AskPat 122 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 122 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
You know, today episode is brought to you by FreshBooks.com. FreshBooks is an amazing, easy to use cloud based accounting software that you can use for invoicing and keeping track of all the financials of your business. Something I wish I new about when I was first starting out. It seriously could have saved me a ton of time, not to mention a ton of headaches to. I was using . . . I think I was using Excel in the beginning, and man, FreshBooks just makes it so much easier. Go to FreshBooks.com and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section to start your free trial today. Seriously, especially if you're creating invoices. You know, you can capture and track expenses and do all that good stuff. FreshBooks is made just for you, if those are the things you're doing. So again, FreshBooks.com, enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.
Okay, now lets get to today's question from Tom.
Tom Segal: Hey Pat, my name is Tom Segal. I have a site called HowToBecomeAnAppraiser.com. I created this site as a resource for those interested in becoming real estate appraisers. I'm a commercial real estate appraiser myself, and I thought I could provide some insights to those interested in the profession.
When I created this site, I put up a few posts and it didn't really get any attention. I stopped paying attention to it. Focused on other things. However, it seems recently there's been some focus and attention paid to my site, and I thought I would ramp up the content and make it a real viable resource for those interested. As I'm doing that, I was thinking about different ways to monetize this site and it seems as though private advertising would be a good way to go for me.
However, I don't know the first thing about private advertising in terms of what to charge for, ads, where to put the ads, if there should be a different charge for different placements, and if maybe there is a WordPress plugin that would help me with all that.
Any case, thanks for all that you do with this site. I really appreciate the format. Keep doing what you're doing. Thanks.
Pat Flynn: Tom, thank you so much for your question. Private advertising is something that I have a lot of experience with, beyond AdSense, that was the first thing, or one of the first things when I first started monetizing my site at GreenExamAcademy.com. I'll tell you, going into it not really knowing what to do, or not even knowing what plugins to use to display those ads, it was really stressful and I made a lot of mistakes, and I totally undersold myself.
I remember the first time . . . Actually I had a company approach me saying that they wanted to advertise on my site, and I had no idea where to even start with that. You know, they ask me for a price. They wanted it sooner that later, and I said “50 bucks.” You know, I just said it because that's . . . I just threw it out there, and they were like, “Oh totally!” You know I was getting several thousand visits a day to my website and that was a steal for them because I had no idea what I was doing. Eventually I got the price going up to $350 a month and I was signing contracts for six years to a year with that, and was making a lot of money with private advertising. So, it's definitely a solution. I think AdSense is a good way to start out. If you really want to start making good money with your advertisements, if you can create great relationships with those other companies who want to advertise on your site, who can understand that advertising with you directly is better than going to Google, or another third-party ad-management program, it's a win for everybody to be honest.
Now, there are a lot of different plugins out there. I'm going to go through these plugins first because you know, displaying these ads and having your advertiser be able to keep track of those things, or at least you being able to keep track of those things so you can report what's going on, is very important. So, there are a few of them here, and you know there is a great article actually on WPBeginner.com. If you go to WPBeginner.com, and just search for “ad management plugins,” you'll come up with a great—actually, a number of great articles. This one in particular is called, “What are the Best Ad Management Plugins?” It's written by my friend Saeed on WPBeginner.com.
Just a few mentionables here, ones that I've used in the past. OIOPublisher is a great manager tool, which is available for plugins. Like all these other ones I'm going to mention, it enables you to eliminate the middle man so you can directly sell ads through your website. What's cool about this one, it handles all the reporting, all the payments, which is cool, the tracking and all those things. You can create different ad zones, and I'll talk about those in a minute. So that's OIOpublisher.
There's also, BuySellAds Pro. You know there is a BuySellAds market place which you can use, but there is BuySellAds Pro, which gives you graphic interface to serve, sell, and manage your ads on your site. It's similar to OIO publisher, although it is more expensive. So, that BuySellAds Pro.
Then, there is GoogleDFP, which is Double Click for Publishers. There is AdSanity. There is WP125, which is the one that I am most familiar with because when I was doing advertising on GreenExamAcademy.com, I was only selling you know, the small box, the one 125 x 125 pixel box in the side bar of my page. It made it really easy to collect those banners and keep track of—what do they call it—impressions, and all that stuff. There is another one that I heard of recently called AdRotate.
So, let me go through all those one more time for you. Again, I definitely recommend going to WPBeginner.com and looking up ad management plugins because it'll give you a little bit more explanation about each of these different plugins. I don't want to get into too technical of a situation here on this particular podcast. That one actually has a lot of great images; you could see what it looks like before you dive into them, but they're all great. I mean, Saeed is an amazing WordPress developer, and he knows a lot about all these different things. So, OIOPublisher, BuySellAds (the Pro addition), GoogleDFP, which stands for Double Click for Publishers, DFP. Then there is AdSanity, WP125, and AdRotate. Also Simple Ads Manager, another one that I keep hearing of as well. They're all great, they all do the job that you want to do, if you want to private advertise.
Lets get into the real main points here. You know, there are a lot of different way to serve these ads, but a couple of important things. What kind of ads do you serve and how much do you ask for them? So, in terms of what kinds of ads, you know, there are a lot of different kinds of ads you can serve. I think if you're going to be serious about displaying ads on your site, you need to create some sort of media kit. So, you actually need to create zones, like I was saying earlier, on your site. For instance, the top banner, you know a banner on the top of the page, if you want one there. There are a lot of pros and cons to doing that. Yes it's a very high-visibility part of your site, you know, just above the fold right at the top, but you also have to understand, what's the first impression you want to give your audience when they come to your site? Is that the first thing you want them to see? If that's okay, then you better be charging a lot for that because that's asking a lot of your audience, and of the advertiser too, to put something right at the top at your best real estate on your website. So, just something to think about. There's other spots as well: There's within different posts; there's in the side bar; there's on specific pages—you know, pages specific to the different categories; there's also beyond your website—there's your email list and things like that. So, there's a lot of things to think about in terms of where you want to serve this advertisement, or whatever you end up doing. There's no right or wrong here. It's up to you and how you feel about how your website is going to look, and how the, you know, the general feel is going to be when people come to your site. I mean, of course you don't want to just spray your website with ads everywhere. Again, you still need to make it functional, you still need to make it readable and do it's primary thing, which is to provide content and value for your audience. You don't want your ads to take away from your audience.
Again, another important thing to understand is every ad you put up is an opportunity for people to walk away from your site, to get distracted from the content that they came there for. So, you know, you are trading something for these potential dollars that you might be earning on your website. So again, just something to think about. So you might want to start off slow, or small with the AdSense that you create, and in this media kit what you want to do is basically create some sort of pdf file that shares . . . You know, this is really important because if you just start talking to a company who is really interested in paying money, especially if they're going to be paying you a lot of money if you were to wheel and deal on email, it wouldn't seem that professional. You know? It'll be just like like one person speaking to one person and that person wouldn't know if you are actually legit. But if you had a media kit, which is a pdf file that displays things like your traffic count, you know, the type of people who come to your website, all the demographics, trends coming on to the particular topics that you're on, how much people are potentially paying for keywords related to your topic, and all these things . . . That again relates to your pricing, which I'll talk about in a second. As much information as you can give your potential advertisers, in addition to the types of ad zones, or types of ads they can buy, is really important. I wouldn't put the price on your pdf file because you're going to want to change that around. It's going to change for the different clients that you have of course, you know, you're going to want increase it over time. So, I wouldn't create pdf files with the prices, but you can have the different ad zones, and then you can negotiate the prices. I would do that on the telephone if possible. You know, email's okay but you know, when you get to talking to somebody that's when you can start to feel them out and start to do, you know, normal sorts of sales negotiation type stuff with them.
Now as far as pricing is concerned, you know, after you have the media kit, and after you think about the types of ads, of course after you discover how you want to display them, you're going to want to know actually what the price is. I think a lot of it has to do with what they're paying already. I think a lot of companies who want to do advertising are already paying somewhere else. You want to do what you can to discover what those things are. So, if you've seen an ad somewhere else on another site, even if you haven't, you may want to search for ads by this company who you are going to approach or this company who approach you to see sort of, are there media kits out there already that you can sort of base your price off of. You know, use it as a starting point; perhaps you get more traffic so you can charge more. There's different ways to charge to. There's the flat rate, which I think is the easiest because it's the less time consuming to track and you know, it's just easy to get a check up front for X number of months. There's also the other way of cost per thousand, or you'll see it also as CPM. You know, the Roman numeral M, so for thousand. That's a little more difficult, but it's a little bit more, I guess you can say fair because you know, people aren't going to pay unless they are getting impressions, you know the advertisers. I like to go flat fee, and I like to also go long term. You know, you also want to give your potential advertiser a deal if they sign in for longer. So you can do, for instance if they sign on for $100 a month, maybe you give them six months for $500. Only if they get six months though. You know, just to guarantee that they are in there, they're saving $20 a month that way, maybe a little bit less on discount, but you know, you can see how this might encourage somebody to go longer with you so you don't have to worry about filling those spots every single month.
Finally, the last tip I have for you for pricing. Again, I don't know your traffic Tom and I can't tell what you need to do. You kind of have to figure this out on your own, beyond just testing, like I did in the beginning. Again, I totally low-balled myself. I didn't give myself enough credit. I didn't give my site enough credit for how much it was worth to be on my site. Another thing you can do is sort of get an idea of how much people are paying Google if they are advertising on Google. So, you can go on sites like SEMRush.com, and type in keywords, or even type in the name of that website, the URL, and it will show you keywords related to that website. Perhaps keywords that they're ranking for, and what the typical CPC is—or cost per click—that those advertisers are paying. If it's quite high, people are going to be willing to spend a lot of money with you.
Again, it's relative but you know, it can go from 10 cents per click all the way up to $40 to $50 per click. Which I know sound crazy, but for people like lawyers who know that, you know, when they sign on a client it's going to be worth a lot a money to them, they're willing to spend a lot of money per click. As long as they are signing on clients, and making more than what they are spending with those ad clicks then they're going to be . . . You know it's basically just a cash machine for them. You know, you're trading diamonds for quarters at that point if you're an advertiser. So again, you want people who are advertising with you to understand that they're advertising to the right site that has traffic, that has the right demographic for them but also has the right price. So the right price is oftentimes determined by what they're paying already. If they're having problems or issues with the price that you set you might what to say, “Okay lets do a month, let's try it out and if you like it, if you like the results, if my audience responds, then we'll extend the contract from there,” and I've done that in the past to.
So, Tom I hope that answers your question. Thank you again so much for it and I think it's going to help a lot of people. Again, if you go to AskPat.com, you can get your question featured just like Tom did. Of course because, Tom, your question was featured here on the show today, you get an AskPat teeshirt headed your way.
Of course, I would like to thank FreshBooks.com, which is today's sponsor. I can't tell you how helpful this company is to everybody out there using it, including myself because it's just . . . You know, organizing your finances will tell you everything you need to know about where your business is and where you need to go. Of course, when it's tax season it's going to be so much easier to just take what you already put in your books and just print it out or have your CPA do it, or even if you do it yourself, it's just going to be so much easier. I mean seriously, discovering FreshBooks, you know, was a little bittersweet because even though I was glad to be using it, I was just sad I hadn't found it sooner. So, you can do what millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners are doing and get your time going with FreshBooks. So, if you go to FreshBooks.com/askpat and enter, “Ask Pat” in the, “How did you hear about us?” section, you can start your free trial today.
Thank you for that, and of course my quote of the day . . . Which is not my quote. Sometimes it is but not today: This is another unknown quote. Last time it was also by somebody unknown, probably not the same person, but this is another great quote. “Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.” Awesome.
Thank you so much for joining me today and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
AskPat listeners get a thirty-day free trial to their software when you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.