How to Get Advertisers and Sponsorships for Your Web Site

July 27, 2004 | By | Reply More

QUESTION ON How to Get Advertisers For Your Website

I am establishing an education-based web site – focused primarily on Canadian education. It will be supported by banner advertising and/or sponsorship of my site. However, I have no idea how to let businesses and companies know they can advertise with me. I also don’t know what to charge! Can you please help me on this? How can I get advertisers for my website?

You have a great site by the way! I am telling everyone about it. Thanks for any help you can provide.

– Sandy


Dear Sandy,

Banner advertising and sponsorships are still the the main revenue stream of most content sites. One word of caution, though: it is not easy to get sponsors if your web site is new. Even if you are able to get some interest, it may be difficult to command rates that you want.

Advertising and sponsorships on the Internet are similar to print media where advertising rates are primarily based on the total circulation. The more traffic your site generates, the higher the advertising rates that you can charge. More so, if you have a newsletter with an opt-in list.

If you are starting out, without an established brand to lend credence to your site and with little advertising and marketing budget to promote your site, getting advertisers and sponsors will take time. You will first need to build your traffic and you need to establish your credibility.

Take a closer look of your web site. Then, put yourself in the shoes of a prospective advertiser. Then you think of a rate that you think would be reasonable in your own perspective. Now, if you were the prospective sponsor, would you shell out that amount to be seen in this web site? You are the best judge and you can justify the rate by the quality of your web site. The good thing on the Internet is that there is no industry standard, therefore you can charge what you think is reasonable. You can actually set your own standard rates by experimenting on what rate will sell.

Your site must have all the elements needed to make your advertisers feel confident that they are going to get positive returns from their investment. It may be difficult (if not totally impossible) to get advertisers if your site generates only 1,000 page views per month. If your traffic is still low, then you can charge a lower amount. You can increase your rates as your site gains more credibility and traffic improves. Rates are usually proportional to your traffic: the higher the traffic, the higher the rates.

To get an idea of the advertising rates in your niche, check other Web sites in your category and look at the rates they are charging. Some sites publish their rates on their sites. If rates are not published on their site, send them an email asking for their advertising rates. Almost everyone who has a web site would be interested to send you an offer. From there, you will have an idea about rates.

Some sites charge advertising rates by CPM (cost per thousand impressions). If they say they charge $10/CPM, then it means that they generate $1,000 for 100,000 pageviews. Others, on the other hand, charge with a fixed rate given a set number of months.

Be prepared to provide the following information to your prospective sponsors/advertisers:

1. Your Demographics.

Since you said you are forming a “school” then what kind of school? Is it for adults or for kids? Who are your target audience and do you attract them to your site. You need to have a demographic profile of your visitors. Your advertisers/sponsors would want to know if this is the kind of demographics that they want to reach. Think of ways how you can start to collect this information – maybe start a feedback form, or include some demographic questions in your subscription form (if any).

2. Your traffic.

Advertisers and sponsors would want to know how much traffic your web site generates out of your targeted market niche. Be prepared to provide prospective advertisers numbers on your page views, unique visitors, and the impressions that their banner or text ads can generate.

To effectively run advertising, you will need a good adserver that will help you manage the advertisers on your site. It should

An important ingredient in selling your own ads is to have a capable and robust ad server that can handle ad management for you, allow the serving of various types of ads including banners, text ads, rich media and flash based advertising. It is also highly beneficial to use an ad server that will allow your advertisers to check in the status and performance of their campaigns.

Here are some advertising servers that you can check out:

  • OpenX  = a free open source ad serving tool that is available as download or as a hosted solution.  It is a powerful ad management system but the learning curve can be pretty steep. It has a marketplace where you can sell your available advertising space.
  • Double Click for Publishers (DFP) for Small Businesses – this is a free hosted solution offered by Google. It approaches the level of complexity of OpenX but has an easier interface. However, it also has a steep learning curve.
  • OIO Publisher = available as a WordPress plugin or as a standalone system, OIO allows you to sell ads directly and accept payments via a number of vendors such as Paypal and Google Checkout. License costs $47.

Here is one thing to remember though. When you start accepting advertising, you will have to work harder in order to keep them. When you start getting sponsorships and advertisements, you have to make sure that they are satisfied enough with their exposure in your site to want to renew the contract. Thus, you have to work hard to promote your web site and get as much traffic into it. The advertisers’ main concern are the results that they benefit from your site and that means you yourself will have to device a way that your visitors will be induced to click on the banners posted at your site.

Here are other articles that you may find useful:

Good luck!

Nach M Maravilla

Recommended Resources on Getting Advertisers For Your Website

Article originally published in July 2004. Updated February 27, 2012

Nach Maravilla is the President and CEO of LLC. He has over thirty years experience in sales and marketing of various products, which covered as he jokingly describes, “from toothpicks to airplanes” He also had extensive experience in International trading and he always excelled in special promotional ideas for retail outlets.

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