Can you believe that it’s 2011, and many internet marketers are still using banners as a means of promoting products?
Banners do have their place on webpages still, however “banner blindness” is a common occurrence, meaning the average visitor doesn’t even see those banners anymore, as they have been trained to ignore them.
Open up your web history for today, look at the sites listed and try and think if they had banner ads, where the banner ads were placed, and what the banners actually were. Chances are you won’t be able to answer all 3 of those with any sort of confidence, yet if you go back and look you’ll see banner ads all over the place! It’s funny how we’ve all been accustomed to completely ignoring banners.
So, with the unfortunate disease of banner blindness what can we, as internet marketers do? Here are 10 alternatives to utilizing banners that should help you when it comes to promoting products.
(1) Text Links
This is an obvious one, right? I don’t need to really explain this, as it’s the most common form of advertising these days. Write an article, and add text links within it. You can offer a variety of different types of text links, to see what works best for you.
Text links can be discreet. I could write an article on poker CPA and mention that “It should also be noted that Poker Affiliate Solutions offer better CPA deals than the standard room offers.” That’s a resourceful but discreet type of text link. Or it could be more in your face; after every paragraph I could have this paragraph breaker:
Be sure to experiment with different text links too, to see what works. A popular option at the moment is linking via the url – instead of the link being Poker Affiliate Solutions I would make the link http://www.pokeraffiliatesolutions.com.
Also note that for all these examples, I only used the one affiliate program to promote. Via split testing, I’ve often found that repeated marketing of the same brand will see more visitors clicking through.
(2) Page Peel
I’m not talking about Page Peel specifically – but more what the Page Peel ad represents in todays online world. This sort of ad was really popular back in 2009. At the top right of the page there would be an animated icon encouraging you to “peel the page back” to see the ad below it, just like this:
In theory, the person would click and be presented with an advertisement, with the user fully focused on it which would of course, increase the chances of the user clicking through. Page Peel was one of many “advertising trends” – where one webmaster sees a site doing it, and immediately copies it. The fact is, a lot of this is hit and miss but you should ALWAYS keep updated on the latest advertising trends. Following a lot of internet marketing blogs is a good way to do that – most of them write junk content, but they’re always trying out new marketing methods.
Will methods like the Page Peel work? Depends on your website, and your visitors. Best thing to do is to keep on top of all the new trends, and split-test like crazy.
(3) Pop Ups / Pop Downs / Pop Unders / Pop Tarts
Pop pop pop pop pop! Pop up ads are back, and seemingly more popular than ever, with various new styles of popups. You have the classic popup ads that immediately open up a new browser window, popups that cover up the content(usually used to promote a mailing list) like this one(click for full size):
That’s a very popular one BTW, called Popup Domination. I’d say every 8 out of 10 internet marketing blogs I visit use that so if you’re looking at building a mailing list, I’d check that out.
Other options include a popup that appears at the bottom of the browser. I’m split-testing this right now on Casino Answers – after a second or two of being on the page, a mailing list promo pops up at the bottom:
The fact is, there are an absolute TON of popup options out there. Some are intrusive, some are barely noticeable – it all depends on how much you want to harass your visitor. Then it’s a case of just testing out every option, and seeing what works best for you.
Buttons are great. They’re a direct call to action that paople always notice. Most people will use them within the context of a table. They’ll list the “Top 5 Casinos” and then put a “Play” button beside each casino name. However you can use web buttons to simply promote a product. People don’t suffer “banner blindness” when it comes to buttons – they understand that buttons can represent an important part of a website.
So where you’d normally put a banner, you could instead put some text and a button, or even just a medium sized button with straight to the point text, like “Best Bonus – Click Here”.
(5) Informational Widgets
Informational widgets are sections of your website that SEEM to be set up for the users benefit, but of course are actually for affiliate marketing purposes. The most common one to be found on gambling websites is a Top 10 List – the Top 10 Poker Rooms, Top 10 No Deposit Bonuses, Top 10 Slots etc.
Of course don’t limit yourself to just that. If you ran a poker website for example, you could use something similar to one of these two informational widgets somewhere on your website:
Bonus points if you geo-target.
(6) Information Within Images
You should always look to add images with your content. It’s refreshing, it breaks up the wall of content, and it’s something that people will look at.
Did I just say people look at it? Well if people look at it, then we can advertise on it!
That slot review you’re writing where you add screenshots of the slot machine like this?
Attach a CTA to the end of it like this:
Or attach a “noteworthy” promotion to it like this:
Something like that is of course rather tacky – get a professional graphic done up! Even consider ones that blend in with the image. If you’re writing an article on the NFL best Quarterbacks for example, and you use a picture of Tom Brady. You could have the “ESPN Ticker” at the bottom, but instead of sports scores it’s promoting a hot Sportsbook bonus!
(7) Status Bar Alerts
One great marketing technique you can use is to advertise in spaces where people are used to looking. I’m sure we’ve all browsed a webpage, and had that yellow status bar appear at the top to inform us that we need a plugin to view that page like ActiveX, or that the page tried to open a popup.
People are used to these being important enough to look at and focus on – which is why it can be a great spot to advertise! So you’re browsing a casino bonus site, see the “yellow info bar” and immediately look up giving it full attention, and see something like this(click for full size):
At the very least, people are going to notice it.
(8) Text Images Associated with the Content
Direct and to the point images which are nothing but text can be a great way to market to readers. Of course it should be associated with the content. This is one that I tried within content in Blackjack articles for example:
You can even get a little bit fancier with it. Here’s one I have tried on Casino Answers in the past:
(9) Background Ads:
Need I say more?
Word of Mouth marketing is one of the hottest forms of marketing. Using testimonials and marketing from “real people” can be a great selling point. In the header of Casino Answers for example, I currently have a banner ad displayed like so:
What if I change that to a testimonial, that both credits Casino Answers AND promotes an online property?
Will something like that work? The only thing you can do is try. The fact is that there are absolutely TONS of alternatives to banner advertising. Some will work, some won’t work, and it all depends on your audience and website.
All you can do is test. Test, test, test. Test everything.
Eventually you’ll find something that works.
(Then a month later, see everyone copying you!)