As you all know my focus in the Domaining space has been building businesses on domain names. Notice I don’t say development. I know a zillion people that develop domains or websites and don’t make a dime. I focus on building real businesses that I write business plans for, develop marketing campaigns, color schemes, study the market demographics, reach, etc. This is very different from just throwing-up a website on a domain name and yes, the domain name plays a valuable role but there is a lot more to it.
My business model has also evolved over time to focus more and more on direct advertising vs. Affiliate and AdSense. At the end of the day for me it’s all about controlling how much a visitor on my site is worth.
I received a great email from someone and thought I would share my answer with you. This email came from a person that had, unfortunately, a really crappy domain name with an even crappier website on it. Now I’m not trying to be mean here, you know I’m a nice guy…but this was really really ugly! They said that they were having trouble getting people to advertise on their site and wanted to know the best way to close direct ad deals.
There are a number of ways to close direct ad deals however in my mind there is one “Best” way that I’ve learned over time. This is actually similar to domain sales as well which is what I like about it so much. The best way to close direct ad deals is to have the advertiser come to you. That’s right, the best advertising deals I’ve closed across a number of my sites have been from advertisers contacting me directly who want to put an ad on my site. The parallel with domain sales here is great – most of the real-deal full-time Domainers that I know sell domains not by sending tons of emails or making phone calls, they get lots of offers on their names and negotiate that way.
When I asked one of my Domainer buddies if he’s ever sent-out emails or made calls to sell a domain, he laughed, “why would I do that and lose my leverage when people are making offers on my names every day?” The same is true with direct advertising. While I do still close deals by reaching-out to companies I think would be good advertising partners, the best way to close deals is to let them come to you.
If you build a real business that is useful and becomes known in the niche you are in, the advertisers will come. Do you think TechCrunch has someone out there trying to get people to put ads on their site? I highly doubt it, they have build an amazing resource and that attracts advertisers.
Just like with domain names, if you find that you’re emailing hundreds of people, making endless cold calls, and aren’t having much success – it’s time to look at what you’re selling. A crappy domain name isn’t going to be of much interest to domain investors or end-users, the same is true for a crappy website or poorly-built business. You should be able to easily give a reason why someone would want to buy your domain or advertise on your site. The number of times I’ve heard a Domainer say, “you could build a great site on this domain” as part of their sales pitch drives me crazy. If you really could, and that site would make a fortune, you would be getting email from end-users, not sending emails to them.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to actively sell your domains or that you shouldn’t be out there pounding the pavement signing-up direct advertising partners for your businesses. What I am saying is that the best of the best domains and businesses have buyers and advertisers coming to them. Buy a truly premium domain name, build a truly premium businesses, that’s the best way to get the most money for your time…which is pretty darn important – isn’t it?