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Banner Ads

 by: SBC Staff

Banner ads can be an important part of your advertising efforts.  Clearly define what you want to accomplish with them and write your ad copy with your target audience in mind.  Focus on the benefit provided by your product.  You donít have a lot of room on a banner ad so donít waste it.  Make sure you include a call to action.  If you want them to visit your web page, ask them to.  If you want them to buy your product, ask them to buy.  Donít waste your space being vague.  Use color in your ad.  Use bright vibrant colors such as yellow, blue and green.  These colors seem to draw better based on testing. 

Recently, a lot of people have begun using banner ads that resemble Windows control objects, like menus, click boxes and radio controls.  These generally have a very good click rate, estimated at anywhere from four to nine percent.  It seems like when people see these controls; they just canít help clicking on them to see what happens.  What happens, of course, is they get directed where you want them to go.  The controls donít actually work.  Clicking on the banner activates the hyperlink to your site.  However, if you design a banner where the controls actually work, the click through rate is even better, often approaching 15 percent!  Naturally, if youíre not a programmer yourself youíll have to get someone who is to design them for you.  For the higher click-through rates it might be worth it.

Donít lose sight of your purpose when you are designing your killer banners.  They must be fast loading or no one will have the patience for them.  If you design them yourself, your graphics design program might include a tool that will help you analyze how fast they load at various connection speeds.  You might have to upload it your website and check the speed of loading with various connections.  Have your friends help you check it out.  You can also find a tool at www.gifwizard.com to compress your graphics files up to 90 percent without a loss of quality.

Many people forget to include an Alt-Text tag for their graphics.  Many people turn off the graphics on their browser to make web pages load faster.  These people will never see your beautiful banner and will miss your message altogether unless you provide an Alt-Text tag.  Put your message in the tag so that everyone gets to see it!

Now that you have a set of banners to promote your web site or product, where are you going to put it?  You obviously need to post them on sites that have a lot of traffic.  Go to www.alexa.com and get the Alexa toolbar to add to your browser.  It will provide you with an analysis of the amount of traffic a website receives.  It also provides name and contact information in case you want to contact companies to propose a banner exchange.  Of course, if your web site doesnít get a lot of traffic, the companies you contact will not be interested in an exchange, so you may have to pay for banner placement for a while.  You want to be careful with banner exchange deals.  You donít want your website to be full of enticing banners that pull your visitors away from your site.  Itís hard enough to get them there in the first place.  Donít let them get away that easily!  And never, ever put these banners on your home page.  At least let your visitors browse your site for awhile before being whisked away to another site.

If you have FFA pages, most of them will allow you to place your own banner there.  Do so.  Even though not many eyes will ever see your FFA page, some will.  Itís not uncommon for us to receive 20 to 30 actual visitors to each of our FFA pages every two weeks.  It doesnít cost you anything to place your banner there and it just might produce traffic.

Donít have a graphics program to create banners?  Here are a few sites on the web where you can create them:

www.crecon.com/banners.html

www.quickbanner.com

www.3dtextmaker.com

www.addesigner.com

These sites are free, so try them out.

There are also many banner exchange sites on the web you could avail yourself of.  But again, you will probably end up filling your site with other peopleís banners that lure your visitors away from your site before you have a chance to sell them anything.  We believe you should be very selective in choosing banners for your site.  If you must have other peopleís banners on your site, make sure they are a link to a company that you highly respect and that is complementary to your business.

 

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