Good morning! Today we continue with our series about making money online. You can check the previous posts about Starting your own website, Choosing a name, domain and hosting, My July blog income and stats, How many hours are you willing to put in?, Blogging mistake #1: blogging in the dark , How I got my Alexa below 100K in 8 weeks, Monetize your site with affiliate and Adsense, August blog income and stats recap, Going self hosted right away: How to link Godaddy, Hostgator and WordPress, Go self hosted or migrate your blog to a new server for $5 or less, What to outsource on your blog, Make money with paid links, yes or no?, How to manage your Twitter account in 10 minutes a day
When your blog starts becoming popular, you get inundated by advertising requests. Here are a few tips on how to save time managing your ad deals.
In Gmail, you can make a predetermined reply, like
Dear (insert name)
Thank you for your inquiry, we do offer the following options for advertising:
Private ads $XXX
Link in old post $XXX
Let me know if you would like to proceed.
I send most people the same reply, so it saves a lot of time. Then I put them in a prospect folder. If they reply, they’ll appear back in the inbox and we’ll take it from here. If they don’t, every week or so, I send them a follow up email, also a set reply.
Hi private advertiser
Just following up to see if you were still interested in publishing your campaign on RFI (remind them of your site, even if you reply from your email@example.com)?
And I delete their email, unless they are @domain-that-looks-like-a-legit-agency.com.
As you will learn, most inquiries are dead ends. There are tons of writers who may be getting $25 per post from agencies and try to publish on your blog for free, the ones who will “keep you in mind” for future deals, etc. If they are an agency, they have an advertising budget and you can follow up a few months later when your stats improve. Otherwise don’t lose your time.
If the ad rep answers, they will generally try to low ball you. If the offered rate is below what you think is fair, make a counter offer and see if you can close the deal. Once you have a deal, you can put them in another folder on your email, “post pending”. You have agreed on the rate but not received the post.
You should also enter the person’s details on an Excel folder with the following
Client (where you will be linking to)
Link/banner put the URL or the banner type
The term one is important, most deals run for a year. Some will offer a higher rate for a permanent post but bear in mind that your stats may have improved in a year and you can command a higher price. So set the start and end date on the advertising spreadsheet.
Once a week or so, reconcile the spreadsheet with your Paypal account and chase payments. If the rep is paying 28 days later, set “to be paid on September 20th” in the paid column so you can know when to start chasing payments. They don’t really have an interest in not paying you because they report to their client monthly and the client may take another couple of weeks to check the links are in place, so if they don’t pay you and you put the post down they don’t get paid either. But some can get delayed or forgetful. Be there to remind them.
Bonus points: Follow up
You should follow up not only on the deals about to expire, but also send a follow up email to your advertisers once in a while just to check if they have other campaigns for you. They manage tons of sites and you want to be their go to place every time they have a campaign for your niche. Don’t be pushy, an email every quarter is more than enough.
If you have an email system to schedule mails in the future, setup an email to be sent 11 months from now to the rep, copy yourself.
just to remind you that your deal on the post/banner on my site (add link to the post) will expire in a month, do you wish to renew or take down the link?
You could offer to keep your price even though your blog is doing better, or send the rep your “link in old content” rate. If you can’t schedule emails, you’ll have to do that with your spreadsheet, that is why it is important to keep it updated. If you miss a follow up, the rep will benefit from a permanent link even though he paid for a year.
Generally, they have no interest in renewing an old link in an old post, unless the discount is important, they’d rather pay for a new post. According to a long time blogger, about 25% of the reps renew or pay for a fresh post. From the 13th month of you starting to accept advertising, you could generate an extra 25% income just by reminding people of their expiring deal, you do not want to miss out on that!
Once you are all organized, sending a set reply and archiving an email takes a few seconds. If you update the spreadsheet on the day you publish the post, you’ll take an extra 5 minutes but save a lot of time later browsing for the post and who ordered and paid for it… or not. The only real work would be the back and forth before you close a deal, but most reps are pretty low maintenance. If you have conditions, prepare a formatted answer to save time. “I don’t accept posts about XYZ, I post only on weekends and my next available date is (insert date), sorry we don’t accept paid links but you can have a banner for $X”.
As a confessed procrastinator, I have waited for months before having a system in place. What only takes a few minutes on the spot can take hours if you have to dig through your archives, Paypal history and old emails to reconcile posts, clients and payments.
Automate your systems and you will save a lot of time.
How do you manage your ads? Do you have anything to add?
This post was featured on the How to Blog Carnival, thank you!