Grabbing Your Share of Commerce Gold

Thanksgiving is behind us now, launching us officially into the “Holiday Shopping Season.” And this year, that means the season of e-commerce as every researcher, pundit and man-on-the-street predicts a record year for online sales. Are you getting your share?

If your site sells products directly to consumers, you’ve no doubt been focused on building for the holidays for months now. But what about the advertising-sponsored sites? What can you do to collect on the gold rush?

Here’s a quick list of ideas for garnering incremental revenue between now and year-end, by capitalizing on a market primed for online commerce:

  • Add shopping buttons to your product list, so commerce sites can buy non-rotating placement on relevant content pages.

  • Offer a revenue share deal on unsold inventory, even if you NEVER go off CPM rates. But add some conditions — just through ’98, only for programs to start within three days of contract (so you don’t have to hold back potentially sellable inventory), and/or just for parts of your site that don’t command high CPMs.

  • Experiment with cost-per-referral ads on your hard to sell pages, then track results carefully. It’s a good idea to keep records of specific results, which will help you better evaluate and choose among future pay-for-performance ads, and even help you better target for CPM advertisers.

  • Contact every advertiser you can think of, with special year-end offers for commerce-related ads. There are commerce-specific dollars out there. Let those advertisers know you have a program just for them.

  • Make sure you know how to calculate ROI for various pricing plans, so advertisers and prospects can gauge their likelihood of success.

  • Sign up with as many reputable affinity programs as you can. Your visitors are as likely to buy books or CDs as any others, shouldn’t you be collecting referrals on all that business?

  • Remember the “use it or lose it” rule — the ad budgets of many companies have to be spent during their fiscal year or these budgets disappear. Make sure you have a compelling offer to get that “extra” budget to your site.

Whether these specific tactics are right for you or not, you can win a bigger share of the holiday shopping budgets by thinking like a marketer, by understanding what e-commerce sites need to succeed (access to the visitors and surfers who are looking to buy), and by being flexible and creative about meeting those needs.

Remember: There’s gold in them thar hills!

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