View Full Version : Direct ad sales - the professional approach?

12-31-2000, 01:03 AM
I have a website for a very specific health related topic. I intend to try and sell some advertising on my own to a company who would find my visitors a perfect match for one of their products. I want to present a professional image so I am looking for some advice.

I am going to create a rate card & I already have banner rotation software for advertiser stats.

Assuming the company I am going to approach is interested in advertising on my site could anyone point me to a document or some text that I could use as a template for a contract that might be suitable for a standard ROS / sponsorship / CPM deal. I just want something that sounds official.

I recently sold a small amount of advertising on one of my sites and I felt a bit of a fool sending an email which said something along the lines of "I xxxx agree to show a banner ad on my site for one month..."

Also a couple of other quick questions:
- are these contracts generally mailed & signed or is email ok?
- will advertisers generally expect to pay i) 30/60 days after the end of the advertising run ii) 30/60 days after the end of each month iii) upfront?

Thanks very much for the help.
- Simon

12-31-2000, 01:19 AM
whoops i did just what you did http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif

i agreed with a target advertisers for 1 month trial showing their banners through their affiliate program before they decide whether to sponsor my site on a fixed sum monthly basis..

so i would also like to how to handle the contract/payment side of things http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif

*** times like these i wish we were using vbulletin already - so i can get notified of replies to this post http://geekvillage.com/ubb/wink.gif ***

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12-31-2000, 03:14 AM
I had four direct advertisers on my page, http://www.ann.lu/ I didn't have any written contract. In three cases, I billed the advertiser after the end of each month, my latest advertiser paid in advance for two weeks.

I would suggest to get a complete written contract done, since it makes things more official and clears up any confusion. With one advertiser, I agreed via mail to a $3 CPM, they would later deny this and pretend they were thinking 3 CPM would mean 3 cents per thousand. In the end, I was still paid, but only after massive pressure and repeated mention on my pages (which shouldn't normally be done).

So my advice would be:
- do a written contract
- In case of a long term contract, bill them every month. In case of a short term contract, try to get money in advance (if you have a quality website in a niche, they should trust you)

12-31-2000, 09:10 AM
Type up a contract template in Word.
(If it's a big advertiser they might send you a contract to sign and you won't need to make one.)
Anyway, just about everyone has Word and you can e-mail them the contract, they can print it out, sign it, and fax it back.
That's the best way to do it.
Also, it's good to fax them an invoice for payment. This gives them a document to have for tax records.

12-31-2000, 11:56 AM
Some thoughts on selling CPM yourself for you and other thoughts for folks that just want to read this thread.

1) Lets back up a few steps please. You need trafic first. Around 30K impressions per month and you can start. You should be able to document these stats if the advertiser wants to see.

2) Your rate card/advertiser page should have demographics of your visitors. On this site it's obvious, on others it's not. This may require a survey.

3) Your ad serving script should provide "reports" to your advisers 24/7. Total impressions, CTR, banner name etc.

4)The contractual part of the relationship can be handled a number of ways. You will still look like a pro. An email which contains all the details. Followed by an invoice via snail mail/FAX. An "insertion order" which is real short and sweet. I'm not adverse to signing a contract with an advertiser which they draw up. They can do it if they want but it's never occured in almost 2 years. Be carefull on how you portray your site. If it's a one person show then say so and don't try and create the illusion of a large organization. Advertisers love a "hands on" approach to a site by the owner/webmaster.

The campaign starts when I have the check in my hands. Next you need to coordinate furture payments with your advertiser. Some only cut checks a few times per month with an internal check run and others cut checks any time they want. Some pay early and some pay a little late. Be patient and work with them. Collect your funds before you deliver the impressions or within 7-10 days.

5) Strive for long term relationships. You can enhance the relationship by delivering more than what your promised, art directing the banners, discounts for renewals, and quick responces to emails and or phone calls.

HTH and Happy New Year GEEKS http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif

Best Regards,
Your Administrator
FREE Ecards for your site. (http://geekvillage.com/ecards/) Your pages and images = $$$ Tons of features. We host the script. The easy way (http://www.geekvillage.com/cgi-bin/popular/geekvillage_popular.cgi) to learn who links to your site in the major engines.

01-01-2001, 12:18 AM
Thanks for the comments everyone. I would like to do a quick followup.

If anyone has a sample advertising contract which would be suitable for the situation I have described, I would be very grateful if you could send me a copy ( email: sdarken@email.com ).

Steve, could you elaborate on the purpose and contents of an insertion order? I was interested to hear that you will only start an ad campaign when you get paid. Since I am going to approach a big drug company to offer my site for their advertising I dont really expect to be paid up front - especially since I want to gain their trust. I think they will be a fairly good risk.

Thanks again.

01-01-2001, 11:35 AM
I don't wan't to sound harsh. I do want to help as much as I can. Nor do I wish to brag or beat my chest http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif

Do you have items 1-3 in my previous post already in place? Thats the foundation for selling CPM. If you don't, then I respectfully think you shouldn't try and sell adverts yourself. You have nothing to offer an advertiser. Join a network, CJ, or whatever suits your fancy untill the foundation is in place.

Since I am going to approach a big drug company to offer my site for their advertising I dont really expect to be paid up front - especially since I want to gain their trust. I think they will be a fairly good risk.

Norman Vincent Peale's book The Power of Positive Thinking should be required reading for all Webmasters. If your own exspectations are as you state then thats what you will probably get.

On the other hand, your site, you, and your correspondence should speak for themselves and thats what builds trust and respect. Your own expsectations play a major role in your sucess or failure.

Money up front is standard procedure in the brick-and-mortar world to start a campaign. This includes print, radio, and TV. The same holds true for the Web. Companies exspect this. It speaks volumes about "your" confidence and sets a presidence for future transactions.

An insertion order is just what the advertiser completes. It has the same data as an email or even an invoice.

Name, address, contact, impressions purchased, CPM, total costs, who to make the check payable to, where to send it, special terms and or "guarantess" Promotional offers.

Most advertisers just like to send an email about advertising on your site. That's the start of the relationship. Most have already carefully examined your site and watched it.

Best of luck and HTH

Best Regards,
Your Administrator
FREE Ecards for your site. (http://geekvillage.com/ecards/) Your pages and images = $$$ Tons of features. We host the script. The easy way (http://www.geekvillage.com/cgi-bin/popular/geekvillage_popular.cgi) to learn who links to your site in the major engines.

01-01-2001, 09:04 PM
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the additional information. Yes, I already have your first 3 points covered. My traffic is over 30k imp./month (and I can prove this to a potential advertiser), I have ad serving software (with advertiser login & stats) and I have a rate card (but it doesn't have demographic info - I don't believe this is vital given the nature of my visitors).

If you take a look at the site which I have just added to my profile you will see that the site is extremely targetted and would not be particularly well suited for C.J programs or of significant value to general interest advertisers.

I do believe however that it could be very valuable to a few very specific advertisers. One of the drug companies I will target is currently doing a large T.V advertising campaign (for a related product). This indicates that they have money to spend and a strong desire to reach their target market - something I can provide much more cost effectively than t.v advertising.

Anyway, I am a realist and understand that direct selling is a tough business. Over the past year I have worked on a number of other sites and I am tired of trying to eke out a tiny revenue stream through standard (easy) advertising options.

This is a new site for me and a new approach to making money. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), there is not yet a "Dummy's Guide to Selling Website Advertising" so I need to learn from the experts. I would hate to lose a deal just because I wasn't informed enough about the administrative side of the process.

Anyway, back the original question. Based on your answer, am I correct in assuming that the Insertion Order is really the document which constitutes the contract between the webmaster and the advertiser (unless the advertiser produces their own contract)?

Thanks for the info about 'payment in advance'. If this is the case across the advertising industry, I don't understand why companies such as ClearBlueMedia are saying that they are going to delay payment to members because advertisers are not paying until 30 - 60 days after the end of the month. (I don't expect you to answer that question.)

Anyway, if you have any additional pieces of wisdom, I would be delighted to hear them.


01-02-2001, 10:16 AM

What ad serving software are you using? I was looking for one for my site also but the ones that i found didnt fit my needs.

01-02-2001, 10:22 AM
Originally posted by kris:

What ad serving software are you using? I was looking for one for my site also but the ones that i found didnt fit my needs. i am using webadverts http://awsd.com/scripts/webadverts/ and it seems to be holding up with 45,000 impressions/day

if you use php/mysql you might want to try www.dot-banner.com (http://www.dot-banner.com) which i intend to get soon

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01-02-2001, 11:32 AM

Nice site http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif BTW, their is a bug in UBB so you have to use "http://" in your profiles url. Sorry about that.

You should be fine. I'm not a Dr. but I would actively "pursue" every single drug company in the world which Drs prescribe for this illness.

You may have to break through a "barrier" if they have never advertised on the Web but if you can due this it pays off nicely in the long run. Finding the appropriate drug companies tips: see if they buy terms in the pay for click engines and any other sites that run their banners.

Sell the campaign as branding which is exactly what their TV spots due.

My guess is that you will land up dealing with an Advertising Agency which handles advertising for the major drug companys. If this be the case, they ALL exspect to pay up front to start the campaign and let them bring the contract to the table. You might even want to contact these Agencies directly.

Yes, you are correct on what an insertion order is.

Quote a CPM of $60.00 and negotiate from this figue if it's required.

Best of luck http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif

Best Regards,
Your Administrator
FREE Ecards for your site. (http://geekvillage.com/ecards/) Your pages and images = $$$ Tons of features. We host the script. The easy way (http://www.geekvillage.com/cgi-bin/popular/geekvillage_popular.cgi) to learn who links to your site in the major engines.

01-02-2001, 01:38 PM
Great site you've done Doctor sdarken :-)

I am also selling advertising but it's based on trust and have no contract.
I'm selling an exit popup.
Money is sent upfront

01-02-2001, 08:24 PM
Gallery & Steve - Thanks for the kind words about my site. It's always great to get some positve feedback.

Steve, Thanks also for the additional tips. I have been keeping an eye on the pay-per-click search engines and will tackle those guys along the way. It seems to be a great indicator of how much they value the traffic and it shouldn't be necessary to educate them on website advertising if I can locate the appropriate person (which I believe is the next big challenge).

I hadn't considered that I might actually end up dealing with Advertising companies. It will be interesting what, if any, response I will get to my offers.

I will go to sleep dreaming of a $60 CPM. Even at half that I would be getting 100 times the revenue I am currently making on my other sites (30cents/CPM).

I'll post the results of my attempts on this board to let you know how it works out.

Kris- I recently installed webadverts. Someone (perhaps singloon?) suggested it quite recently. The installation was painless and I was able to get it up & running very quickly.

Thanks again for the feedback.
- Simon

01-03-2001, 07:07 AM

Thanks. But Im more impressed with Dot-banner. I think I will go with dot-banner because they claim they can serve up to 2 mil impressions a day. Thanks again for the heads up.

good luck.

01-05-2001, 12:10 AM
yeah i am gonna try dot-banner once my new server is up as well

any other tips for fixed $$$ sponsorships per month ?

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04-20-2001, 09:13 PM
I hope you don't mind me digging up this old thread but I wanted to give a quick update on my efforts to sell advertising myself.

The big drug company I was hoping to lure into advertising on my site never responded to my offers so I began offering advertising to websites who were already doing online advertising targeted to my site's audience on places like goto.com, yahoo.com etc. I found this approach remarkably unsuccessful also.

I finally found that one way to get some communication going with potential advertisers was to offer free advertising - a one week no-obligation banner ad run on my site. Since I was basically making no money with my ad space, a free trial didn't cost me anything. What this approach did was to give me a chance to show how responsive I could be and to build some trust in what I had to offer - I even created animated banner ads for a couple of sites since they didn't already have anything suitable.

Yesterday I finally sold some advertising and received payment (in advance) for a couple of small non-standard sized ads to be placed on specific pages on my site.

The advertiser must have been uncomfortable with the various CPC & CPM arrangements that I offered as they settled for a flat rate. Although this deal will only bring me $100/month I am thrilled to have finally made a sale.

(For anyone that is interested in the numbers, since these ads are only on 2 pages, it looks as though this $100/month will actually give me a $7 CPM rate. Amazingly these ad spots are currently pulling an 8% click-through rate even though well targeted standard sized banners only managed about a 1.5 - 2% clickthrough rate. If you are curious you can see an example of the paid ad half way down the "treatment" page in the site listed in my profile.)

Thanks again to all the people that gave me advice when I originally asked my questions about direct ad sales. Hopefully my next sale will come much quicker.

- Simon

04-21-2001, 05:47 AM
Wooo.... nice :-)

04-21-2001, 09:23 AM

Congratulations for your journey. What is the URL of your website ? Also did you use Steve's suggestion about Goto.com advertisers related to your very specific health related site ?

04-21-2001, 09:32 AM
Fantastic http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif Congrats

Your CTR doesn't surprise me given your great content, placement, focus, and 5 page views per unique.

Some additional tips:

1) Don't be reluctant or "shy" about asking your current advertiser for advertising leads and attribution at the appropriate time.

2) When (not if http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif) they provide attribution about your site, publish this in your rate card.


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04-21-2001, 10:01 PM
bioadv, the URL is about-rosacea.com and yes, as it turned out, my advertiser was also doing some advertising on Goto.Com I tried offering advertising on my site at an introductory per-click rate which was well below the rate they were paying on Goto but we finally agreed on the flat monthly fee instead.

steve, pardon my ignorance but what does "attribution" mean? At a guess I assume that you mean I should ask for feedback that I can use as a "testimonial" on my rate card. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll do that.

- Simon