views per month and is currently ranked (INPUT ALEXA SCORE) of all websites online.
By advertising on my website / blog, you will instantly get exposure to (INSERT # ANNUAL VISITORS) new eyes each year. I would be glad to discuss your goals in depth and discuss ways that I can help you meet your business objectives.
I am currently offering an early bird discount and I hope you will take advantage of it.
(INSERT NAME OF WEBSITE OR BLOG AUTHOR – since many of my niche sites contain various pen names)
(INSERT WEBSITE URL)”
When entering the subject of the email, instruct your VA to enter the following: “RE: (INSERT KEYWORD)”. So if the keyword under research is “Iron Golf Clubs”, the subject of the email would be: RE: Iron Golf Clubs.
As you can imagine, the process is relatively easy and streamlined, and one that doesn’t take long at all to execute (6 minutes per vendor remember?). As basic as the email above is, it receives a lot of attention and response. You can tweak it anyway you want to fit your industry’s norms.
This strategy is just one example of how I reinvest my online earnings back into my business rather than cashing out. Why would I cash out and pay an effective tax rate near 50% when I can spend all 100% of it on growing my business?
Investing in my business today will pay off in multiples down the road. At the same time, I will benefit from tax savings in the short term and maximize the chances of a higher payout in earnings on the back-end.
One day, some day, when you decide to pull the plug on spending on your business, the residual income from more advertising deals would hopefully have grown exponentially. Remember, the money you invest today in business related expenses also becomes extra profit later when you stop spending.
Are you advertising on your website? How are you finding, negotiating and booking ads? What do you think of the method above to get more advertising? Are there any other tips you can add from your experience?
Read my thoughts on how to determine pricing as you get into more advertising deals.Previous: Do You Know What the Best Rewards Credit Card is For You?