Online newspaper banners

Aug 6, 2008

  1. DM77
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    My local newspaper is also online and has various advertising options for the web page (banners). I have a web site that's 'okay' but also have a link available through Assurant for quote requests. The newspaper states they get a lot of traffic (mostly local). They currently have a Sudoku page and are offering a banner ad ranging between $195-245/mo depending on placement ($195 bottom L or R, $220 middle L or R, $245 top middle).

    I know different markets yield different results. For those of you who do online advertising, have you advertised on local media web site pages? Has it been successful?

    I don't know if the placement on the Sudoku page is the best place. I'm waiting to hear back from the ad rep with the paper to get an update on their pricing for other areas on their site.

    Your feedback (pros/cons/warnings/etc) would be great. Also, ideas of other online avenues would be great too. I'm currently only licensed in Montana so I want to start in my local area first and then branch out.
     
    DM77, Aug 6, 2008
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  2. padthaiforlunch
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    Personally, I wouldn't use the Assurant quote site if I were you.

    If you are going to use this to sell health insurance, then you will want to quote competitively. But more importantly, I think you need to capture their info and call them.

    To that end, I would create another website kind of like what rob has: Get Major Medical Insurance Quotes Today

    To improve on his site, I would add logos (with permission) from the carriers you are appointed with. The date of birth fields are out-of-whack as well. What I like about the site is that it captures the info for you, and gives you more control of the process.

    As for the banner ad.....eh. How many views are they guaranteeing per month?

    I would start out getting your health quote site optimized. At least with a google adwords campaign, you should be getting folk who want health insurance. Play around with the price.

    For $200/mo. you could probably do the free placemats in diners routine (as someone once mentioned). At least you are in front of them while they wait to eat.
     
  3. DM77
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    Okay, I did a stupid...I ASSumed that Assurant's quote site would at least capture the info and send it to me. But no, their quote site is just like MY quote system. How does the normal Joe even know what he wants/needs? I wouldn't even get to build up the value before giving them the price.

    Okay, so moving on to address "competitive". I'm in Montana. Though that should say enough I'll explain it...beyond BCBS-MT, there isn't much for competition. NewWest Healthcare is another provider--I'm going to try calling them AGAIN to find out how I can get appointed or if I can get appointed. BCBS-MT isn't appointing anymore agents...if anything they're firing agents for not exclusively selling their products. When I checked into that last year I was told they might look at appointing another agent in this region but the process takes upto 2 years. I considered starting the process but then lost interest.

    So, I'm left with Assurant.

    I do like that site you used as an example. :idea: I might even add another question to find out how serious they are, like: "Are you window shopping or are you serious about purchasing health insurance? I'm serious! That way I'll know which ones to call back first and which ones to just email/drip on until they just have to talk to me and get a quote.

    I'd rather capture the information, call them up and find out what they want/need/etc and then present the solutions.

    Back to the banner idea. They're not guaranteeing anything...it's a newspaper, they just want your $$$$. But, it might be the right positioning...maybe the classifieds/employment page would work.

    Placemats won't work here :nah:...other than chinese and Pizza Hut, I don't know of any other restaurants that use placemats in my area. If they do, it's the plain generic ones.

    Thanks for the feedback....it got me thinking a bit more. Anybody else...any other comments?
     
    DM77, Aug 6, 2008
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  4. The New Guy
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    I would call the other companies running banners on the site and ask them how well they are doing.

    Maybe try a classified ad in the paper first, and see if it pulls any calls.

    I would think for $200 a month, you could do a good google ad campaign in Montana.

    It's easier than you think to set one up.

    First, get your website up and running the way you want. You pay good money to get people to visit it, and most times, have less than 20 seconds to make them stay.

    What is the name of your paper?

    What's your web address?

    You should also add your website address to your signature line on this forum. It will help with linking, and indexing, on the search engines.

    The placemat idea is a good idea to maintain your local marketing. The restaurants you want, are the ones who just have the generic placemats, that's the idea.

    You have them printed with your ad, and supply them to the restaurants for free of charge. If you have time, contact some realtors, landscapers, and others service companies in your area and pitch the idea to them.

    Do it right, and you will get your advertising for free. You might even accidently make a profit off of them.
     
  5. padthaiforlunch
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    A quick search finds trhese carriers you can contract with:

    Assurant
    BlueCross BlueShield of Montana
    Celtic Insurance Company

    Get yourself listed on Google local business - it will help with site ranking. Go for the google adwords campaign. Got think that is better option than newpaper banner.
     
  6. TXINSURANCE
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    Not really. $200 won't get you much of anything.

    I have and still do some advertising locally and nationally, fox news, cnn, local papers. The conversions to leads are typically pretty horrible. This is why you see some lead companies running ads for $39/mo health insurance or some other questionable verbage to convert to lead.

    You also have to look at who clicks these ads and do they really want to buy NOW? Someone reading the sports page and clicks your banner is ready to drop $300/mo NOW on something they had no intention or thought of purchasing 10 minutes ago?

    I can't see any way to get the cost of acquisition low enough when compared to buying leads, which is still probably the lowest conversion cost in quantity at least.

    Like everything else throw some money around and see what sticks. One thing that strikes me as odd is flat rate banners - this is a huge red flag. Most papers will charge per click, CPC or per impressions CPM (x1000). Flat rate initially is odd to me.

    Try it and see what happens, at those low costs what do you need one deal a month?
     
  7. The New Guy
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    I guess I would advise someone with a limited budget to invest $200 a month into google ads, where people would be have to be searching for health insurance to see my ad, before I would suggest a banner ad for a local paper.

    With the banner ad you pay no matter the results.

    With the google ad, at least you pay only when someone has taken an action towards your ad.

    We're talking Montana here, not Texas, probably more people looking for health insurance in Dallas per month, than all of Montana. $200 there will go much farther.

    I agree with buying leads as well, however why buy the shared lead from a lead company, if you can perhaps generate that same lead yourself?
     
  8. TXINSURANCE
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    I guess my only point is Goolge is rather complex and overwhelming. If you are not well on top of your game - expect to waste money. $200 might get you 1 or 2 leads if you are not set properly - or maybe 10 to 20 leads is set correctly - hard to say and depends on what you target.

    PPC you cold pay $10 to $50 per lead and no credit on bad phone numbers, fake leads, or insurability. You are also competing against lead companies that can sell the lead multiple times.

    PPC is a big money game for the individual broker, which is why I suggested buying leads - it was not a subliminal plug.

    Nothing like spending $200 on PPC, getting 4 leads, 2 bad phone numbers, one morbid obese, and one pregnant. It happens.
     
  9. DM77
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    Good tip. I'll try that one.


    I don't know if I want to go there because for awhile we had the "affordable health insurance" scams in there. The insurance dept recently (in the last year) shut those guys down. Plus, how many people look in the classifieds for insurance?

    Daily Interlake www.dailyinterlake.com

    What's your web address?
    www.planfortomorrow.net

    This currently does not have health insurance included. When I created the site last fall I didn't want to have a thing to do with health insurance. My support with Assurant was dismal and I felt the coverage wasn't adequate for the $$. However, I now have better support and training and they've updated their plans for MT so I'm kicking around the idea again. Health insurance seems to be a hot button (life insurance...not as much). So marketing-wise I think I can get more attention going the health insurance route...and then cross-sell life, disability, etc.


    Thanks for making that sound a little more appealing. I'll have to keep that idea in mind next time I'm in a restaurant that uses placemats. Most around here don't. Plus, I'll have to consider the clientele of those restaurants. Since we are a tourist destination I'll have to consider which restaurants are for locals and which are the tourist stops (i.e. Canadians). I know that I need to tie my marketing together but not sure if that's the right spot in this area. Yes, it's a captive audience (kinda). But so is advertising in bathroom stalls but will I actually be able to capture their attention long enough so when they get home they'll give me a call or go to my web site? They'd have to see my ad a few times before it sticks...and then I'd hope it's the right timing. I guess I'm thinking that if somebody's checking out the news and local happenings...maybe go play a Sudoku game, and then they see my banner, it's a lot easier for them to click on it right there to check it out. Though they might not request a quote at that point, the next time they come back they may do it at that point. If anything, they'll think about it and come back later (because they know where to find it) and request a quote. However, who keeps their placemat from the restaurant for later reference? Okay, so I'm playing devil's advocate but that's also how I get answers and other ideas...it's basically brainstorming and there's probably something I'm not considering.
     
    DM77, Aug 7, 2008
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  10. DM77
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    Well, it's a small paper and they're relatively new to this. Here's one way to look at it...I could pay that rate for ONE DAY on an ad...ONE DAY...compared to a whole month where people typically go back to read the latest news. Plus, the paper includes a comments section on their articles...it's become a form of entertainment in this area to read everyone's comments, especially on hot local topics.

    2 weeks ago I signed up with HometownQuotes for leads. I did limit my area to my part of the state. I haven't received a lead yet. I know--expand to the entire state and see what happens. My first one will probably be for somebody in Glendive.....WAAAAAAAAY over on the other side of the state....like a 16 hour drive away and that person will want to meet me in person to discuss it. Though I haven't had one this extreme, I've had them where the drive was 8 hours away and I said forget it...especially when there wasn't a commitment to buy if I did show up.
    I've tried ProspectZone, QuotesAuction, MostChoice and InsureMe...got a few deals but the leads weren't consistent. With ProspectZone I started getting a bunch that said they were never interested but somebody called them and kept bugging them to get a quote so they said fine and gave them some info just to get them off the phone. That's when I 'fired' them because that's not what I signed on for...I wanted people who were actually interested (even if they were just window shopping). I didn't like having my name/company associated with telemarketing like that.

    I checked with my advertising rep at the paper and it's a month-to-month contract on all of their banner programs. I'm thinking the employment/job search page might be a better place because of those who might be in between jobs and need a short term plan...and then if they had a 401k at their former employer I can talk to them about doing a rollover:).
     
    DM77, Aug 7, 2008
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