Are Banner Ads Still Cool? Or Totally Toast?
Have you ever been frustrated because you want to start generating leads, and building your email list, but you have no clue how to start?
If that’s the case, then I can totally relate.
I know how annoying it is when you want to generate leads, and build an email list, but everything you try just seems like you’re spinning your wheels.
Especially if you don’t have a Hollywood voice or a super model body to attract attention on Instagram or on YouTube (lol), it can seem so overwhelmingly impossible to get people to actually subscribe to your email newsletter.
Meanwhile, all of the marketing gurus and experts are saying how easy everything in life is; when our experience as small business owners, has of course been the total opposite of what they suggest.
That’s why I’m so excited to write this blog post, because I’m about to brainstorm all about how to generate leads with banner ads.
Why The Heck Would You Use Banner Ads These Days? Here’s Why!
Before the days of the massive advertising networks (like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads) there was banner advertising!
Banner advertising used to rule the roost as far as online ads go, and the way they work is simple.
You essentially pay a webmaster to advertise your banner slot on their website.
There are massive banner advertising marketplaces which clearly list their inventory of websites where banner advertisers (folks like us) can place an ad.
Later, in this post I’m going to reveal my favorite banner ad market, but first there are some other things that are infinitely more important.
Of course, there are a ton of variables to consider that will ultimately determine the success of your campaign, and many of those variables I shall valiantly strive to articulate in this post.
One of the most important things, in my opinion, is making sure that you have an awesome email marketing funnel to begin with.
If you don’t have a beautiful email marketing funnel, then your advertising is never going to reach its fullest potential, even if you happen to strike it super lucky with your opt-in conversions.
Why Is An Awesome Email Marketing Funnel So Important Even For Banner Advertising?
If you have a properly optimized email list building funnel, then hopefully you’ll be able to make the most impact from your website traffic.
So let’s pretend that you have an email marketing funnel that introduces yourself, shares powerful content, reminds your end users to check their email, and your funnel also promotes the heck out of your offers.
Also imagine if your email list building funnel honestly endeavored to share awesome content, and vibrant training content with your new subscribers that was designed to entertain, educate and provide valuable content.
That would be much better than having a lame, bland, and boring lead capture funnel that simply had a boring “welcome page”, right?
Here Are Five Critically Crucial Components Of An Awesome Email Funnel
After studying the art and science of email marketing, advertising, and lead generation, I have come to conclude that the following email marketing and lead generation attributes are super important.
Email Funnel Component # 1 – A Solid Understanding Of Your End User Demographic
You can have the coolest looking lead capture page in the world, and even an endless supply of website traffic.
But, if you don’t have a solid understanding of your end users, then everything else is for naught.
So, ask yourself, who is your ideal audience, who is your ideal prospect, and most importantly, what are they struggling with?
What problems keep them awake at night? What solutions would they bend over in order to achieve? And, how can you help them accomplish their goals?
If you’re cognizant of these very real questions, then in my honest opinion everything else that you work on is going to infinitely easier, and in a position to get better results.
Email Funnel Component # 2 – An Awesome Lead Magnet
Since you know who your ideal users are, and what they want, then it’s going to be much easier for you to create a lead magnet.
So many people (my students and colleagues alike) have stressed out regarding how to craft a beautiful lead magnet.
In my experience, it’s almost always more important to ask yourself what problems your end users are having than to worry and stress out about the format of your lead magnet.
Maybe your lead magnet could be an email course, a video course, a PDF or even an .mp3 recording.
The truth is that the overall strategy of being able to help your end users is almost always more important than the actual format of your lead magnet.
So, personally, what I do, is always spend time brainstorming problems and solutions.
For example, many of my own email subscribers want to know how to build and promote an email newsletter.
As a result, many of my lead magnets are of the magnitude of “how to build an awesome email newsletter”, “how to generate leads on a low budget”, and I even offer my magnificent (and elite) solo ad rolodex.
The point is that, I could offer these products as a website format, a PDF format, an audio format, or even a video format – the most important thing is that your lead magnet actually solves a problem that your end users have!
That’s my philosophy, and believe it or not this step is super easy to overlook, or get wrong.
Email Funnel Component # 3 – An Awesome Lead Capture Page
Building lead capture pages and squeeze pages is something that I have a ton of experience with.
I’ve literally split tested many dozens of lead capture pages and have generated many thousands of leads from all over the world.
The main thing that I’ve learned after enduring this nonstop analysis, is that the simple things in life usually work the best.
So, as a result, my lead capture pages are usually very short, pithy, and to the point.
My lead capture pages and squeeze pages adhere by a simple nonfunctional requirement, that the end user should be able to figure out the main benefits of what they get, and the benefits of joining my email newsletter within 5 seconds of reading the page.
Always remember that there are no guarantees as to how your lead capture page is going to convert. This is something that I’ve experimented with endlessly, and you really never know how your lead capture page is going to convert until you test it.
That being said, I also advise you to make your lead capture pages relatively simple; mine usually only contain a headline, a brief call to action, and a massive (and I mean massive) submit button.
To learn more simply click on the subscribe button at the top of this page to see my lead capture page in action! (Usually, my lead capture pages convert at or around 50%, which is always my goal).
This is something that you might want to put a lot of thought into, as I can honestly say that my own philosophy has changed on this topic.
Since consistency is very important, it’s also important to figure out how often you’d like to email your list.
Some email marketers love to email their list daily, some like to mail weekly, some like to mail bi-weekly, or even once per month.
My advice is to choose whichever frequency you like the most, and to be perfectly up front about your frequency on your lead capture page so that your subscribers know exactly what to expect.
Email Funnel Component # 4 – A Strategically Elite Thank You Page
In my honest and humble opinion, the difference between having an awesome thank you page (also known as a welcome page) and not having one can be the difference between an astonishingly successful lead generation campaign, and a dismally ineffective failure.
That’s because a good thank you page can accomplish so many different things.
A thank you page can introduce yourself, it can remind your end users to check their email to receive their email magnet, it can tell an awesome story, it can teach something cool, and most importantly, it can PRE-SELL AN AFFILIATE OFFER, or one of your own offers.
I make this a truly special emphasis especially in the case of banner advertising, because my philosophy has always been that if you intend on spending your own hard-earned cash on online advertising, that it would behoove you to try to earn some of that marketing budget back as soon as possible.
In my book, I can earn my marketing budget back almost immediately, then anything else that I get as a result of the email marketing campaign is purely a big fat juicy bonus. That’s always my goal whenever I advertise; to make my money back as quickly as possible.
In other words, I try my best to make my confirmation page an elegant marketing sequence that is aimed to build rapport, to introduce myself, and to of course promote one of my own products, or an awesome affiliate offer. Immediately.
Pre-selling is super easy, and personally I might accomplish it by saying the following:
“If you want to learn more about XYZ, then be sure to check out my favorite XYZ resource by clicking the big button below”.
(Of course, I would also include an affiliate disclosure if I’m promoting an affiliate offer).
Email Funnel Component # 5 – A Beautiful Automated Followup Sequence
One thing that I’d like to be perfectly honest and upfront about, is that I’m one of the laziest humans that I know.
Seriously, I’m ruthlessly lazy and I dare say sloth-like in my marketing endeavors, which to me, is why email automation is so important.
The idea of having to send daily broadcast emails or even weekly broadcast emails is something that doesn’t excite me very much; what happens if I encounter an epic case of writer’s block, get sick, or just don’t feel like writing any email newsletter content?
Since I personally feel that consistency is utterly and ridiculously important for email marketers, you can see how email newsletter publishers can arguably never take a day (or a week) off.
Well, that’s the beauty of email automation.
As of this moment, I’m managing an email autoresponder sequence that has over 50 messages (spaced out about a week apart) and I’m currently working on adding a boatload more content.
Why is this so important?
Well, that way, I know for a fact that if a new lead joins my email list, they’re going to get drip fed a high quality stream of my very best content, consistently and reliably without me having to put in any extra work.
That way, if I get sick, lose power, or just feel epically and dismally lazy, I don’t have to panic or bend over backwards because I know for a fact that my email autoresponder sequence is going to greet each subscriber with powerful content each and every week, even if I’m totally out of town or out of commission (lol).
How To Find The Best Banner Ad Marketplace
There are so many different banner ad marketplaces and advertising networks these days, so how can you find the best one?
Well, after studying this kind of stuff for a long time, and keeping my eyes on different advertising networks over the years, I honestly like BuySellAds the best.
I have been keeping track and indexing different advertising networks in my advertising rolodex for quite some time, and one of the reasons I’m a fan of BuySellAds is because they’ve been around for a very long time; I’ve noticed that many other advertising networks simply don’t last.
BuySellAds offers a massive inventory of hugely popular websites that are eager to sell you a banner advertisement.
BuySellAds also offers other types of advertising options, such as native advertising, email marketing advertisements, sponsored content advertisements, and a few other formats.
The banner advertisements vary in cost, though in my opinion they are relatively inexpensive, and won’t cost you a fortune to experiment.
And I place special emphasis on experiment; always remember that you never know how any advertisement campaign is going to convert until you test. Anything that anyone ever tells you regarding their own results, are purely and simply their own.
Any assumptions or guesses that you have regarding how your marketing campaigns will convert, are simply that, a guess.
The only way to know for sure how your campaigns are going to convert, is to test.
That’s why testing is always so important, and split testing different campaigns can be one of the most valuable skills and activities that small business owners, marketers and advertisers possess.
What Type Of Websites Can You Advertise On With Banner Ads?
When you browse the marketplace on BuySellAds you might be shocked to see all of the big name brands that want to sell you a banner ad slot.
As of today, websites such as npr.org, the Warrior Forum, Search Engine Journal, and Joomla! are just a tiny handful of websites selling advertising slots, among many other brands. (In case you’re wondering, just these five websites have many tens of millions of impressions that they would love to sell you).
One huge tip is to always try to investigate each and every website that you are considering advertising on, so you can better endeavor to see if your lead magnet (or any creative) is a good match for the audience.
Additionally, you can always contact the webmaster or the staff of the website owner to see if they have any demographic data available for advertisers, or if they would even mind taking a look at your creative to see if their audience might appreciate your content. (Always remember that as an advertiser you’re a paying customer! So never be too shy to ask for their honest feedback; they know their audience better than most).
How Much Do Banner Ads Cost? Is This A Cost Per Click Thing Or What!
Banner ads are very different from your traditional Pay Per Click Ad, or even a Solo Ad or any type of advertisement where you pay per click.
That’s not the way banner ads work.
Instead, with a banner ad, you pay for something called “impressions”. An impression is simply an instance where an end user sees your banner ad. The impressions are measured in 1,000 impression intervals.
Therefore, it’s possible for you to purchase a banner advertisement and get ZERO clicks. However, it’s also possible for you to get lucky and get much more clicks than you would have guessed! That’s precisely why I’m always ranting and raving about how important it is to test, and why our opinion never really matters (the only thing that matters is the actual results that our advertising experiments yield).
In any event, each website on BuySellAds sets their own price per impression; they might charge $2 per 1,000 impressions, or $20 per impressions, it’s their prerogative and decision to make. The best advice I can give you is to check out the marketplace, and also look out for any discounts that are currently running, which you can quickly check out by following this link: https://www.buysellads.com/buy/allsites/by/discounts.
One Sneaky Banner Advertising Trick…
One thing that I personally love to do, is spy on different ads that people are using right now. This is so easy for anyone to do these days. You can type in a word in search engine, and then see the very ads that people are paying for. The same is possible with the world of banner ads; simply find a site that is accepting banner ad slots, then simply observe the actual website to find out what types of banner ads advertisers are running.
What do their banners look like? What do their lead capture pages look like? What kind of products are they promoting? This is especially exciting to me if I notice that a particular advertiser has been advertising for a long time; because then I make the safe assumption that their advertising is performing well…
I would advise you to do the same; study your market! Try to keep your eyes on websites that you might want to advertise on; pay special attention to existing banner advertisements on their sites!
What kinds of products, services and marketing funnels are people advertising with here? This is infinitely more potent if you can keep your eyes on the advertising landscape over a period of time.
Why is this important? Well, if you notice that a certain advertiser keeps running the same ad, then it might be a good indicator that this specific ad is successful. (There’s no guarantee of course, however, it might be worth noting).
This type of information can truly be invaluable to you, because ask yourself this one question: if someone is running an advertisement on a particular website, over and over again, then there’s a good chance that the advertisement is working, right?
This type of information might prove valuable to you, because if you have a reasonable suspicion that a particular banner advertisement is working for a particular audience, then you may be able to learn something from that.
This is just food for thought; and rant aside what I’m trying to say is that it might be a worthy endeavor to spy on the banner ads that other advertisers are running, especially if you notice that a particular ad has been running for a long time! (Makes sense, right?).
But Dude! What About Ad Blockers? Do Banner Ads Still Work?
To be brutally honest, I’m one of the strangest marketers in the world because I myself absolutely loathe and despise annoying and obtrusive advertising, and yes, I can relate to those who use ad blockers in order to prevent annoying ads from destroying the browsing experience.
And, I suspect that since around 25% – 28% of those from the USA use ad blockers, that there’s a good chance you use an ad blocker too. (Source: statista, the statistics portal.)
The good news is that BuySellAds has you covered, and they promise not to count any impressions from website visitors who are using ad blockers; in other words, in accordance with BuySellAds policy, if someone is using an ad blocker, that impression will not count for your banner advertising campaign when using BuySellAds.
How To Get Cool Looking Banners Designed Without Spending A Fortune, Or Anything At All
These days there are so many cool ways to find awesome banners that can help to promote your lead magnet, your lead capture page, your squeeze page, or any type of opt-in funnel that you had in mind.
One of the coolest ways is a totally free service called Canva. Canva is probably one of my favorite graphic design tools overall, and there’s an abundant wealth of really cool banner ad templates (of all shapes and sizes) that you can use here for free.
There’s also Fiverr.com, which is arguably one of the most affordable outsourcing marketplaces on the planet. You can easily find a halfway competent banner design on Fiverr for relatively cheap money.
Another tip I have is to simply Google for “free banner template”, “free banner templates” or something along those lines; after a quick search I myself have found some cool resources right on the first page.
Thanks So Much For Checking This Out! You Rock!
I want to thank you so much for reading this humble blog post.
I’ve tried my best to outline a really cool strategy that outlines how anyone, even a dire marketing newbie can successfully endeavor to generate leads using banner ads.
I know how tight one’s marketing budget can be these days, so I always advise my colleagues and friends alike to put forth their due diligence before embarking upon any paid advertising campaign, and I always advise everyone to start small, and to test like your life was on the line!
I truly hope that this document serves you well, and always invite you to contact me in the event that you run into a snag or simply have any questions.
Until next time, please have a beautiful day.
Cordially and humbly yours…
Mike “The Banner Ad” DeVincent