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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sell your site, not your space

If you're trying to get advertisers to buy on your site, remember that it's not about the space you have, it's about your audience. You're not selling blocks of space, you're selling what your site has to offer.

You're selling access to your audience.

So if you want advertisers, you need to know who your audience is. What they're doing online and otherwise. I don't care how much traffic you get, I want to know who those people are. Remember, if it were about traffic I could just buy ads on Hotmail and be done with it.

But it's not and can't be about traffic, and it's usually not about reach. It's about hitting a demographic. It's about finding the people most likely to be interested in the product I'm trying to sell them. And I need to know if your audience is in that demo. If you don't know that, then I'm not interested.

And that means that you also need to find the people most likely to be interested in buying your product. You need to be reaching out to advertisers with the information you have, and you need to find compelling reasons for them to buy on your site.

Too many publishers think that just because their site is popular, or has a niche target, that advertisers will suddenly be interested in buying.

I can find your site's audience somewhere else.

Nobody only reads one site on the internet. I can always nab them when they're checking their webmail. Come find me and tell me why it would be better for me to advertise to them when they're on your site, and then I'm interested.


Kyle said...

I think a good example of this is how Freelance Switch (a blog/website aimed at freelancers in general), contains google text ads for freelance jobs, and also banner ads for accounting and time tracking services. They know their audience. That demographic is much more likely to be interested than a general design or writing blog, because those users may be fulltime and not need accounting or timetracking services.

My biggest pet peeve is when I'm on a design website and I see ads for design services. It's such a waste of money. That's like leaving "Got Milk" posters at a dairy farm. But I digress.

Joel Kelly said...

Totally, great point Kyle. I've basically dumped Google's content network when doing search engine buys. Advertising and media are all about context, and its "contextual" system gets it all wrong.