Selling Ads: Regular Income. or Limited Income?

Last Update: March 25, 2019

Many online businesses publish some sort of newsletter or announcement list. This presents an opportunity to make some extra income by selling ad space. It's popular because it's fairly straightforward. You provide the demographics/statistics about your publication; you set the price; a customer places anorder; you send out the ad. You also can make even bigger extra income by creating a mobile application for your business. Free online courses and android app review sites will help to create an application on your own and promote it to make it visible on the market.

Selling ad space can be decent money, but there's still a price to be paid. Selling "reputable" ad space takes time and effort. I don't understand editors who don't screen the types of ads that go into their publications (nor do I understand why someone would want to spend the money to place an ad to a generally uninterested audience). You need to review ads and weed out those that are inappropriate for your list. If you don't, people come to expect crappy or useless ads and will ignore them.

The advertiser won't be happy either — poor results means no repeat business. Your time could have been better spent acquiringa long-term customer rather than a one-shot deal.

There's also the customer service part to selling ads, too:proofreading, scheduling, sending confirmations, handling adchanges, etc.

Another problem is the availability of ad space. If there'slots available in your market, you're likely going to have aharder time selling it — and you may have to settle for lowerrates, too. It's hard to rely on ad revenues, which can changedramatically depending on market conditions.

Remember, too, that with email newsletters it's gettingharder to find a responsive list. Not that there aren'tquality lists available — there are — but email deliveryis simply getting much more difficult, what with filters andfed-up people whose email inboxes filled with junk mail. Peoplehave to at least read an ad before they'll considervisiting a business, let alone making a purchase. Unhappyadvertisers won't buy again, and acquiring new advertiserstakes time, effort, and money.

Selling ad space may actually limit how much you can make off your list. Essentially you'll make whatever profit you can from these sales.

If you use the "ad space" for yourself, though,you have the potential to make even more. Combined with quality content and credibility, any recommendations orspecials you run in your own publication can really help sales.

So how do you use your publication if you're not going tosell ad space? Try:

  • Use editorial space to recommend a product or service.Great for joint ventures or for affiliate programs.
  • Place an "editorial-style" ad in the publication. Good for promoting your own stuff.

    For instance, one of my other newsletters has never sold ad space. It's steadily brought in sales, issue after issue, without any blatant advertising. Then, once in a while we'll mention a product, and sales will spike after that issue. We don't even have to worry about writing an "ad" — we just write a few comments about a product and let it be.

  • Send a stand-alone mailing, promoting a) your ownproduct or service; b) an affiliate product (endorsements work well); c) a product you're promoting through a joint venture. Don't overdo these types of mailings — bombard your subscribers with them and they'll likely get used tohitting the "delete" key (or unsubscribe altogether).

Be selective if you choose to endorse products or servicesin your publication. Readers will be much more likely to listen,than if you're constantly pushing one product or another just to try to make a few bucks.

Of course, selling ad space has its benefits. One of the advantages is its simplicity. It can be a relativelystable income source if you have a group of loyal customerswho will regularly place ads. That's one nice thing aboutselling ads -- after a while, if you have a group of customerswho keep coming back, you need to be very little promotion. In that sense I guess it could be called "easy money".

It comes down to making a business decision: are you able to earn regular, loyal advertisers who you're comfortable relying on for the income? Or do you preferto take more of a risk and try to earn higher profitsby using the ad space for your own stuff?

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