14 Proven Laws of Banner Advertising
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- Join two, three, or four quality exchange organizations. A typical exchange organization will offer you usually one-half to .7 or .8 credits, each time you host another member's banner at your site, and a full credit will earn you the displaying of your banner on another exchange members site. Some exchanges offer multiple page coding so you may host members banners on numerous pages throughout your site. Thus membership in multiple exchange organizations allows you to leverage visitors not only as a result of each unique visitor producing multiple credits for you, but also as a result of visitors who go beyond your home page, explore your web site, and earn you additional exchange credits through the impressions they are exposed to on any or all of the pages you host banners on. It's highly possible to earn, with a ten page web site, and a visitor who sees all ten pages, ten or more credits, meaning impressions due you just for belonging to two exchanges. Now that's leverage. The co-op offers a full one to one exchange plus a unique program paying cash for click throughs. And you can exclude specific catagories of competitors banners appearing on your pages.
- When dealing with seconds, and sometimes fractions of a second, to grab the attention of the viewer, it's vital that your ad screams LOOK AT ME NOW. You accomplish this goal primarily through and in this order, your copy, color, graphics. Therefore spend as much time on the five to ten words that little box has space enough for as you did practicing to ask for that first date.
- Bright colors almost always out perform the reds and the blacks which are less effective. Use yellow, orange, blue and green.
- Animated banners have multiple advantages over static or single screen banners. Use them to layer in additional copy. A three screen animated banner easily provides enough room for five to seven words per screen. Just make certain the copy that you choose for the first screen is compelling and attention getting. Focus on your web site's premium benefit. Why do people visit your site? What's in it for them? Build your headline, ie: the first screen, or your static banner, based upon your single most prominent, compelling benefit.
- Banner size, should be maintained at 3-5K which is ideal if you can accomplish your copy and creative objectives. If not, up to 7 is OK. Never more than 10 as it takes much longer to load and you run the risk of the visitor not seeing your banner at all.
- I can't stress this enough. There is no reason not to brand every banner you ever create. Branding your banner can be accomplished by doing nothing more that placing your product or company logo on one of the screens in the animation process, or simply giving the name of your company, or domain name, or a picture of your product. With average click through responses in the 1-2% range, why waste 98% of the impressions by not telling the viewer who you are or what your product is? Off line advertisers have known for decades the power of branding, and with properly designed banners you can accomplish both direct response advertising and branding simultaneously. With branding you can get your name, your product name, continually in front of your prospects, even if they don't "click" on.
- Don't get hung up on hosting banners on your site for fear that you'll lose a visitor. Listen, they're going to leave anyways. If they're interested in your site they'll stick with it until their interest is totally satisfied. If not, you're going to lose them in any event, so you may as well get some mileage out of those visits.
- Do not try to qualify your visitor. In other words, let the site do the qualifying and selling job for you. After all the name of the game is to get each and every unique new visitor to your site as possible, thus leveraging credits due you should you belong to a banner exchange.
- When building your five to ten word static banner, or five to seven words first screen animated banner copy, rely on these themes. Fear, curiosity, humor, the big promise. Example, Warning, you must see this before you purchase xxx; never worry about losing xxx again, learn the secrets of cashing in on xxx, do you know how to xxx? As an aside, a warning banner is an enormously powerful approach. Many off line yellow pages publishers will not even allow them because the other advertisers complain about the unfair advantage such an ad delivers. Try one.
- The number one drawing card in banner advertising is the use of the word FREE. Put your creative talents to task here. Write a free report that solves a problem, and post it at your site. Offer a free drawing, free subscription to a e-zine. Free advertising, free trial offer, free download for software, etc., etc.
- Never assume your viewer knows what to do next. Always, in one or more places, insert the words click here, or, click here now, or show a drop down box with a click arrow prominently displayed.
- When appropriate to your marketing campaign, buy click throughs and not impressions. With click through purchases you can lock in on the cost of each unique new visitor. Purchasing click throughs helps to eliminate concern over rigorous and ongoing testing and new banner design and creation concerns, as well as the arduous task of ongoing meaning daily, monitoring of each of your banner's effectiveness. When purchasing click throughs and paying only for those new visitors, all of those issues become someone else's problem. The co-op offers an excellent click through ad program.
- Targeting. If you are a niche market advertiser, or a local or regional advertiser, targeting is vital to the success of your banner campaign. You'll want to very carefully select sites or work with an ad agency that offers the opportunity to reach those prospects who are the most likely to be interested in your product or service. On the surface, purchasing targeted impressions is more costly, however, it represents the best way to reach your audience. If you're selling automobiles in southeast Florida, it makes no sense to place your banner into a national network where only a fraction of the audience would have any interest. Instead you'll want to target web sites serving the community you service, including Chamber of Commerces, newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and other local and regional businesses serving the same geography.
- Test, test, and test some more. Once you've got the perfect banner working, design another one because sooner or later even the best banner runs out of steam. It's generally accepted that after a prospect sees a banner for the third or fourth time, the likelihood of a click through plummets. When testing, always test the next new design on the same site or on the same network, so you are indeed comparing apples to apples. Testing is a continual ongoing, dynamic process. Review your stat pages on a daily basis and be prepared to act quickly when results begin to lag. Remember the three most critical elements of your banner. First the copy, next the color, and next the graphics. Once a successful banner has been created, tweaking and modifying these elements can keep it alive and producing strong click-throughs for many months.
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