Marketing with banner ads is gaining in popularity once more. A few years ago, banner advertising was a key method for marketing your business on the internet, but two things happened that caused banners to get a bad name.
Firstly, everyone was using banner ads and websites became over saturated. Colourful flashy banners in all shapes, sizes and locations cropped up on every website you looked at. The pages became so very crowded that website owners stopped placing ads and visitors stopped paying any attention to them.
Secondly, the arrival of Pay-Per-Click meant there was a new kid on the block and in the beginning, PPC was a cheap and easy way to drive traffic to your sites.
However, we have come in a big circle. There are now fewer banners on sites – at least good ones – we still ignore the bad ones. And with search engines being increasingly particular about what you can advertise through the paid search and content networks, pay-per-click has thrown a huge number of businesses and internet marketers out of the game.
Web marketing with banner ads can be a very powerful strategy. The traffic is relatively cheap, you can target specific websites to place your ads on, even using Google Image Ads (so any site that shows Google ads will accept your banner image ads). You can even target your competitors website, since they will be a good match for your own prospects.
Done well, marketing with banner ads is once again a very good way to generate highly targeted visitors and leads.
Still, there are some principles and tactics you should explore if you are going to be successful. Here are my top ten areas to research before you start any banner advertising campaign.
1. What sites to place your ads on
2. Where to place your banner on the page
3. Ideas/software for creating innovative banner ads
4. Designing your size/image/animation banners
5. Effective copywriting captions/text for ads
6. How much should you pay
7. Maximising your click through rates
8. Testing your ad conversions
9. Building brand awareness with banner ads
10. Banner exchanges.
Each of these is an article in itself but there are lots of resources out there already on the specific aspects of marketing with banner ads. What I’ll provide here for you are some guiding principles to get you starting on the right track.
The most your should expect to pay for your banner advertising is $1-$4 for 1000 impressions – that is the cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Build relationships with the site owners, never pay rate card prices, always negotiate during testing and for longer term campaigns. Rate cards are just a guide, shop around and propose a buget – ad managers usually have a 40-50% discounting window.
When you are choosing sites for marketing with banner ads, make sure they have good quality content on there. Some websites are there purely to pull in cash from advertising and won’t convert very well for you. Don’t just go on the rates. Sites that show fixed rates are probably just cash cows.
Make sure also that your ad is not only relevant to the sites’s visitors but that it has a chance of standing out. It must be placed ‘above the fold’ and using a innovative design that either sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb or blends into the main content so looks less like an ad.
There are several ways to create your banner ads. You can create purely text based objects just using HTML one cell table of text. Because this is generally not the norm, this can be quite effective. Or you can use banner making software that offers simple but effective banner design so you can create your own image ads.
The key thing to bear in mind here is that marketing with banner ads is not solely about how good your advertisement looks. It is predominantly about whether it attracts the right people to your business.
So try to identify where your target audience hang out (and if they take ads) and what will attract them relevant to what they are searching on that site for. What problem can you solve that will add value to your prospect.
You need to have congruence between marketing with banner ads and the site your ad takes your visitor to – do you deliver what you promise?
Finally, and this is really important too, try to get into the mind of your prospect – create a profile for them if necessary. It will take you far further than just getting the click.