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New job as dir. business development -- need some assistance

trying to make sense of the world of online marketing

     
12:49 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I recently have been hired as the dir. of business development at a startup community driven network.

The owner, who has had significant past success, has charged me with the task of selling advertising space on the site.

Now, I've had some success with selling co-reg with some publishers. But the owner also wants me to find sponsors for the site that are willing to do CPM campaigns. I've been doing cold calls for about a month without success, in addition contacting some agencies. But I haven't met with much success there either.

The challenge right now is that the site is being developed, and though a test of the site has been launched, it doesn't receive much traffic. And any traffic that we want to generate is going to be through PPC campaigns and AdWords. So doing affiliate programs probably isn't going to create a favorable margin. The owner says that he will fulfill anything I sell, but how can I convince advertisers that we can pull the type of traffic that we promise without actually *having* it?

Basically, I need to earn my way and find a way to make this site viable. Are startups able to find advertisers without having a finished product rolled out? Or am I completely wasting my time and would be better served concentrating on building relationships for when we actually have traffic? People seem to be open to ideas with us because they like our platform, however that doesn't translate into $$, which doesn't translate into me having a job next month.

So, anyone have any ideas?

4:24 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld.

Boy you are in kind of a tough situation if you only have one month to perform and you have nothing to back you up. First of all I'd have a sit down with the boss and explain your situation. No one in the business community will give you a bunch of advertising dollars on the hopes that your site will acheive it's traffic levels in the near future. Spending all your $$ on PPC sure isn't going to get you a decent ROI unless you're in a serious high margin field.

What I would do is to offer some free or very low cost advertising just as most B&M products/companies do to get the advertisers/consumers foot in the door. After these peoeple see that your traffic is good and your visitors like their products, then if they have a good ROI they will likely stay with you.

4:40 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"The challenge right now is that the site is being developed, and though a test of the site has been launched, it doesn't receive much traffic. And any traffic that we want to generate is going to be through PPC campaigns and AdWords."

You cannot justify CPM ads with the above scenario.

The challenge is to first GET TRAFFIC.

The website owner has obviously got it wrong. He can hardly hope to sell advertising space based on past suucess. Or maybe he can.. there are enough suckers around..

3:28 pm on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It seems like it would be pretty hard to sell traffic that doesn't yet exist, especially when there are many other community driven networks seeking ad revenue that actually have traffic volumes.
4:16 pm on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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thanks for all the good information.

Eljefe3, what do you think would be a good range to ask for CPM at this point?

4:58 pm on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a great idea - look for another job :)
2:54 am on Feb 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If you're trying to build up a site or community, slapping a bunch of advertising up there right away will be a turn-off to many users. Also, as has been already stated, getting CPM advertisers to commit dollars without having established traffic and reputation will be just next to impossible.

My first advice would be to build your community and user base first, worry about monetizing later.

Alternatively, if you are really set on advertising, why not go with a CPA/affiliate model first, while you're building traffic (as affiliate programs usually have no traffic requirements), and then later one once you've built your site, start offering CPM ads.

Dave