Branding With Banners

You might have heard that banner advertising is dead. Nothing could be further from the truth! If you can find a banner exchange that gives you a decent ratio you can begin branding of your site, and branding may be the one thing you MUST do to get and keep business.

Banner ads and banner exchanges are great tools for branding your site. Even better, most banner ads can be shown for free through banner swaps. It isn't necessary to purchase ads to have a successful branding campaign.

You must however, remember the most important part about using banners for branding --The Brand! Never create a banner, button, or other graphic to submit to any exchange be it banner ads, reciprocal links, etc., that does not have your name, logo, or tag line (Slogan) on it.

Try to get two of the three on it if you can, and always have a call to action on the banner; such as, "Click here!", "Sign up today!", or "Limited Time!" to get the viewer to click on the link and visit your site.

Whether they purchase or not is not important - well, not the main thing -- getting your brand (Site, name, product, etc.) in front of the potential customer is the goal for a first time viewer of your banner.

The whole idea behind branding is getting your name or face out there over and over again so people who are surfing see you everywhere they go!

Are you more likely to purchase a product from someone you have never heard of or someone you know has been around a long time because you remember their name, logo or tag line? "Surely they must be legit, or I would not see them advertised everywhere!" is what you want people to think whenever they see your ad or are at your site and getting ready to make a purchase.

The biggest mistake people make is expecting a huge click through rate on a banner the very first time it is put out there and then quitting when that does not happen. Don't think of banner ads as a one-time thing. People rarely click on a banner the first, second or even third time they see it.

Think of a banner ad as your big golden arches. The first time you see it you ask, "What is it?"

The second time you see it, you remember, "Oh yes that's that hamburger place."

And maybe the third time you see it you say, "Hey, I think I will try one of those hamburgers!"

Hopefully, by the third, fourth or fifth time someone sees your name or logo on a banner ad they will "Try your burger" too!

Here are some resources to give you a start:

Banner Exchanges:
----------------
This list updated 4/16/05

The one I recommend is BannersGoMLM.
(http://www.bannersgomlm.com)
They give you a 1 to 1 ratio and you can earn banner exposures
based on the credits earned by people who sign up through you.

Some others you can try out are:

BannerSwap (http://www.bannerswap.com)

Offers a 1:2 ratio and supports following banner dimensions:
468x60; 500x350; 160x600; 88x31; 468x60 Flash Banners

Exchange-it (http://www.exchange-it.com)

Offers a 2:1 ratio; 468x60 banners

WorldBE ( http://www.worldbe.com)

Offers the top 50% performing members an exchange ratio of 1:1.
The next-best performing 25% of members receive a 4:3 exchange
ratio while the last 25% receive a 2:1 exchange ratio.

123Banners: (http://www.123banners.com)
Offers a 2:1 ratio; 468x60 banners

Link Buddies: (http://linkbuddies.com)
Established in 1997!

Click Through Ratio* Exchange Rate
Top 1% of all LinkBuddies Members 1:1
Top 10% of all LinkBuddies Members 4:3
Top 25% of all LinkBuddies Members 3:2
Top 75% of all LinkBuddies Members 2:1
Top 90% of all LinkBuddies Members 5:2
Bottom 10% of all LinkBuddies Members 10:1

All LinkBuddies member needs to achieve 100 impressions within two weeks to be eligible for sliding exchange rates.

Provides you an easy-to-use three step wizard to create up to ten
banners. 468x60 banners

Online Banner Creation Sites:
----------------------------

Free:
----

Here are some places you can create banners (and buttons and other linked graphics) "on the fly" so to speak. The ones I have listed here are free, there are tons more that have annual fees. Some of the ones below also offer a "for fee" version. Be sure to read all of their rules for using their services and finished banners - usually called "Terms of Service".

Creative Connectivity: (http://www.crecon.com/banners.html)

The original one I have used for years until I got the nifty little software program from Xara.

Banner Creator: http://www.bannercreator.nu/ main page the banner generator is here: http://www.bannercreator.nu/banner-maker.html

Banner Forge http://bannerforge.com All the standard sizes plus a 120x240 vertical size.

Fee:
---

These sites charge an annual or per banner fee, but you usually get a larger choice of graphics and a better customization service. Some are do-it-yourself and others are professional services that have graphic artists create your banner for you.

Be sure to read all of their rules for using their services and finished banners - usually called "Terms of Service".

http://www.quickbanner.com Nice looking banners of all sizes. Flash and other advanced banners starting at $14.95. You can still get some .GIF banners (468x60) and buttons (88x33) for free.

Cool Banners: (http://coolbanners.com): Fees range from $50 for smaller button-type banners to $300 dollars for interactive html banners.

Strategic Solutions: (http://www.ss-banners.com/ ) Standard size banners (486x60) as static, html, animated or flash. Prices range from $75 - $300 plus a "rush fee" of $200 for 24 hour turnaround.

Where to Place Your Banners:
----------------------------

You know where to start, now you have to decide where to put those banners you are swapping. It is better to link to a sub page than your homepage so target the offers on your banners (Not leaving off your logo or name though!) to specific pages on your site.

Do you offer a newsletter?

Great! Put that information on a banner and link it to your sign up page.

Do you sell software?

Put that on a banner and link it to your software description / order page. And so on until you have people coming in from all over.

If you have created your site correctly with links to all the other pages easily accessible on every page, then visitors will find your other content even though they did not come in from the "front door".

----NOTE----
Don't forget to put a sign up form on every page for your news- letter and a link for swapping links or classified ads. If you do not know how to do this or don't have a newsletter or swap links page set up find the tutorials you need to set them up at http://treefreepublishing.com/articles/
----NOTE----

Once you have your banners out there, don't slack off! Go back to the exchanges you joined and see how the banners are doing. If you have one that is doing nothing and it has been up for awhile (giving it a chance to be seen several times by surfers) pull it and put up another one instead.

Try animated against non-animated, bright colors against flashy fonts, etc., until you find that perfect set of three or four banners that work well for you consistently.

Once you have your select banners, rotate them amongst the different exchange services. A banner that isn't new on Banner Exchange A can be swapped to banner Exchange B and start out new again! After that, move it to Banner Exchange C, until you rotate it back to where you started- and guess what? Enough time has passed that you can use it in Banner Exchange A again and it is fresh all over again.

Ok, now that you are all ready to brand yourself- get out there and start submitting your banner!

"Techie" Teri Mramer is the busy web master at TreeFree Publishing, your home for all electronic publishing services and do-it-yourself publishing resources. http://TreeFreePublishing.com and... The Editor of Epublishing Express- The only ezine that teaches ebook and ezine publishing with screenshots and multimedia how-to videos! http://Epublishing-Express.com and... Also author of "Easy Web Site Audio!" The Easy Web Site Audio tutorial! e-Manual comes with 15 how-to videos. Add audio to your web site in about an hour! http://easy-web-site-audio.com

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