How to Sell Online Advertising

A photo of two computer screens with Cyber Monday advertisements on them.
Online advertising has come a long way since simple banner ads, and you can make selling online advertising a career.. Photo © Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News

Selling online advertising is a key way of making money with a media website. When you're selling online advertisements, make sure to point out how they offer all the key benefits of other forms of media to get a potential client to sign the deal.

Online Advertisements Can Be the Fastest and Cheapest Way to Reach Customers

Sell the client on the fact that online advertisements can be created, posted and revised quickly and at low cost.

You can launch a simple banner ad campaign using a variety of sizes before a newspaper advertising designer can get a spec ad to the client for approval. Radio advertisements or TV commercials can take even longer to release.

That time can cost a client money if his merchandise isn't moving. Use that fact to sell a business owner who may be used to older forms of media on why online advertising is the best solution. He could lock in advertising space on your site, then alter his campaign throughout the year by simply changing the banners that would send people to his site.

A clothing store could make small changes to indicate spring, summer, fall and winter fashions just by having you change the background of the banners. The timing and styling could be written into the sales contract, which gives you the benefit of knowing you've sold the client for an entire year and not just a weekend event.

Online Advertisements Offer Flexibility

If that potential client considers other forms of media to be a safer and more trusted way to advertise, counter that thinking by reminding him that print and on-air media don't give him all the advantages of advertising with one ad buy.

Print ads let him include as much content as he wants, plus add coupons, while radio or tv advertising allows the addition of audio and video to present to customers.

Online advertising does it all.

This flexibility can create a challenge for you. Consider the various ways a client pays for online advertisements. Steer him away from only paying for banner click-throughs that result in a purchase, or click-through rates, period. You will benefit the most by charging a client based on page views, because customers are still exposed to an ad regardless of whether they choose to click it.

Another aspect of the flexibility of online advertisements is the ability to offer pop-up ads, pop-unders and walk-out videos to a client. Discuss the pros and cons of these ad methods. It's good ethical practice for you to make sure he understands that some advertising can be so annoying that it costs him sales.

Online Advertisements Can Bring You Website Design Business

When selling online advertisements, you've probably encountered a potential client who doesn't want to buy a banner ad campaign because he doesn't have a website or has a basic site that he can't afford to improve.

That's when you can modify your pitch to sell not only an ad campaign, but website design as well.

Chances are, you have space on your server or through your own hosting company to add a small site for a client. You can create a simple website that gives him an online presence, and give you a place to send customers who click on the banner ads you've just sold him.

Going this extra mile needs to have a benefit to you. Make sure the client understands the work involved in launching a site and will return the favor by signing a long-term contract with you. You may want to ask him for exclusivity, so that he doesn't turn around and buy ad space from an online competitor.

One option is for him to allow you to sell advertising on the site you created for him. That gives you a new revenue stream, and if he decides to buy radio ads promoting his website, you benefit by having higher stats to sell to your own sales clients. This arrangement can get complicated quickly, so make sure you agree on all the details first, and not just rush to promise him a site just to get him to buy some banner ads.

Online advertisements present an unlimited amount of opportunities for you to sell to business owners. Do your homework and check every detail of the deal so that you don't make infinite promises when you only have a finite time to produce a campaign.

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