Taking a forum to the next level of sales.

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Hello there.
I currently run two horticulture/garden related sites, one blog-style just fresh off the presses, and the elder of the two an Irish gardening forum.

The forum from what I can tell has the highest traffic of any garden related site within this Isle. The site is gardenplansireland dot COM /forum/
The past month saw it pull in 80,000 unique visitors and over 160,000 page loads.
If my research is correct this is over two or three times the traffic of its nearest niche competitor.

I am thinking of spreading my wings into button advertising and possibly a directory with premium listings.

My question is this, the technical end will be ok, but I am not a salesman, so how do I go about selling these placements.
I read on another thread someone mentioned hiring a telesales rep on commission, can this be done?
Or would I be better approaching the businesses myself.

When I see my closest competitor successfully selling listings, I think to myself, "I could offer the same, times two or three, for a similar fee".

Any thoughts?
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
There are a variety of options open to you....

You could look at some of the affiliate networks, that might help you get much higher revenue.

You could get one of the agencies to handle the sales of the ad space (though I've had very mixed experiences with the Irish ones ...)
 

Anouilh

New Member
I'm very pleased to be reminded about your excellent site. I don't know about other people, but I very much dislike being contacted directly by companies, particularly if they use the telephone. It can all end up being very time consuming, both for the sellers and for me. Several very pushy companies have actually lost my goodwill in the past few years by sending people to give the "hard sell" at my front door. I would think clearly about how to proceed.
 

eteanga

New Member
I took a look at your forum, but I actually couldn't see any Google ads. Are they only displayed when you're logged in?

I have an Irish language forum (irishgaelictranslator dot com / translation). Ads are actually only displayed to people who are not logged in, to keep the regulars happy.

The best ad spot for revenue is the links unit in the top left. Take a look, you might get some ideas.

Otherwise, you could leverage the traffic of the forum to sell other products, rather than just display more image adverts.
 
You could look at some of the affiliate networks, that might help you get much higher revenue.
Will look into that, thanks. By affiliates you mean ads like tradedoubler right?

You could get one of the agencies to handle the sales of the ad space (though I've had very mixed experiences with the Irish ones ...)
Where would I find these agencies. Care to share who you found good or otherwise, even via PM.

Anouilh; said:
Several very pushy companies have actually lost my goodwill in the past few years by sending people to give the "hard sell" at my front door. I would think clearly about how to proceed.
I hear what you are saying Anouilh. I run a mile from that kind of stuff as well.
I suppose I just need to get the word out some way about the traffic we can supply to an advertiser in this Irish niche area.


Anouilh; said:
Otherwise, you could leverage the traffic of the forum to sell other products, rather than just display more image adverts.
Like the affiliate networks mentioned by blacknight possibly. Or another Idea I have seen is the integrated amazon garden store. I've heard it performs very poorly saleswise though.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
Will look into that, thanks. By affiliates you mean ads like tradedoubler right?
Yes - there's links to loads of them in the footer of every page here :)

Where would I find these agencies. Care to share who you found good or otherwise, even via PM.
Generator.ie would be good, but I'm not sure what level of traffic you'd need for them

Like the affiliate networks mentioned by blacknight possibly. Or another Idea I have seen is the integrated amazon garden store. I've heard it performs very poorly saleswise though.
FYI - Amazon won't ship a lot of its inventory to Ireland, so unless you're getting UK traffic it won't work too well for you
 

MayaLocke

New Member
Why don't you post a query in the forum inviting advertisers to PM you? Chances are people are posting because they have relevant content, they might jump at the chance to increase their profile through advertising.
 

Anouilh

New Member
PMs are a good idea just so long as there is an element of trust involved. I have to admit I have come to avoid the subtexts of many PM users in general chat rooms, as they can be used by posters with large egos to reprimand. That said, I am pleased with the PM system here which is useful for keeping in contact with friends.
 
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