Seven Ground rules for successful banner advertising
Below are a few pointers to a successful banner campaign which I
have gathered from our experience of being the first and still the
largest Banner Ad network specialising in payment by results. Since
the essence of our philosophy is that advertisers should pay for
results, it will not surprise you if I tell you that the most
important issue for you should simply be the conversion rate to
sale. That can vary from unprofitable to brilliant depending upon
what you do.
The fastest growing sector is the results oriented campaign and
this is our speciality. We run everything from campaigns based on
clicks, software downloads, completion of forms, registration,
sales, or affiliate schemes based on confirmed sales. We also do
hybrid campaigns on mixtures of those criteria for payment. At any
one time Safe-Audit is monitoring over 15,000 hostings for around
40 different advertiser campaigns. We have had campaigns that have
been wildly successful and we have had our share of dogs as well.
I think I now have a pretty shrewd idea of what will work and what
will not.
Many people do not understand how to use banners or how to target
them or their expectations are unrealistic. So let me therefore set
out some ground rules for success.
1)  Have the right product. That may sound obvious but it never
ceases to surprise me how many would-be-millionaires think that
selling a product as an MLM distributor on the web can be promoted
using banners. If your product or service is not sufficiently
unique, differentiated, excellent, of good value and with
sufficient margin you are on a non-starter.
2)  Either have a product or service where each sale makes a
substantial  profit or better still sell a repeatable or
consumable. The secret of success on the web is to create community
and build relationships. When you use banners (or any other form of
promotion) do not think in terms of making a sale. Think of buying
a customer.
3)  If you do not want to be dissapointed, have realistic
expectations. Rome wasn't built in a day. You are not going to buy
sales that will make you $50 profit at a promotional cost of $5
unless you are content with just a handful of sales each week. A
good rule of thumb is that you should be willing and prepared to
give away the profit on your first sale in order to buy the
lifetime value of that customer. If what you sell and the service
you provide is not strong enough to make most customers want to
come back and buy again from you, then re-think your business
strategy because you are on a treadmill to nowhere. Another realistic
expectation is that it takes time to refine your strategy so that the
cost of your conversion reduces. No-one - whatever they might 
tell you - gets it right first time. Be prepared to pay for your
experience. There is a pay-off but you need patience and realistic
expectations help you to be patient.
4)  Target your banners intelligently. Even if you are only paying
per result, you want the host sites that carry your banners to make
a good return on doing so. Otherwise they will not stay with you. A
good campaign is where you have had results that progress your
business but also the next time you offer your banners to that host
site they will want to run them. You should be in this for the long
5)  Creative, make sure your message simply states the unique
benefit/s that you can offer someone who clicks through to your
site. Make your message clear, simple, understandable and
unambiguous. Forget the tricks and the fancy graphics. Your message
should qualify your visitor.
You don't want click throughs, you don't want visitors, you want
customers. You are not trying to win a prize, you want to make
6)  Next make sure that the page and the site they are going to hit
when they do click through is clearly connected to the message that
is on your banner. If necessary create a special page to match and
expand upon the message on your banner. Clarity and ease of use
makes sales. Confusion loses them.
7)  Have some good log analysis software so that you can really see
what happens when they do get to your site. Don't fly blind. You
want to know what is generating your sales and if not why not.

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