It is a fact of life that most Marketing
people and Marketing agencies still don't understand the web. By this time
we must be aware that banner advertising is lucky if it gets a 0.5% click
through rate and it's more likely to be 0.2%.
My view has always been that you need to
engage your audience and become part of a community. This means that
simple banner adverts should be enhanced by adding content and links
throughout the site. Becoming part of a community is a powerful way of
Building your brand has always been a major
reason for advertising and so to build that brand look for synergy web
sites that can enhance your message. Not only should you then take out a
banner advert on that synergy site but you should contribute stories or
information to the site and that content should also contain links to your
Treat web sites like up market magazines.
As there is usually limited space on web sites getting a banner advert at
least ensures you exposure for your brand name. By adding stories or
information this will ensure that additional pages on that site are
devoted to your brand. Ensure that these extra pages are not just
advertising... make it compatible with the synergy site and
"give" something to the visitor and don't just try and sell them
By contributing content as well as
advertising the community on the synergy site will look far more favorably
at your brand. Should that synergy site have built a good community
around its site then that community are going to welcome the involvement
of your brand and this gives a very positive response to the brand with
likely uplift in sales.
The key word here is "community".
Really good web sites get many regular visitors that like to visit because
of what the site is offering. This is a major strength and is why
this is probably the most powerful way of getting your message across.
Compare this to traditional magazine
advertising. In a magazine with say a 100,000 monthly circulation you
would expect to pay around £2,000 for a full colour full page advert.
There are likely to be 50+ other full page full colour adverts in the
magazine. To get your advert noticed you might pay £5,000 to get the back
cover or inside front cover. So now you've spent that amount of
money how many people will actually read your advert?
Now compare this with a marketing campaign
with a good synergy web site. Apart from the top 1000 web sites you
will find that if you wish to spend from £2000 to £5000 per month with a
web site you will be likely to get....
1. Your banner or button on every page of
the site or at worst an exclusive banner on the index page. Compare that
with a magazine. You might be on all 500+ pages of a site whereas you'd
only have one page in the magazine!
2. Your opportunity is to link this banner
or button to a page on the synergy web site which you can use to interact
with that web sites regular community. From that page you could spawn
several pages of content.
3. You can offer content to the synergy web
site within your contract with them so that they add further pages of
information to their site with links to your advert or your own web site.
Overall this means you can be the
"only" advertiser or at least one of just a few advertisers
instead of being one of 50 or even 2000 adverts.
So look for sites that target your own
market and if they get around 5,000+ visitor impressions per day then
that's what you are looking for to launch a synergy marketing
campaign. Just like traditional advertising the longer you advertise
in a publication (web site) the better your name will be trusted and
relied upon. It is important to continually add further information to the
synergy site so there is always something new to read and you're always
being brought to visitors attention.
It is also important that you market your
brand appropriate to the synergy web site. Work with the flow of
that web site's community and context and you'll fit right in with that
site and get the very best results. You'll be seen as the "good
guy" for helping out the visitors favourite web site. Just plaster
adverts all over the place and you'll end up irritating the visitor.
Remember that the reason that synergy web site is popular is that they are
doing something other sites are not so you don't want to upset the content
and context of the site and instead want to use it's strengths.
So for the same marketing spend as you
would have in a magazine you will get far more exposure for your brand per
A further consideration is using the
synergy site community for market research. Many good web sites have their
own message boards and so this gives you the opportunity to engage that
community in a market research role. As you are being seen as the
"good guy" for sponsoring or advertising with their favourite
web site they are likely to be responsive in helping you with your
marketing. You could use the message board to ask visitors to
participate in a market research project. In return for them giving you
their home address you might then send them free sample of a product.
Having got that they return to the message board to give their opinions of
the product or even complete a questionnaire. On the one hand the visitor
is receiving free product which is always good and this will likely
encourage even more visitors to the site. On the other hand you are
getting valuable market research which would cost you far more money to do
it in the traditional way. You can also plug the fact that you are
moving to a test market operation and even send out money off vouchers to
the people in the text market area to encourage purchase of it. You can
also use the synergy sites mailing list to offer special offers or free
gifts if they complete a questionnaire.
Finally, should you find a good web site(s)
that fits your company or brand profile then remember that the site is
good because of what it does. Seek to fit into that community to promote
your brand. Customise your marketing message to that site rather than the
other way around. That site is doing something right to be
successful so don't ruin it or waste the opportunity by trying to impose
your marketing style but rather try to fit your marketing style into the
site to compliment it.
Community is the most powerful marketing
tool and to become part of it you will get far better results and remember
that by engaging with that community they also become part of your own
community. We've all heard the story of being a big fish in a small
pond? Well engaging with a web site of 5,000+ visitors per day
you'll likely be a big fish in their pond. That means these sites
will be more than happy to work with you so you get the very best
results. As these site owners are successful at what they do they
also bring you a contribution to your own marketing efforts by bringing
their successful approach to the table. You also can learn from them and
so they are also a good source of knowledge!