Internet banner advertising is essential for lead generation. But ONLY if you follow these important tips.
Last week I wrote about ‘banner blindness.’ That’s behavior that Internet users have developed that causes them to ignore banner advertising on the web pages they visit. This week, I promised to share with you how you can make Internet banner advertising work for your home improvement company?
Here’s the short answer: get your media salespeople selling you offline advertising to throw-in banner advertising on their websites.
“Throw-in?” you ask. What is a “throw-in”? And why would a media salesperson “throw in” banners into a media sale?
The next time you’re negotiating an offline media buy, say space advertising in your local newspaper or commercial time on a radio station, you’re perhaps putting yourself on the hook for thousands of dollars. As you’re doing that, remember that those same media outlets nearly always run Web sites. And those websites have positions for banner advertising.
Getting your media sales person to throw banners into your media buy is simple. Just tell your rep that, in addition to the space advertising or commercial time, you want free banner advertising on their website.
Now, I know just how your salesperson will respond. He or she will immediately take the position that their website banner space is sacred.
That you’re essentially asking for oceanfront real estate at trailer park prices. He or she will in turn tell you about the huge flow of visitor arriving at their website each an every day, and volume of impressions that is valuable almost beyond measure.
Don’t buy it.
Having reviewed Web site metrics for many home improvement dealers, I know that Web sites from media outlets account for a very small number of visitors. If they represent 10-30 visitors per month, that would be optimistic.
And those are visitors to your website. Not phone calls or Web form submissions from homeowners interested in your product. Just visitors clicking through to your website. In other words, expect links from media Web sites to yours to have an insignificant impact on your lead flow.
Don’t let your media reps tell you otherwise. As someone who buys online media for a living, I would never buy banners (for more than pennies, anyway) on the websites of TV or radio stations or radio website. The traffic they can deliver just isn’t there.
Given that, why would you ever want to negotiate for free banner advertising from these outlets?
The answer is not for the visitor traffic they’re produce. But instead to improve the ranking of your website on the search engines.
That’s because banner ads on media websites represent additional inbound hyperlinks from your website. The more inbound hyperlinks, the better Google and Yahoo view your company’s Web site. These search engines hold local media websites in high regard—particularly when those Web sites are based in your particular sales market. For instance, an ideal match would be a banner ad on the website of a San Diego radio station that links to the website of a San Diego home improvement company. Bingo, a great new inbound hyperlink.
Which brings us back to website advertising banners. The home improvement websites that rank particularly well on Google inevitably have inbound hyperlinks from a great many media outlets. Most are as a result of banners, which cost the stations and newspaper websites almost nothing to produce and post.
To be effective in this way, banner ads need not have prominent placement. In short, they don’t need to be on the homepage of your media outlet. But they do need to provide a hyperlink back to your website.
Secure one such inbound link, and you’ll see a little benefit. But secure 6-10 of them, and you’re really beginning to build a much stronger reputation with the search engines.
So, banner blindness remains a significant issue for Internet visitors. But you can still benefit from banners if you look at them as a wonderful source of hyperlinks from your media providers.