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Part 6: Making Money Online in Zimbabwe – Selling Online Advertisement Space

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Many bloggers are disappointed when they find out that it is not very easy to make lots of money from a blog. The good news is that it is possible. The commonest way that bloggers earn money is by selling advertising space to businesses in their niche.

Selling advertisement is the commonest way that people who want to make money online intend to employ. It is a great way of making money, the determinants are:

Having an audience, which is someone’s market.

Sometimes people have huge audiences, but no business is interested in that ‘mob’. A good example – in Africa dating sites may attract many people but no local businesses are willing to advertise on dating sites because of the legal and reputation issues around such websites. To do well in selling advertising space, make sure you grow an audience that some is willing to pay to have access. Without that, you may have a huge following but no money in the pocket. Never mistake popularity for money, they are very far apart and different.

This article is part of a series. Read part one, part two, part 3, part 4 and part 5 here

The right numbers.

Selling advertising space is all about who and how many get to see the adverts. Without sizeable traffic, either advertiser pays less for the banners, or no one will be interested in advertising with you.

The following are important numbers for website owners and advertisers:

  • The number website visitors.
  • The number of webpage views.
  • How long people spent on the website on average.

Help advertisers succeed.

Many people who want to buy advertising space are clueless on how to benefit from online advertising. There are too many times I have seen someone pay for an expensive spot for advertising only to direct the traffic to a social network page! I think those who are selling advertising space should help the advertising business to benefit from advertising with them. The help may include setting up landing pages for the clients or giving them free training on how to benefit from banner advertising. I think if you help advertisers realise ROI on advertising with you, then they would want to keep you as their advertising partner.

Here are some pointers on making online adverts succeed:

  • Have landing pages. Redirecting online banner ads to the website homepage is wrong. People click ads because of interest in the offer, not the brand. Redirect people to a page with more information on the offer. Such pages are called landing pages. Each campaign should have a specific landing page created. You can use tools for creating landing pages my favourite one is Lead Pages.
  • Add to call to action. There are two places to add ‘call to actions’. First, the advert itself and the landing page. Digital marketing works by inviting people to take immediate action. The call to action should ask people to do something right now about the advert they are seeing.
  • Focus on the promise. Brand names rarely make people click on Ads but offers. The design of the ad should focus on the promise and the call to action more than the brand. The call to action and the offer must be prominent in all digital Ads.
  • Design for digital. Create the Ads for digital not print. What’s the difference? Ads for digital should be visible and useful on mobile devices. Also, use images to communicate and the fewer the words, the better.

Reach out to advertisers.

One of the problems people who intend to make online is thinking that ‘if you build it they will come’. It is not true. Get out there and look for people to use your advertising space. It is very important to network with real people at conferences and events even though you are trying to establish an online business. People tend to support someone they feel they know.

To grow the right contacts consider the following:

  •  Attend marketing events and conferences. One of the main advantages of attending conferences if to create contacts and to network with people who are making certain industries move. Bloggers and technocrats often make the mistake of ‘sticking to the computer’. Get out there and meet real people.
  • Self-promotion. We are attracted to great people. The greater you are, the better deals you get in any industry. For many people who are interested in making money online that not the case. To solve this problem, I advise that you turn to self-promotion. Make social posts that make other people see that you are doing great things. A very good example of this is the Road Rules founder – Tawanda Chikosi. He does fantastic self-promotion, which does not come out to me as pride or bragging in any way.
  • Learn how to make online adverts great. It is so sad that many businesses sell things that they do not know how to use. If you sell online advertisement space be ready to answer the question – How can I make my adverts do well? As an online advertising space provider, you should be an authoritative source of information. People will refer each other to you for the help and for the service as well.

Make it easy to contact you and get the right information.

Some people make it very hard to do business with them. Filling the contact form on their website will not get to them; they have blocked new connections on their social media platforms and became these important celebrities – shame! Get the all the generic emails you have sent out there to work. It is not every day, but one of these days an important communication comes through those generic email that many people ignore. Respond social media requests – I have landed many deals and opportunities on the international market through LinkedIn. Be human no matter how popular you become. Another solution is get someone to manage your social profiles. Some people may even offer you this for their portfolio.

Other thoughts on this

Selling adverting space to local business may earn you lots of money, but it is hard to get the deals sealed. Many websites with Ads are not receiving payments for the adverts; they are using the Ads to paying advertisers.
To solve payment and engagement problems you can sign up to Ads networks. The most popular network is Google AdSense. You can sell the advertising space you have to Google. When visitors to your website click AdSense Ads on your website, Google pays you.

How much money you make on AdSense depends on how many people clicked the Ads. Local and targeted the ads are the more clicks you will get.

There are many more Ad Networks other than AdSense. Research may be necessary before making a choice.
Comment below if you like this type content. Ask a question and contribute, let us talk in the comments section.

Trust Nhokovedzo is the founder of Afrodigital Skills Training and a senior consultant at Calmlock Digital Marketing. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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7 thoughts on “Part 6: Making Money Online in Zimbabwe – Selling Online Advertisement Space

  1. I like this post, and agree that ads should be part of the income strategy but tastefully done. I use advertising in my blogs but not the home page.

    1. I also feel that’s the best approach, because people especially in Africa like what trust said, they do not want to be sold to. So the homepage wont be the best target, especially to new “players”.

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