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How to Profit From Your Ad Space in this Economic Downturn
Recent research predicts that the online ad market will decline by 25% in 2003.**
In 2004, net advertising is a buyer's market.
Everyone has seen the media spotlight focused on the big dot-coms who, dependent on ad revenues, have either gone out of business or been forced to cut back.
Unfortunately, it's the same story for small business owners. The economic downturn leaves many potential advertisers much more reluctant to pay the prices they would have a year or two ago.
I recently came across a message board where one advertiser summed it up this way: in these hard economic times, she has read that people are less willing to make purchases. This means that she is much more at risk to suffer a loss rather than make a profit.
Like most people, this advertiser does not have any extra money to spare - and certainly none to lose to a failed ad campaign. To turn the odds in her favor, she regularly goes bargain-hunting for ad specials.
Frustrated webmasters and online editors are feeling the pinch of lost ad revenues. This is particularly evident with the recent launch of ad auction sites such as WebmasterBids.com and EzineAdAuction.com. These sites are specifically meant to aid newsletter editors and webmasters in selling their remnant ad space - space that would otherwise remain unsold, the profits lost forever.
This doesn't mean that you can't benefit from your ad space! Quite the contrary. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Encourage Customers to Book Multiple Ad Slots. Offer large discounts on multi-ad packages. This is a win-win situation - your customer receives excellent value, and more of your ad space is booked with less stress.
2. Auction Off Remnant Ad Space. As mentioned above, there are at least a couple of places where you can put your unsold space up for auction. If you prefer you can set a 'reserve' price, under which you are not obliged to sell.
3. Offer Incentives to Subscribers and Previous Advertisers. Your own mailing list is a great source of advertisers! They're familiar with your newsletter and know what type of exposure their ads would receive. Previous advertisers also have this type of first-hand knowledge. Encourage them to book with you by offering great incentives - free bonuses, significant discounts, or anything else of value.
4. Swap Ads. Approach other editors within your niche market and offer to swap ads. This is a great way to increase your exposure, fill your ad space, and do it all without spending a single dime.
5. Barter. Is there something you need but just haven't gotten around to doing it? Use your ad space as a bargaining chip. For example, you could ask a graphic artist to create a banner or eBook cover for you in exchange for ad(s) in your newsletter. To sweeten the deal you could offer an 'endorsed' ad.
6. Go the Extra Mile. Provide prompt, friendly, and reliable service to encourage repeat orders. A little extra attention goes a long ways!
In the meantime, if your business relies heavily upon ad revenues for profits, start building another viable income stream. For example, one model that's becoming increasingly popular is the content-rich, fee-based membership site.
Companies that are overly-reliant on ad revenues have a choice: adjust to the ever-changing world of the Internet, or risk going out of business.
We've all heard the phrase, 'Never put all your eggs in one basket'. That's good advice for every online business owner.
** References: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/ 0,4586,5081626,00.html
About The Author
John Schultz is the brains behind WebmasterBids.com, the place where webmasters can go to auction off their remnant ad space! Webmasters make some extra money, and visitors can pick up some great deals ... visit today at http://www.webmasterbids.com/
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