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Probably best approach is to forget about a 3 or 4 month moving average, and generate an average this month for all earlier months. Whatever your results, you can not afford to advertise until you have a tested ad and feel confident from value of a hit ad will produce profits. For a new site, unless you already know advertising game, this may mean waiting a year or more before even giving advertising a try.
Getting Started With Advertising
Most find advertising in ezines to be most effective approach on Web. The trick is to find ezines directed at your target. Then test your response to an ad in least expensive way. Given a poor or inadequate response, try another ezine. But given a good response, go for it. In theory, advertising that works can bring unlimited profits.
Ezine advertizing costs are often stated with a single price. To make your numbers work, convert this price to CPM. This also makes it easier to compare costs from ezine to ezine. For example, if circulation of an ezine is 4000 and cost of ad is $20, you are paying $5 CPM.
I've haven't heard any recent reports of good success with banner advertising using CPM model. Some are reporting success with pay-per-click model, which means you pay only for clickthroughs to your site. This is essentially same model used with pay-per-click search engines such as one at GoTo.Com. There are no tough decisions here. If value of a hit to you is greater than what you must pay for a click to your site, go for it. If it's not, ignore these avenues until it is.
With an established site, several search engines, such as Google, offer some interesting possibilities I have not tested. Pricy, though, for new or small sites.
To submit a listing to Yahoo requires payment of $199. Regardless of value of a hit to you, submit as soon as your site is sufficiently polished. Consider it a one time advertising cost, and don't look back. Yahoo may deliver as much as a third of search engine related traffic.
LookSmart is not such a sure thing. Also $199, they're asking too much, in my opinion. But I still recommend paying fee. Again, it's a one time cost. Over time, a listing will pay for itself, and may ultimately do so many times over.
SNAP is another matter. They also ask for $199 for a listing in their "Top Sites" directory. I don't think it's worth it. And I have not heard others recommend it. But it is an option. Submit for free to their "Live Directory," then walk away.
DMOZ is a must. Submitting a listing is free. And if you find a second category into which your site fits well, a second submission about a month later works well.
So When Should An Advertising Campaign Be Launched?
As soon as value of a hit and a tested ad will produce profits. Until this point is reached, advertising is a waste of money.
For a new or sluggish site, way to go is to keep working at boosting your CR (Conversion Ratio). That is, continuously examine all elements in all paths leading to sales, in search of improvements that bring a higher CR. By increasing your CR, you increase value of a hit. Ignore all thoughts of advertising until your CR is sufficient to produce a hit value high enough to cover costs of placing ads.
But once this happens, go for it. All out.
Bob McElwain Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Web marketing and consulting since 1993 Site: Phone: 209-742-6349