Welcome To The Blog Banner Ads SOP
Purpose: The purpose of this guide is to help users identify and partner with potentially profitable niche related blogs.
Responsibilities: This guide is to be used by the store owner, employee, or freelancer who is responsible for researching and establishing strategic partnerships with niche related blogs.
Effectiveness: Using this checklist will result in more targeted traffic, better tracking, and discounted advertising rates on your niche related blogs.
Regardless of what you sell online, there will be certain parts of the internet where your audience congregates. These places could be private forums, Facebook Groups, and most likely, blogs.
Blogs are the focus of this guide. For the purpose of this guide, we will use “Surfing” as the niche and “Surfboards” as the product offering. Our goal is to place adverts on these blogs.
Identify the top blogs in the niche. A simple Google search will generate plenty of results:
Create a Google Sheet with all the blog names, contact persons, ad types and ad statuses. You can download our Blog Banner Ad template through the following link and use it to create and track your contacts in Google Drive for free.
The template is pretty self-explanatory as to how you should fill it out. However, to elaborate:
- Blog Name: Enter the name of the blog.
- Blog URL: Enter the URL of the website.
- Contact Name: This is the name of the person who runs the blog. You should be able to find it on their “About Us” or “Contact” page.
- Contact Email: This is the email address of the person or company who runs the blog. You should be able to find it on their Contact page. If you cannot find a contact email, you can enter the URL where there is a contact form on that blog.
NOTE: The first two columns (Blog Name and Blog URL) should be completed first. The goal is to build an internal database of all the blogs in your niche for your own reference.
- Free Trial Requested: This is the date you reach out to the blog contact person requesting a free trial ad (more on this later).
- Free Trial Accepted: This is where you keep track of blogs that accept the free trial offer.
- Ad CPC (Unique): This is extremely important. You will need to track off the clicks from the blog banner ad to your website. You can track the clicks via Google Analytics over a 7-day period.
- NOTE: Ad CPC (Cost Per Click) = Unique Visitors to that page / the Blog’s Advertising Rate.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Go to Google Analytics
- Click Acquisition
- Click “All Traffic”
- Click Source / Medium
- Look for “New Users” next to the blog name
- Divide this number by the normal ad price for seven days (if using free trial).
- Sales: Enter the gross sales generated from this blog ad.
- Contract Price: Enter the price and terms that you agreed to with this blog.
- Contract Expires: Enter the date (if available) that your contract expires.
How This Process Works:
Almost all blogs allow banner ads, but not all can be profitable for your store. To gain the best results and not waste money, our approach is to request one-week trials on every blog.
During this period we will track the unique CPC (see above) and sales. If the numbers make sense, we will agree to sign an advertising contract after the one-week trial ends. If the CPC is too high and / or no sales are coming in, we will thank them for the trial and part ways.
The Email Pitch (Free Trial Request): This approach is simple yet effective. It works more often than not for our company.
Hi [Contact Name],
I recently came across your blog and am interested in purchasing a banner ad for my online shop. The way we usually work with blogs/online magazines is that we get a free one-week trial. Based on the traffic and results we see during this one-week trial period, we decide whether or not we would like to proceed with signing a contract. We have gone through this type of trial with about 5 or 6 blogs now and have signed contracts with most of them.
Here’s a link to my website if you want to check it out: [yourwebsite.com]
Please reply and let me know if the above trial period works for you and we’ll proceed from there.
The Creative (Ad Design):
If the blog allows .gifs, you should use a .gif.
What works best for us is a rotating image of three to five of our best-selling products (each displayed for about one second each), ending with an image of our logo, URL, and CTA that includes a reference to that specific blog.
For example: All [Blog Name] readers save 10% now! Click Here.
If you cannot design / create your own .gif, I would recommend outsourcing this to UpWork or Fiverr.
Tracking is everything:
You should not even request a free trial unless you are tracking the results properly. Thanks to Google, tracking is quite simple.
Let’s say you were going to advertise on a blog and you wanted the traffic to go to:
Here’s how that link should actually look:
Pretty ugly, right? That’s OK, because this special link is passing all kinds of great information over to our Google Analytics account!
- utm_source= this is where you enter the blog name that your ad was running on.
- utm_medium= this is where you enter the ad type (i.e., banner).
- utm_content= this is where you would enter your ad name (very useful if you’re testing multiple creatives).
- utm_campaign= this is where you would enter your advertising campaign name.
The reason we add this information to our links is because it makes our reports in Google Analytics much easier to read. It will let us know exactly which blogs are leading to sales, which ads are performing the best, and more importantly, which ads to stop running (and not pay for).
You can create your own URLs and learn more about tagging here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en
NOTE: This strategy works equally well on Forums that accept banner ads.