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4. Getting creative right. This is not easy. Having spent many years working in advertising agencies, I can tell you that few creative people really understand Internet. They end up creating online versions of billboard advertising. Since majority of billboard ads are about branding and image, not direct response, difficulty is clear.
I recently ran a banner campaign for a web site which showed up-to-the-minute financial data on budget day. Banners were tactically placed on news and current affairs sites, using clear, unambiguous copy. No flashing lights or animations, just a simple, appealing message. The click-thru rates were between 5% and 8%. The server was overwhelmed.
Recently, I have seen reports that banners that are designed specifically for site they appear on - so that they blend in and look like part of site - have achieved click-thru rates of over 10%.
In summary, here is my top ten pointers for making your banners work well above average:
1. Aim at right people
2. Be relevant. Make sure your main offer is 'in tune' with what site's viewers are thinking about.
3. Keep testing. Instantly drop any banner that isn't pulling.
4. Know how much you can pay. If you are averaging $2 per click and one in fifty buy from you, then you had better make more than $100 profit on each sale, or you will go bust.
5. Before you spend any money on a site, talk to other advertisers. If they say that their response stunk, (and their ad seems reasonably okay), bear this in mind when you negotiate price.
6. Make your banner intriguing. If they don't care, they won't click.
7. Tell them what's in it for them. If you show or imply a really great benefit that they will gain from your site, they are more likely to click to see more.
8. Consider disguising your banner. If you make it look like part of site, more people may have confidence to click it.
9. Don't buy cost-per-thousand impressions unless you really have to - and price is low enough.
10. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Never take first price offered. Always ask for (and expect) a discount on price, or a bonus on top of what you are buying.
Achieving valuable CTR's can be done, but not by blindly following sheep. Successful advertisers do things a little differently.
Martin Avis publishes a free weekly newsletter: BizE-Zine - your unfair advantage in Internet marketing, business and personal success. To subscribe, and get 4 great free gifts, please visit http://www.BizE-zine.com