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How to get Local Advertisers Involved in Search?

Are They Interested?



10:40 pm on Jan 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've had a search engine / portal for about two years but have not had any luck getting local advertisers interested enough to take part in even the most basic sponsorship. The sites I have found are other SEO's and marketing firms. Any advice?


10:50 pm on Jan 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Prove to them it's useful. If you can show them that they will get value, they'll likely shell out the money to make sure it continues.


1:32 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


>>Any advice?

No. But beyond what Rae says, which is dead on, I have some questions:

Do you have a rate card?
Is it presentable enough to email in addition to prominently posting?
Do you have effective ad serving?
Do you have a target ad client in mind?
Have you proactively contacted this target?
Do you understand the market conditions surrounding your geo? Size, demographics, and behavior?
Do you have a pricing model suitable for your targets?
Have you studied your direct competitors?
Have you contacted your direct competitors' advertisers?
Have you simplified you offering in a manner that an SME can understand?
Can an SME with $100/mo purchase inventory?
Do you have clear local user statistics? Is it demonstratable?
How do you derive your user stats? Surveys? Analytics?
Have you looked at the newspaper and yellow pages to see who is spending money in your geo or geo vertical?
How about in the IYPs?
How about the PPCs or SERPs?
Do you have a viable base of unique users?
Is your user base definable beyond geography?
Have you sought out businesses already predisposed to market online? Through similar sites?
Do you have references?
Do you have search engine distribution?
Do you have reporting?
Do you serve a small amount of ads per page view?
Do you have a USP?
Would you advertise on your site, all else equal? If so, why? If not, why?
Have you tried acquisition based pricing - click, lead, sale?
Have you picked up the phone? Have you presented your inventory personally?
Is your site professional?
Would a brand feel good about sponsoring your pages?
Have you experimented with ad sizes and types?
Have you worked with an ad network for sales?
Do you advertise your advertising opportunities?
Do you advertise your site pro-actively? Beyond SERPs?
Have you created unique advertising landing pages to court targeted ad buyers?
Do you purchase PPCs for things such as geo+advertising?
Does your site's content lend itself toward actionable advertising inventory?
Have you changed your inventory options around?
Have you hired someone with the expressed intent to sell?
Have you sold on the basis of page rank? branding?
Do you offer a trial buy? performance guarantees?
Do you prepopulate your site with dummy advertisers?
Have you looked to monetize through partnerships?
Fixed fee- long term sponsorships?
Do you have vertical based packages?
Do you have any successes that you can leverage? Case studies?
How about ad referral agreements?
Are you committed to answering the question you pose?


9:13 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's a lot of questions. I wish I had time to answer all of them. I'm just a newbie webmaster and the site is really just a hobby. I'd be happy to resell a local service but I can't find one worth partnering with. Those that are worth partnering with and reselling their services seem to have no interest in me. I offer free listings for every local website and get up to fifty new submissions every week. There is a significant stream of traffic, I'm just looking to capitalize on it in a greater way than the Adsense on my pages.

Any advice?


10:14 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Ok, this may sound harsh - it really isn't meant to, but I've got to say it...

Chicago took the time to write an extensive list of things out that are of extreme value to anyone looking to develop a local advertising base. Your response to that

>>> I wish I had time to answer all of them. I'm just a newbie webmaster and the site is really just a hobby.

was basically that it was too much work to use that list to formulate a plan of action for your site. Bottomline is that if you don't have the time to treat your site as a business, it likely is not going to provide income like a business.

>>> I offer free listings for every local website and get up to fifty new submissions every week

If these listings are driving traffic, the webmasters are likely going to miss them if they disappear. You could also try making new submissions here on out fee based and give a time limit to the current free ones being listed within which they need to upgrade or lose the listing.

>>> I'm just looking to capitalize on it in a greater way than the Adsense on my pages

Again, this is going to require work and time being input on your part. If you are not willing to formulate an advertising plan on your own, then you should look into hiring out the task or stick with the Adsense.


10:50 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Duly noted. I have answers to the majority of Chicago's questions and I'll have a more formal reponse to post as soon as possible.


11:42 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Whoa, Chicago - that's an all star post. Thanks for that.


1:11 am on Jan 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for providing such a comprehensive list of questions for this forum - I guess that's why you're the moderator. Just by proposing those questions, you've opened up some additional venues for me to explore and given me some insights into my own business practices. Thanks. The questions I have answered below were really what I was after initially.

Chicago asked
Do you have a target ad client in mind?

I think this is where the crux of my problem lies. There are so many small businesses that it's difficult to pinpoint a specific kind of prospective advertiser. The easy answer is "anybody with a website" but a lot of small businesses either don't have websites or are websites that don't have real brick and mortar businesses and budgets to advertise. So in your expert opinion "Who is a target ad client for local search?"

Chicago asked:
Do you understand the market conditions surrounding your geo? Size, demographics, and behavior?

I certainly do not, do you have a resource where this kind of information could be gathered or could you point me in the right direction? I think this would be valuable information to know for anyone trying to sell advertising on a local level.

Thanks again for the excellent information you provided Chicago. While this is not my full time occupation, I would like it to be (I'm sure just like many people in this forum) so I appreciate the advice.


2:09 am on Jan 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My pleasure, GorgiasPR. We appreciate your participation in the local search forum and look forward to your continued participation.

>>"Who is a target ad client for local search?"

Lets leave the other question aside and concentrate on this, because it is a basic and very important consideration.

An ad displays with a page view. With each page view, or in industry jargon, ad worthy impression, there are certain things that you can and should know. What you know about this ad impression should direct your *pro-active pursuit* for advertisers.

1. What was the action that the user took to arrive on that page? Was it a search? Was it a navigational click? Regardless, you can learn something about the presdispositions of the user (your advertiser's target audience)based upon the action the user took in arriving at the page (keyword search or click). These actions can be translated into user geographic, behavioral, or demographic user characteristics ~the backbone of your ad sales efforts.

2. Regardless of how the user got there, there are generalizations that you can make about the user on the page the ad is served, based upon the content of the page. This is the very premise of contextual based advertising - Adsense for example ~ content is about x, so it is natural that a user may be intersted in y (the advertisers offering).

Now, beyond those simple tenets, there are others means to generate, or isolate your all important user characteristics. This includes things like your web site analytic tools, site user surveys, user data collection through opt-in environments, and basic ROS/ROC (run of site/run of category) content determinations.

The thing to remember here is that to sell ads, you MUST understand who your user base is - Per Site, Per Channel, and/or Per Page. It is only when you understand these things that you can take the next step- Sell Ads.

When you sell ads, you MUST first document who your users are. Once you have your rate card data, you can go about identifying specific companies that will be interested in attracting *these users*. My best recommendation to you is to not waste your time on businesses that are not already predisposed to advertising. I think the number is like 43+% of SME don't advertise at all. Forget this group. Concentrate on those that do advertise by studying your competition, yps, iyps, serps, ppcs, et al. Look for companies that are spending the money already. Look for sites and pages that contain advertisers that are interested in your user base. This is where you will find your sales. Contact them and present to them the info you have on your users and present to them an attractive ad buy. (also don't overlook the idea of advertising to these advertisers)

Now having said that, I did not address your ad compensation model, your aggregate usage statistics, the integrity of your site, your ad inventory options, or ad serving or reporting features. These too, are often must haves. But presuming that these things are in place, I guarantee you that with a little hard work, you will find advertisers based upon these simple instuctions, or tenets of advertising. Once you do, and if these advertisers are successful, you will be well on your way to retaining these advertisers and leveraging their experiences to recruit new advertisers.


5:17 pm on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Whoa, Chicago, you just wrote the advertising section (and most of the marketing section) of the biz plan for a cool new site we're about to develop - thanks!

All I need now is to run one of those 'find and replace' things to add our site name in a few places, and drop in some kw's (you know, like the button pushers do), and I'm set. Awesome. ;p

P.S. Where do I send the bottle of champagne?


5:02 am on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Chicago, you are very wise. If you had a cult, I may join. Until then, I'll do my best to participate in this Forum.

Can you answer a few questions for me? What is/are...
- IYPs
- Vertical based packages


3:22 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


just do a define: search for each term on Google. You'll get all the info you need and save us a lot of typing. ;)


3:28 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>What is/are...

IYP - Internet Yellow Pages
USP - Unique Selling Proposition
Vertical Based Packeges - Vertical is synonymous with Industry. When attempting to appeal to a potential advertiser, it is important to speak to them in a manner that resonates with the type of business that they are in. There are many clever ways to accomplish this. Your potential advertisers should be placed in seperate buckets, like vertical buckets. These buckets represent an opportunity to create sales messages (and advertising messages and ad buy types) that are specific to the unique characteristics of each bucket (grouping of potential advertisers)~ thus enabling you to create vertical based packages using imagery, content, references, ad types, et al. that are specific to each group. If you fail to seperate your target advertisers into groups, you fail to understand the behavioral dispositions that may mean the difference between an ad sales prospect and an ad sales client. ~Being a generalist in ad sales is not advisable.

We look forward to your participation in the local search forum Browselot. Thanks.


2:55 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm an advertiser: here's my feedback.

Have I heard of you before?
Are you in the top ten in google for some of my searches?
Can you quantify the traffic you'll send me?
Is the signup painless?
Is your focus narrow enough that you can do a comprehensive job?
Do you have lots of good unpaid listings (e.g. local community groups) and community information?
Do you actually live in my community?

Frankly there are far too many local portals which are:
1) SEO/Link spam oriented, without any real content.
2) Run by one guy on a shoestring, and really broken.

As an advertiser I'd much rather have simple one-stop-shoppering (e.g. the AT&T Yellow Pages)... your local portal had better be pretty good, or it's just not worth my time.


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