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Top 10 Tips for Buying Online Media

For over a decade, I've been on both the buying and selling side of online media. I've sold email newsletter ads right here in Web Digest as well as solo email blasts. I've purchased keyword phrases for clients at search engines, and so forth. Below are my top tactics for online media buying. Some are exactly the same as offline media buying, some aren't. Enjoy.

1. "If it were my money:" Whether you're buying media for your company or for an agency client, always ask yourself that question. Your boss or client must respect this approach. I even ask it on behalf of those who buy ads here in WDFM, and it has engendered a level of trust that keeps advertisers coming back for more.

2. Benchmark: Make a short list of 3-5 similar media outlets and see which ones offer the most competitive rates. But remember, the rates aren't the be all and end all. There's quality of audience to consider. Most online advertisers are looking for sales lead generation. Sooner or later, quality will shine through, and it is well worth paying for since it means less wheel-spinning for your sales staff when they follow up on those leads.

3. Don't Beat Up the Publisher Too Much: This is easy to say for someone like me, since I'm a publisher. But good faith bargaining fosters good will over the long haul. For example, if I have remnant space I often reward loyal clients by "comping" them with a fr** ad.

4. Cost Per Lead: If you are really looking to your advertising to produce leads and prospects, clickthroughs are not necessarily the living end. All the clickthroughs in the world are meaningless if your landing page doesn't convert them or if they're useless tire-kickers who will never buy anything from you.

5. Look for Testimonials or Names of Other Advertisers: See who else is spending money repeatedly, not just once or twice. Many publishers post testimonials on their websites. You'll find good examples of testimonials from advertisers in Web Digest For Markeers at: http://www.wdfm.com/sponsor.html#test

6. Push the Envelope: Many times you can get great deals because a site, network or newsletter is new. It's often worth a great deal for the seller of those ad avails to have a big name on board that they can tout to other prospects. If you're lucky enough to find such an opportunity, you can get a great price locked in for a long time with the option to extend.

7. Keep Your Ear to the Track: Identify and read the top email newsletters covering your particular market niche.

8. Test Test Test: Just like a direct marketer does, test different networks, lists, keywords, static media, streaming media, and so forth. With so many options now open to you, it's in your best interest to see what works best for you before you spend the big bucks.

9. CPM Calcs: I set up three calculators that help you figure out how much your ad buy is costing on a CPM (cost per thousand) basis. It's a good way to compare apples to apples. Go to http://wdfm.com/advertising.html

10. Save Some Money for Creative: Too often I see firms who spend all the money on buying the media and then the creative becomes an afterthought. Do it the other way around. Know what your campaign message is before you spend money on media. If you have a sustained media budget and need help on creative or media buying, get in touch with me. Chances are I can get you a better deal than you can by yourself, and juice up your creative to increase response rates. LC


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