Passionfruit makes it very easy to set up your own blog business (it typically takes under 10 minutes). While we do a lot to promote our customers, we don’t have a team of sales people to sell your ads. Passionfruit is a platform for you to sell yourself. Here’s a few tips on how to get started selling blog ads.
First of all, let’s set some ground rules.
To run a successful ad business, your blog needs to have traffic. After all, you’re selling exposure and influence. So if your blog doesn’t have 20,000 or more views per month, you should focus on growing your blog first.
Also, take a fresh look at your ad options. I recommend simple options, fewer openings, simple pricing, and lots of perks like shout outs and much sponsor love baked into the purchase price. Also check your banner placement. I won’t buy ads on a site where the ads are half way down the sidebar, no matter how much I love the blogger. Get the ads up right under your About section and leave your other stuff below the sponsors.
Now onto the meat.
1. Post your rates prominently
The first thing is post your rates in a prominent place. Have a link in your nav and a banner on your sidebar with something classy like “let’s work together” or “advertising options.” Have it link to the page on your blog with your Passionfruit ad shop. Independent Fashion Bloggers does this really well, nice and classy placement and they see a lot of success.
2. Promote to your networks
The first place you should promote is to your own following.
Use your blog and social networks to promote your ad openings. I recommend posting regularly but not flooding your readers with reminders. Once a week, a few times a month. It’s up to you, but let your readers and followers know you’d like to work with them through your sponsorship options.
It’s important to work on this and do it in a way that stays true to your voice and style. Don’t become a toothpaste commercial. Think about how you’d like to be marketed to, and try to do it in a human, friendly manner.
3. Reach out to businesses you love
Think of some companies and brands you’d like to partner with. The smaller the better. Approach them, profess your love for them, and offer a free month or a free review to get the conversation going. There’s definitely an art to this but if you make an initiative you’ll see some really fun results from relationships with shops you love and respect.
It’s important to remember not to ask them to put out on the first date. I’m constantly getting requests for money. Remember to work your woo! You’d never respond to that behavior elsewhere. Same goes for business.
Here’s something fun to try:
One of my favorite bloggers Gary Vaynerchuk did this live on this video.
Think of some of your main topics you blog about. Say it’s “dental care” for example. Now search google for those phrases. Now you can see what companies are already paying for online advertising. For me I see many local dentists that I could approach to partner with on my fake dental care website. Try this for any phrase and you’ll have a list of 20 or 30 companies that are spending money online who you can strike up a conversation with about your blog. Yes you’ll get turned down but you’ll also talk to some great people and start building relationships.
4. Love your sponsors madly
One of the best ways to garner interest in your advertising business is to show people how you treat your partners. Find creative ways to highlight your sponsors and readers will want to become one. They’ll see how friendly you are and it’ll be clear you’ll treat them with the same care.
Melyssa from the Nectar Collective is always finding ways to highlight her sponsors, like integrating their bios right into her normal posts.
And it doesn’t take long to see how Crystal from the Happy Type treats her partners — her tweets and posts are basically gushing with excitement for them. She wrote up this amazing review post for Passionfruit when we sponsored her and we never asked for it.
Keep at it
I know I said you shouldn’t look to score on the first try but these tactics can result in ad sales on the first day. Many of our sites launch their ad shops and see sales immediately. For others it takes some time. Your blog is unique and it may take different approaches to selling to your audience and your niche.
Here are few additional thoughts if the above isn’t working:
- Maybe your prices are too high. Try holding a 50% off sale with a promo code or straight up price slash and see if that works. Again, you’ll have to publicize it. But this will tell you if it’s your prices that are holding people back.
- Maybe your site isn’t attractive. Try sprucing the place up, cleaning up your sidebar and ad area, and making the place more attractive.
- Maybe you’re too pushy, or not pushy enough. Play with the frequency of reminders and promotions to find a sweet spot.
- If you absolutely can’t find success, reach out and give ads away to friends or companies you love. Show them how well you’d treat them. They may turn into paying customers.
- Lastly, just ask. Ask a friend how you could improve. Ask a potential client why they said no. Get out of your own head for a new perspective.
Would love to hear your success stories in the comments here. What’s working for you? How did you sell your first ad?