We know, this title sounds like clickbait bullshit, but we’re being honest! Within the past 6 months we’ve successfully used this technique to add between $1,500 and $2,000/mo in easy revenue on two different niche affiliate sites we owned (one has since been sold).
What we did is really one of the oldest money making methods in the book, but most niche site owners either neglect it entirely or assume it just plain won’t work for them. We’re talking about selling direct advertising packages, with a few kickers for the modern era.
If you want to skip to the good stuff, hop down to “Case Study 1” and “Case Study 2”!
What Are These “Direct Ad Packages”?
We’re defining this phrase to mean a bundle of advertising or promotional content that you sell directly to a business – most likely a manufacturer for a product in your niche.
We have included some of the following in our promotional packages –
- One sidebar ad, no direct competitor ads to be displayed on the sidebar.
- A small banner below the navigation menu inviting users to look at a product review hosted on our website.
- A call out on a ranking table to tag their product as “Popular” or “Trending”.
- Being locked in as the “most recommended” product for the duration of the deal*
*This may be considered a moral grey area for some people. Personally, we only attempt deals with businesses that are in the top tier of their industry so we are never being deceptive with our rankings. Doing such would give your site a bad reputation over the long-run, so it’s really not worthwhile.
Also, be sure to read over the FTC guidelines as they say you need to disclose you have received a payment from the company. Usually something like “We have received compensation from Acme Inc in exchange for sharing our honest review with our audience” is sufficient.
How Do I Sell These Packages?
How you go about selling promotional packages for your affiliate site will vary on a few different things, and for some sites it will be much harder than others.
The first factor you’re going to need to consider is your own niche site. Ask yourself the following questions–
- Does my site look legitimate or spammy (e.g., is your homepage a crappy “Best Shower Heads I’ve Never Touched!” page?)
- Would a brand want to be associated with my site? Which ones?
- Are your website page views trending up or down, month-to-month?
- Does your website have an active community or following either on your site or on social media? (Companies put a ton of weight on your follower count )
- Have you been responsible for an impressive amount of products sold directly in their product category? (e.g., count how many blenders you sold on Amazon Affiliates last month)
All of these details are going to make or break your pitch.
The second factor, which is going to be largely beyond your control, is what is your niche market like? Ask yourself the following questions –
- Are there many competitors in the space?
- Does a single company hold the majority of market share?
- Is this a newer, emerging market?
- Are companies in this space likely to be funded by VC’s?
- Do these companies primarily sell online?
The newer, hotter, and more competitive the market, the better the chance you’ll get a taker on your ad package.
For example – if you have a washing machine niche site, you’re going to have a tough time getting LG or GE to have any interest whatsoever. Your niche site will be so small in comparison to their other revenue streams that they won’t give you the time of day.
Some industries are still relatively emerging, but have a dominant company that’s clearly the best at what they do. As a result, they might not see the need to work with a small niche site and if you reach out to “next tier” companies, you risk your site looking dishonest. For example, if your niche site is about action cameras and your top recommendation isn’t from GoPro, you better have a damn good explanation on why something else is better because it won’t be what the user expects.
In an ideal situation, you not only have one interested company, but two or more! As you’ll see below, we allowed companies to bid against each other to take our monthly fee from $1,000 a month to $2,000! In our experience the perfect market for bidding wars on your promotions looks like this –
- Many new high-quality startups and Kickstarters.
- Many great options, but no strong differentiation between products.
- Markets that are hard to find highly targeted channels to their audience.
Now lets take a look at how exactly we went after securing these deals and then we’ll break down what we did and why.
Case Study 1
For this first company, we worked with them a bit in the past by doing an emailed “Q&A” article and posting it to our website, so we had a small relationship built already which will greatly increase your odds of success. Here was our initial pitch-
Well that was easy! However – what we didn’t expect was that after we sent our first email, the competitor we mentioned in the first paragraph offered us $2,000/mo – oops! We still wanted to do a deal with this company though, as they were the best in the niche. While it was a bit nerve racking to go back and ask for more after they accepted our offer, we went for it anyways. The result –
Success! The lesson here is don’t be afraid to ask.
Case Study 2
We made a similar pitch for a different website just recently which had similar traffic numbers, check out the email chain below –
First, I think it’s important to emphasis that this product really was deserving of a 100% review and it truly is a product we happen to use above all others in the niche. Going after an industry leader is something we want to stress, as it keeps your site authentic while still earning extra revenue.
We didn’t include an initial price in order to gauge their interest off the bat. Now that we knew they were interested, we hit them with a ton of details and numbers to drive the point home as to what a great opportunity this was. We also gave them a choice in payments, which is something we haven’t done before but thought it was worth a shot to see if they would pay for the entire year up front…
After they ran the deal by some more internal groups, this hit our bank account in a few days –
The best part about this deal is the client let us still link to Amazon on the sidebar, so we’re still making money from their ads! This was a huge win-win.
Now we can take a look at the who, what, and why of constructing your own email pitch.
As you might have guessed, the pitch will make or break closing the deal. We use a numbers-heavy approach to try and really drive home the value we are providing, but of course if you are running a newer site you’ll have a hard time with this approach as you don’t have as much to offer.
Step 1: Find Out “Who”
Start with a few of your ideal targets. Go to their website, and look for a Contact page that lists out different email address for different departments. You’re looking for something like “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” – addresses like these tend to go to more of the marketing side of things and not the customer support side of things. If all you can find is a general contact email address, then work with that.
Ideally you can start out by getting in contact with someone in advertising or media outreach and work with them on something to build a relationship. It doesn’t have to be anything grand – ask them questions for an article you’re working on, share an article you wrote about their company, tell them you’re looking to do a Q&A about their products for an article you’re working on, etc.
Anything that establishes this connection will give you much better chances of your pitch finding the right person and not falling on deaf ears.
I’d advise finding at least 2 or 3 companies you’d like to work with, and you’ll see why later.
Step 2: Start Your Pitch With “Why”
You first need to show why a company would benefit from advertising on your website. Here are some ideas of what we find is important to include in your pitch if it applies to your site –
- If you’re targeting a specific niche, stress that your traffic is “highly targeted”. Many companies have plenty of advertising budget to go around, but find it difficult to reach their desired audience – be the solution to that issue!
- Include your traffic numbers – this is something they’re going to need to know, so even if you view it as a weakness of your pitch you need to get it out in the open upfront. Our sites only had ~15,000 monthly visitors when we pitched companies, so you don’t need anything extreme here to get a deal done as long as you can argue your visitors are highly targeted and engaged in your niche.
- Share any high ranking SERPs. Do you rank #1 for “best beginner espresso machine”? That’s impressive and offers proof that your visitors are actually looking to spend money on products in your niche. If you’re offering a top ranking on your site, that also makes your offering more valuable.
- Share your sales numbers. You can say something like “Over $50,000 in espresso machine sales this month”, or “sold 50 XYZ Corp espresso machines last month”, whatever you think sounds more valuable to your target. This again shows that your visitors are willing to spend money on the niche.
Step 3: End With “What”
Hopefully you’ve proven your site is someplace they need to advertise, now you have to tell them what they’re buying and for how much. We already covered some ideas of what your promotional package can include up in the ‘What Are These “Direct Ad Packages”?’ section – the trickier part is trying to figure out how much to ask for.
Sadly, there’s no good resources we’re aware of to help you figure out what an appropriate number is. If you know other people running websites you can try to ask them if they’ve sold such advertising deals and if so for how much, but you might have a hard time getting this info from anyone.
Pricing Tactic – Start High, Get Multiple Offers
Our advice is to start higher than you think and send out your pitch to multiple companies at different price ranges. You can even be open about how you’re speaking with multiple companies. This drums up competition as your company won’t want a competitor to get the spot before they do, so they’ll be more likely to act faster if they are interested.
Check out this email chain below – we thought asking for $1,000/month was a pretty high ask only to find out one company was willing to pay $2,000/month!
Our original target (with the best quality products in the niche) initially agreed to pay $1,000/mo, but then eagerly agreed to match the $2,000/mo that a competitor offered. Without seeking multiple offers, we would have left $1,000 a month on the table!
That’s All, Folks!
We encourage you to try this out this very week – the worst a company can say is “no” or ignore you. Best of luck and let us know how it works out in the comments below.