10 Tips to Sell More Blog Ads
Selling banner ads is a popular way for bloggers to monetise their sites and a great way to ensure regular income for minimal effort, but few bloggers can just pop an ‘advertise here’ notice up and be met with a flood of interest from brands. Particularly when you’re still carving out your place in the blogosphere, expect to hustle to get noticed by brands and start selling those ad slots.
Here are our top 10 tips to sell more blog adverts…
1. Create an Advertising page
Make it obvious to brands that you offer advertising by linking to a page with all the information they need. Include the options you offer, such as banner ads, include your contact information, and give them a reason (or ideally, lots of reasons) to want to take out an ad with you.
Incorporating your media kit into this page is an easy way to do this, telling brands not only how much traffic your site gets but also the types of people who visit. If you’re trying to attract ads from makeup brands and your audience is 85% female, state this. You can grab this kind of information for free from the Audience tab in your Google Analytics account.
2. Offer different price options
Every brand that approaches you is going to have a different advertising budget, so it doesn’t make sense to offer them all the same thing. Offer a range of banner options at varying price points – for example, can you make some ads smaller than others, or further down the page?
3. Review your pricing
Speaking of prices, if you’re trying the other tips on this list and still not selling many, or any, ad slots then it could just be that you’re overcharging for what you can offer. Can you speak to bloggers in your niche with similar stats to find out what they’re charging? Drop your prices until you start selling a few ads, and increase them again when you’re selling out of all the available slots.
4. Offer perks for buying in bulk
One of the easiest and most effective ways to encourage a brand to spend more with you, is to incentivise them to do so! If there’s no discount for a longer-term purchase, why would they not just buy a one-month slot to ‘see how it goes’? Make it worth their while spending more money with you upfront by offering them a discount or a freebie (such as a sponsored post) when they pay for a certain number of months in one go.
5. Work with brands to keep them happy
Blog ads are fairly low-maintenance, but that’s not to say you should just pop them up and then forget about them until they expire. If the ad isn’t performing well and the brand is unhappy, you don’t want to only find out when their time is up and they’ve already made their mind up not to renew.
Check in with your advertisers every now and then to ask how things are going. If they’re not seeing the results they’d hoped for, is there anything you can do to change that? For example, maybe you can give them a few shout-outs on social media (remember that disclosure rules apply whilst you have an ongoing financial relationship with the brand), or if you know your sponsored posts get a lot of engagement perhaps you could agree to pull their ad and do a blog post instead.
6. Don’t have lots of empty banner slots
Having lots of unfilled ad spaces can actually work against you – if a brand comes along and sees that you’re struggling to sell your ad slots, they may wonder why. Is your blog really worth the money if other brands don’t seem to think so?
Having one ‘advertise here’ image in place of a banner is fine to make it clear that display ads are available (especially if you currently have none), but avoid a long column of them in your sidebar or having unfilled slots plastered all over your site. Instead, why not use an affiliate banner so that the space looks filled and you still stand to make a little money from it? Or, exchange ads with fellow bloggers in your niche which may send some new readers your way.
7. Hand out (a few!) freebies
We’re not saying you should be handing out freebies left, right and centre, that’s the opposite of making money. But if you’re sure brands would benefit from an ad on your site and are really struggling to convince them, why not offer a free trial? Offer them a free slot for a week or a month so that they can see the results and hopefully be persuaded that it’s worth paying to continue. This is another potential way to fill those empty slots so your blog looks like it’s getting plenty of advertiser interest.
You may want to try this approach with brands that you’ve seen are advertising on other blogs, since you know blog ads are something they’re interested in and have budget set aside for.
8. Approach brands yourself
Whether you’re offering them a freebie or not, don’t be afraid of pitching yourself to advertisers. Unless you’re Zoella, some brands in your niche won’t have heard of you, so be proactive and introduce yourself. Send them your media kit and tell them why a banner ad on your site could benefit them.
Maybe they’ll say no, but at least you’ll be on their radar when they’re setting the next quarter’s advertising budget and discussing where to spend it.
9. Keep a record of contact details
Remember to note down the details of any and all brands that you work with, not just ones you’ve sold a banner ad to but those you’ve collaborated on anything from sponsored content to product reviews. You know these brands are interested in working with you, so they’re a good place to start when it comes to approaching brands.
Why not run an advertising sale or special offer, and contact all of these brands to find out if they’d be interested?
10. Join a blog ad network
Finally, there are also many sites out there that you can join who will sell your ad slots for you. These take a lot of the legwork out of finding advertisers and some will even automatically install the banner for you and remove it at the correct time.
However, they will of course take a cut of the money, may not pay out your earnings until you meet a minimum threshold amount and may require a certain number of pageviews before they accept you onto their programme.
They also handle the communication with the brand, which will cut down on hassle but means you won’t have the chance to develop a great, personal relationship with the brand yourself – something that’s helpful if you want to work with them on other things in the future. Do-it-yourself blog ad selling is more work, but we think the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Do you find it easy or difficult to sell ad space on your blog? Do you prefer going through ad networks or selling directly to brands yourself? Leave us a comment and let us know!