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Selling Advertising – Cold Email Do's and Don'ts

Mr. Pumpkin and Mr. Apple

Photo by: Orin Zebest

I receive quite a few direct messages from folks asking me to consider advertising with them on messages are almost always examples of poor marketing. I feel for you. If you want to get better, read this post. If you follow these tips, you’re bound to generate more good will and find some buyers. Trust me.

Add Value

Before you contact someone (like myself), ask yourself: what kind of extra value can you create for this person when they deal with you directly. Shotgunning an email with your URL and saying “buy from me! buy from me!” adds no extra value to your service. Contacting someone and offering them something they can’t get through the direct channel, that may get their attention.

When I market Feedback Army via email, I usually offer a coupon for 10 free responses. This is me offering something without demanding something from the person I contacted. This immediately creates some good will. If the relationship ever had a chance, it’s going to do a lot better now.

Maybe you’re asking: “hey, great you have a service… I just have a website and there is no way for me to give my ad space away”. I buy that. But there are things you can do.

For example, you can say “hey, I have a newsletter with 5,000 subscribers. If you’re interested, I can add your link to it one day and we’ll see what kind of response you get from my audience. If it benefits your business, you should consider advertising on my site to reach more of this audience every day”.

I’ve also seen webmasters offer to tweet a “welcome our new sponsor” message to their Twitter followers. Things like this add value over raw CPM and ad space on your blog.

There is a goal to this value add. When you contact someone, you want them to feel special because they received the message from you. Offering something they wouldn’t get otherwise is a great way to do this.

Avoid Irrelevant Facts

When contacting a potential advertiser, stick to facts that are relevant to the advertiser. It’s great that your site is PR5 but since the ads are nofollow type links, that does not benefit the person you’re trying to get to hand money over to you.

I sometimes advertise on sites outside my niche. For example, I ran an ad on a site that caters to graphic designers with stock vector art, Photoshop paint brushes, and other stuff I’ve never used. I do this because I’m curious to see how a different audience will respond to my advertising. I got an email from someone touting how many brushes and other things they had on their site and trying to lure me to them based on that alone. This led me to ask, did they even look at my site? This gets me to my final tip:

Personalize Your Message

When contacting someone, always take a minute to look at their site. It’s ok to send a template email. You’re in business and need to save some time. But always leave room to customize the first few sentences for whoever you’re emailing. Your goal is to make sure they know you looked at their site and you’re not just blasting a message to a bunch of different people.

That’s it. The goal is to make sure the person you’re writing to feels special. Personalize your message, tailor it to your audience (they’re reading it, not you), and finally add value. If you do, you’ll do great.

Posted in business musings on March 23, 2010 | 1 Comment »

One Comment on “Selling Advertising – Cold Email Do's and Don'ts”

Usability Testing Tips and Handbook – How I Market Feedback Army Says:

[...] information, I contact the blog owner modifying the first sentence or two of a template email to say something about their site. I also include a coupon for the blog owner to try Feedback Army. I usually see a response from [...]

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