Your Online Billboard

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Imagine you had the ability to gather large groups of people together at will. These groups of people are not only large in quantity, but are also focused on and interested in the same topic. Now, imagine you already know what topic these people are interested in before they gather in front of you and you have ample time before they arrive to do just about anything. The entrepreneur in you should be foaming at the mouth at the possibilities!

Well, guess what? You know this mythical ability I just described that allows you to gather large groups of like-minded people who are focused on a particular topic? There are people who really can do this and YOU are one of them! This article will describe how you already maintain the ability to gather these people together and how you can profit from them by providing precisely what they need. Every day, you, and every other business owner with a Web site, gather the target audience I’ve been discussing. If you have designed your Web site and advertising campaigns correctly, you are bringing in visitors that are highly focused on your product or service and have an intent to buy. However, you may not be taking full advantage of the opportunity presented by these visitors. For example, they may be looking for a product you do not offer, they could be in search of a completely different product than yours or they could be open to buying related products in addition to your product. The question is, how do you take advantage of this? The answer is affiliate marketing.

There are a lot of different ways to run affiliate marketing on your Web site. You could run contextual Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, use affiliate banners or place direct advertising on your site. Each of these options has its benefits and pitfalls. This article will take a closer look at each of these options and will show you how to use these techniques to bring in some additional revenue.

For an established business selling a product or service, running PPC ads on your main Web site may not be the best option available to you. PPC ads are relatively easy to set up, but offer less control over what ads will be displayed on your Web site. The ads shown on your Web site will be determined by your Web site’s content. So, if an individual is running a heating and air conditioning company called Joe’s HVAC, for example, the ads displayed will primarily include HVAC-related businesses. This means that ads for Bob’s HVAC down the street may end up being displayed on Joe’s Web site. Obviously, it would not be beneficial for Joe’s HVAC to send clients down the street to the competition every time a person visited his site.

So, when would you run PPC ads on your Web site? If you maintain a separate Web site unrelated to your main product or service, PPC ads may bring in some additional revenue without cannibalizing your sales. For example, if the owner of Joe’s HVAC was also running a blog where he discussed the communities his HVAC business services, this could be a beneficial place to run PPC ads. If the core topic for Joe’s blog was community projects or events, the ads appearing would not be related to his HVAC business and would not cause his sales to be cannibalized.

If you are interested in running PPC advertising on your Web site, there are many options available to you. One of the most widely used PPC services is AdSense by Google. Two other options are programs made by Chitika Inc. and Proximic, Inc.

Running affiliate banners on your Web site will offer you control regarding the advertising that appears on your Web site, and a tactfully placed ad can bring a lot of value to your site. A banner ad does not have to run across the entire top portion of your Web site. These ads can be large or small, and you can place them wherever you like. Businesses that offer to pay for a banner ad on your Web site generally offer a wide variety of sizes and styles of ads to choose from. The downside to using affiliate banners is that you will generally be paid on a Pay Per Action (PPA) system, meaning you will not be paid every time a visitor to your Web site clicks the banner ad. The visitor will need to take some further action once he or she reaches the advertiser’s Web site—this could be anything from making a purchase to signing up for a free newsletter.

So, how do you get started placing affiliate banners on your Web site? The first step is to sign up for an affiliate program as a publisher. ShareASale and Commission Junction are two very popular affiliate programs to consider. Once you are approved as a publisher, you can search for specific businesses or products you think would be mutually beneficial to promote on your Web site. A good fit for our fictional Joe’s HVAC business might be a vocational school. Individuals searching for employment opportunities may end up on the Joe’s HVAC career page. By placing the banner ad for the vocational school on this page, Joe’s HVAC can turn a Web site visitor with no intention of making a purchase into a source of income and a potential future employee.

Another way to bring in revenue from your Web site is to contract directly with businesses that compliment yours. Directly selling advertising space on your site will allow you to receive a steady revenue stream. (You charge a set fee for advertising space on specific pages of your Web site for a specific time period.) However, selling advertising in this manner will take a bit of work before the program is up and running. First, you must determine which pages will display the advertising. You will also need to decide where the ads will appear on the page. Each advertising section on each page could also have a number of rotating advertising slots available. For example, on your careers page you could have ad space available in the upper left portion. You could then sell this space to two separate businesses by rotating the ads every time the careers page is viewed. Ad one is shown on the first page view, ad two is shown on the second page view and ad one shows up again on the third page view. As long as your traffic will justify it, you can sell more than one or two advertising slots.

After you have determined which pages will display advertising, where the ads will appear on the page and how many ads you will have in rotation, you will need to create a reason for advertisers to buy an ad slot. This reason will be twofold: First, you will need to show that the demographic of your site visitors matches the demographic the advertisers are seeking. Second, you must prove you have enough of these visitors to justify the cost to the advertiser. After all, you wouldn’t buy an ad in a print magazine if the distribution only included 30 people, no matter how targeted the magazine was. The same principle applies to the Internet. All of this information can be determined by using tracking software such as Google Analytics on your Web site. Armed with this information, you can now set prices for the various ad slots available. All that remains now is to contact various businesses and present the opportunity to them. Once you find a business you are interested in contacting, you may want to begin by reaching out to their site’s webmaster. The webmaster should have a decent understanding of Internet advertising and the potential benefits.

Every Web site on the Internet is a highly targeted billboard that draws in people seeking information or services regarding a specific topic. While most of your Web site’s visitors will be looking for what you are selling, some of them may be open to additional products and services or might be seeking products or services you do not provide. Using various forms of advertising on your Web site will help you direct those visitors to what they are looking for—the best part is you will be compensated for doing so. The purpose of your Web site is to bring in revenue for your business. By knowing what the visitors to your Web site want and designing your Web site around those needs, you will make the most of your giant electronic billboard in cyberspace.

About Rick Biederer 10 Articles
Rick Biederer is a web business consultant with more than 12 years of experience working with the Internet on web productivity tools, search engine optimization and reputation management. Mr. Biederer also owns and operates FindIllinoisJobs.com, a website that connects job seekers with employment opportunities in Illinois. Follow him on Google Plus

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