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19

Selling Banner Ads

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As I am starting to finalize my goals for 2008 I am wondering how many other people do this, and for those that do, what methods they use.

Right now, I am focusing on my several forum based websites and setting income goals for each. I think all of them could be doing better financially and am looking at ways to improve their profitability. One strong thing I am looking at is the sale of direct banner advertising on each site.

Banner ads can be a powerful means of monetizing a website. This is especially true of forum communities because the userbase tends to be there frequently and the advertisers can get alot of notoriety from ads on a busy forum. They can become the "GO TO" guy for whatever they sell just because they advertise regularily on a forum. You can also encourage a vendor to become part of the community and offer expert advice while hawking their products, which is a win win situation.

I generally focus on 2 types of direct vendor advertising. The first is traditional banner ads, where the vendor purchases the banner space like a billboard. The second method I utilize is to create an enhanced usergroup for members who wish to pay an annual fee. (vBulletin makes this very easy) Then, I ask vendors to give a discount to those members in exchange for free advertising. This might not sound like alot, but imagine 100 or 200 members each paying $35 a year – and now multiply that by several forums. That free advertising you give to those members comes back to you in the form of membership fees and members who benefit from the discounts, which can considerably outperform the cost of their membership. (thus they look upon your management of the community more favorably)

I have to admit, I have been remiss in actively pursuing this type of advertising revenue in the last year. SO its one of the areas I have identified as one I could do much better with.

How about you?

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