October 26, 2011, 5:20 am

How To Generate $5,000 in Private Ads in Less Than an Hour a Week

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Make Money Online
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geyserSo here we go again for the 3rd post of this series on how to create a media kit and sell to advertisers.

 

The first part was about knowing your site

The second part is about building your media kit

This part is about making money without working your ass off!

 

Who told you that you need to work to make money? Not me ;-). But if you don’t want to work, you had better be smart! If you look at my blog income reports, I’ve made $44,606.34 in 9 months this year for an average of $4,956.26 per month from private advertising (trust me, this average is going up with September’s income report that will be published next week!). So I’m making a little bit more than half of my online income from private advertising while not working more than 10 hours per week on my company. Therefore, I can’t spend much time on dealing with advertisers and following-up with ad renewals (I need to spend some time to write during these 10 hours, right?).

 

Since managing our advertisers is a very “personal” part of our business (we are talking about giving access to our paypal and company bank accounts), I want to keep control of it. I know that some of you might be exhausted just at the thought of the time required to manage your ads.  This is why I want to share my deepest secrets on how to manage so many ads in so little time ;-).

 

#1 Create Templates!

The first thing you need to do to save time is to build templates. The first one you need is to “answer email”. Each time I get an advertiser request, I copy/paste the very same answer:

“Hello NAME,

 

Thank you for your interest in advertising with us. We currently manage several high quality financial websites. Please find enclosed our media kit along with our rate sheet.

 

We can do special deals if you take more than 3 links.

Best regards,”

 

It’s quick, simple and it goes directly to the point. Once you have a great media kit built, you don’t need to say much. You need to “automate” your answer so you can save as much time as possible while keeping your potential advertisers interested.

 

The second template you need is an advertiser manager Excel spreadsheet. I have 2 templates per site:

 

Template #1

Advertiser TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecTotalPercentage
Google Adsense$0#DIV/0!
Azoogle Ads$0#DIV/0!
Amazon$0#DIV/0!
QuestTrade$0#DIV/0!
Commission Junction$0#DIV/0!
Mint (in article)$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #1$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #2$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #3$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #4$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #5$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #6$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #7$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #8$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #9$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #10$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #11$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #12$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #13$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #14$0#DIV/0!
Private Link #15$0#DIV/0!
Ad Block$0#DIV/0!
Banner 125X125 #1$0#DIV/0!
Banner 125X125 #2$0#DIV/0!
Banner 125X125 #3$0#DIV/0!
Banner 125X125 #4$0#DIV/0!
Banner 125X125 #5$0#DIV/0!
Dedicated Page#1$0#DIV/0!
Rate Widget$0#DIV/0!
Adbean Widet$0#DIV/0!
Total$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0#DIV/0!
Martin
Craig
Net Profit$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0

The first template tells me how much I make each month for each ad. I can track all my sources of income and know exactly which one is going up or down and which one is the most important. This has 3 major advantages:

a)      I know where my money comes from and how I can optimize each site.

b)      This is high value information if you ever want to sell your site!

c)       I know how many private ads I’ve sold so far (I tend to limit my sites to a specific numbers of ads).

 

Template #2

SlotCodePriceFreqExp DateContactPaypalCombo
Friends of The Dividend Guy
Private Link #1
Private Link #2
Private Link #3
Private Link #4
Private Link #5
Private Link #6
Private Link #7
Private Link #8
Private Link #9
Private Link #10
Private Link #11
Private Link #12
Private Link #13
Private Link #14
Private Link #15
Investment links
Ad block
The Dividend Guy Sponsors
125X125 #1
125X125 #2
125X125 #3
125X125 #4
125X125 #5
Widgets
National Average Mortgage Rates
Adbean

My second template is used to follow-up on each ad. Once a month, I check out this sheet for each site and I know which ads are up for renewal for the month. This tells me how much the advertiser is paying me, what is the code used and also to know if I offered a package deal with other sites (the combo section). This helps me to requests more ads from the same client upon renewal.

 

This leads me to my 3rd template: my renewal follow-up email:

 

“Hey NAME,

 

There were two ads to renew on DATE on SITE.

 

Here are the two links:

Link 1:
Anchor:

URL: 

Link 2:
Anchor:

URL:

 

We would renew for the same terms and price, which is PRICE each link for a 6 month period.

 

Please let me know your intention as soon as possible.

 

We also have the following sites you might be interested in advertising on:

SITE

SITE

 

Thank you and hope you have a great day!”

 

As you can see, upon each renewal, I’m plugging 2-3 of my sites and offer a package deal. Most advertisers want to renew at a lower rate (since they have been good clients). I don’t do that unless they get more links from our network. It usually works pretty well and I’m able to fill the space of less occupied websites.

#2 Follow-up once a month

As just mentioned, I’m follow up on my renewals only once a month. This means that I’ll have to email some people 30 days in advance and others at the very last minute. I’m okay to let an ad expire on my site and contact the advertiser a few days after rather than exclusively prior to expiring. I do that in the name of efficiency.

 

If I have an “unpaid” ad on my site for a few days or even a week, it is still better than checking my ad manager weekly and spending 30 minutes to 1 hour per week to send email and check out my stats. I now spend about 1 hour per month sending all my email and I take off the expired links at that time. It usually pays off as some advertisers are real slackers ;-). It gives them the time to answer me back and they are happy since their link was still on. If they renew, I start the expiry date as the renewal date so they don’t get a free ride. If they don’t renew, well, they got at max 3 weeks of free links. It’s not a big issue for me but I save a lot of time managing it this way!

#3 Do them in bulk

This is one thing Adam Smith learned during the industrial age: doing the same specific task over and over again makes you way more productive. This is why I do all my ad follow-ups and ad requests in bulk. I can open my template, copy/paste and send them in one shot. I am way more efficient than if I send an email here and there.

#4 Label everything

I use several gmail accounts for my sites. Each of them has a specific utility. But I label everything. Therefore, it makes my life much easier when it’s time to manage any requests. It also helps me keeping my inbox clean as everything is filed if I need it. A clean inbox is a clear brain. It’s easier to think when you don’t have 56 emails in your mailbox!

Anything else you want to know?

This last part of this series was obviously more directed toward running one or more blogs than a regular business. However, you can use the template tip for anything that includes an email answer or reporting issues. I’m continuing this series with more hindsight specific to my online company in my newsletter (this is not a trick to get you signed up, it’s only that I don’t want to bore people that are not too much into building an online empire 😉 ). So if you have any questions, please let me know. So far, here’s what I want to cover in my newsletter:

–          How to manage Pricing

–          I’m giving a media kit and template for free

–          How you can make more money with multiple blogs with limited time

Anything else? I’m all ears!

 

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Comments

TFB, Excellent lesson on managing advertisers. I took a few mental notes and will be making some tweaks to my templates (I use them too!).

Couple questions:

1 – Do you do anything other than send a canned respone to advertisers that contact you? In other words, do you have any outbound tactics to find new advertisers?

2- I get a ton of emails for advertisers looking to run sponsored posts, but none looking for ad blocks (even though I offer that in my templates). I don’t like to run sponsored posts frequently (if at all) but I do want to beef up my ad blocks. Any suggestions on finding these opportunities?

Thanks!

@Car Negotiation Coach,

in fact, I receive probably 1 or 2 emails for links per day so I don’t have to go for advertisers yet. my site inventory is almost full all the time (this is when I increase my price and watch them drop as I make more money ;-D )

I sometimes do a personal answer when the guy seem serious and wants more than 3 links (I got deals for all my network more than once).

For those who want to run sponsored post, I tell them no but offer them an in content link on a previously publish article for $100 flat rate.

I try to move all my advertiser to ad blocks and if they don’t want it, I just ignore them 😉

Now that’s what I was waiting for. Great series, I looked towards the next episode since the first.

Thanks for your help.

Question: Do you solicit advertisers much or do you let them come to you?

Thx Alex!

I’ve never send a single email to an advertiser!

In a few days, I’ll be sending a specific article on how to price and negotiate your links to my newsletter subscribers. This will be another 2,000 words email worth of stuff ;-D

Great article, and to Car Negotiation Coach, I’ve tried to contact some advertisers, but the success rate is so low it wasn’t worth the time or effort. Most companies don’t do their own advertising, so it’s really hard to find the others who might be interested.

Thank for this article! I will be ready to monetize my site in about 2 months so I’ve booked this post for later.

Great information. I’m not sure if you know of this, but have you found that there are certain areas that advertisers find you? (i.e. carnivals, networks, etc.)

by: The Financial Blogger | October 26th, 2011 (6:16 pm)

@ 20’s Finances,

I’ve always relied on the good old emails 😉 I’ve never been contacted by another way (like carnivals or networks… not even the Yakezie for the record 😉 ).

good series Mike – keep it going…

i can see how a well optimized and marketed network of financial blogs/sites can bring in advertising queries. there seem to be a ton of advertising dollars in this niche floating in space. i have experienced that my financial niche sites attract more advertising than any other. unfortunately at this point i only have three of them.

I think what a couple folks are getting at is how are you getting the queries/where are advertisers finding you before they contact you via email?

another question, have you remonetized the same advertisers repeatedly or are you constantly getting in influx of new advertisers? what would you say the ratio of old (renews) to new is?

i think i speak for for many in that acquiring that first set of 5 to 10 advertisers is the toughest part of the process. any information you can provide on how to best position oneself for that acquisition will be extremely valuable.

Great series! Keep it up!

We’re just getting the “odd” email regarding advertising, and we were wondering if we should promote ourselves or just wait until we get noticed. We’re still waiting for a PR update, all of the other ranking tools has us ranked fairly high, just not the important one I guess.

Any advice to when a website hits that “critical mass” where it starts to snowball and get offers all the time?

[…] 2. How To Generate $5,000 in Private Ads in Less Than an Hour a Week @ The Financial Blogger. […]

[…] 10. How To Generate $5,000 in Private Ads in Less Than an Hour a Week @ TFB. […]

@Sunil,
I guess they find me through search engines 😉 For all my blogs, I do a careful reserach for keywords and try to optimize a few of them. The key is to have several niche financial sites instead of talking about “personal finance” in general. This is how it’s easier to reach the first page (but I gues you know that already 😉 ). Regardless from which website they found me, I can now offer several websites to the same advertiser.

I keep my “best advertisers” and get new one all the time. However, I also send emails to my existing or previous advertisers when I have another opportunity for them. It’s a great way to “remonetized” as you mentioned.

I think you need to position your blog first before anything else. Most people start by buying a domain name, setting wordpress and adding a cool design. It’s worthless if you don’t have your USP.

@JB,
wait until you have a good PR before selling links (there is a whole part about that in my next newsletter that should be sent next week).

I’d say that you will get very busy with advertiser once you reach 10,000 visits per month. Before that, you will get a few request per month and it is up to you at this time to get the most of them each time you have an opportunity.

good luck!

[…] […]

[…] Financial Blogger presents How To Generate $5,000 in Private Ads in Less Than an Hour a Week posted at The Financial Blogger, saying, “Balancing your online […]

Great tips, Mike! I need to update my templates for the new year.

I just read over this again and I think it’s a great way to save time! I’ll be going back to spreadsheets cause GNUCash just took way too much time to do all of the data entry.