And now, a site from our
It's not easy being a visionary. In fact,
a lot of people find visionaries downright annoying. I think the reason
they find them so annoying isn't so much that good visionaries are right,
but that bad visionaries can be right, too, and let you know it with an
"I told you so" attitude. I bring this up because I had a real
Visionary Moment this week. I was tapping out a response to someone about
low traffic sites, and the best chances at making money with them. Of
course, the list discussion snowballed into an off-line free-for-all,
the upshot of which was my promise to devote this week's column to several
myths regarding advertising and low traffic sites.
First off, if you know me at all, you
know I don't subscribe to a lot of the fashionable myths about high-traffic
web sites. If you missed my first rant on the myth of high-volume sites
(Web Traffic and Genital Size), might I suggest you dig through the Archives
here at Clickz or at our site to bring you up to speed. Trust me, it's
title is as revealing as the subject matter.
Now, let's get to the visionary stuff.
The way I see it, banners are dead and
sponsorships are happening. I know, it doesn't sound as poetic as most
visionaries would have it, but there you go. I'm going to spend the rest
of this column trying to convince you why 99% of you should dump banner
advertising in favor of sponsorship, especially if you're planning to
crank bucks from your website through advertising.
I've been in the advertising business
longer than Chelsea Clinton's had braces and if there's one thing I know,
it's that all advertisers buy their advertising one of two ways:
1. Volume (high traffic)
2. Quality (targeted people who are ready
In the internet business, Volume with
a capital V is hundreds of thousands of page requests per day. Say it
with me, slowly: HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PAGE REQUESTS PER DAY. Notice
I said "page requests". Not hits. Not accesses. Page requests.
Which means loading GIF's and JPG's doesn't count. Only people looking
at pages count. And you need hundreds of thousands of those every single
Show of hands, please: how many out there
are generating those kinds of numbers? Uh-huh. Well, if you're doing less
than that, I can pretty much assure you that you won't have a real great
shot at selling Option #1 to a prospective advertiser. Not enough eyeballs.
So I recommend Option #2: selling prospective advertisers on a site that
has fewer visitors, but whose visitors are targeted and ready to buy.
In short, selling sponsorships.
The closer you look at it, the more sense
sponsorships make for about 99% of the websites that are out there, for
a number of really good reasons:
1. SPONSORSHIPS GIVE YOUR ADVERTISERS
GREATER PRESENCE. Integrating the entire page around one sponsor instead
of (or in addition to) whatever banners you place makes you look good,
because it makes you advertiser look big. After all, which impresses you
more on TV, a thirty second spot for some motor oil, or sitting through
an hour of TEXACO'S STAR THEATER. It works the same way in a website.
2. SPONSORSHIPS GIVE YOUR ADVERTISERS
MORE CREDIBILITY. A savvy marketer knows that the web consumer is a different
breed of cat. A savvy advertiser will play to that by positioning himself
as someone "committed to the web". Sponsorship goes a LONG way
in communicating that to consumers, which in turn, cultivates loyalty.
3. SPONSORSHIPS ARE LONG TERM REVENUE
FOR YOU. For sponsorships to work, you have to abandon the old how-many-clicks-did-we-get-this-hour
mentality for a more reasonable, long-term market-development strategy.
This means the sponsor has to commit to a longer term plan, which means
you're generating revenue on a more stable basis. This, in and of itself,
is not a bad thing.
4. SPONSORSHIPS ARE A CLASS LOOK. Positioning-wise,
you can't beat sponsorships for class. Giving a whole, nicely-designed
page over to a sponsor blesses him with the grace that a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am
blinking banner just can't pull off. When a sponsor takes over a whole
page, his message is less rushed. When his message is less rushed, it's
often better read, which means people give it more time and attention.
5. TARGETED SPONSORSHIPS PRODUCE BETTER
LEADS FOR LESS MONEY. If you can build the content to attract the kind
of people your sponsor needs, you'll be able to show cost per lead to
be lower and quality per lead to be higher. Advertisers will have no trouble
paying for that.
6. SPONSORS WILL ACTUALLY HELP YOU DO
THE WORK. As opposed to random hit sites, a sponsor who knows you're targeting
just for him will actually help you with content development. You can
get articles, data, graphics -- you name it, they'll supply you with it
because it's completely in their interest to do so. I mean, why wouldn't
they? Sheesh -- how much easier does it get?
7. THE SALE GOES ON LONG AFTER THE BANNER
HAS GONE. Sponsorships are multi-dimensional deals. Because you're devoting
more time and space, you can get involved in more programs -- and a deeper
relationship -- with your advertisers. You can create added value programs
for your sponsors, too. Stuff that involves mentions of your site for
an extra value, which proves the effectiveness of your site.
8. ELIMINATION OF BANNER BOUNCE: The one
thing that really puts off advertisers is not knowing where their ads
are running at any given moment. And "rotating banners", which
internet folks just love to tout, run totally counter to this notion.
For just this reason, whenever we schedule a client to run outdoor boards,
we always make it a point to post one billboard right outside the client's
office, just so he can see it out his window. Advertisers like to know
they can click on a site and see their stuff. It makes them feel warm,
and in a sense, they're right. Because if they feel warm about knowing
where to go to see their stuff, it makes it easier for them to believe
their prospects will, too.
9. YOU CAN'T GENERATE THE NUMBERS ANYWAY.
So what choices are you really left with?
The fact is that advertisers are out there.
And they are looking for opportunities. But banners ain't gonna do it
for you. The Amazing Frankelini predicts the next few years will see an
increase in the number of sponsored sites. You mark my words.
Gee. I wonder how I'd look in a turban?