Alice Yoo & Eugene Kim have a ton of experience running ads with numerous ad networks. Visit My Modern Met.
Bill Kalivas & Mark Simonds earn money with annual sponsorships of groups and paid membership. Visit LaunchPad INW.
Scott Sandland has an enormously successful advertising policy that only lets active members of the community advertise. Visit Hypnothoughts.com.
Is your network nonprofit by nature?
Does your network have an altruistic mission? Did your members join to be activists for an issue or to support a cause? Whether you want to run a one-time fundraiser like PBS does or provide an ongoing revenue stream, the most lightweight and friendly way to raise revenue is to simply ask members to donate. Consider these options:
- Pledge drive: This is a wonderful way to collect donations when members sign in or sign up. Activate the Paid Access add-on and create a Site Membership paywall with Donation pricing format and a minimum donation of $0. Members will still be able to sign-in without donating, but they’ll notice your appeal for donations. Once your pledge drive ends, simply deactivate Paid Access.
- Donations App: Add the Donate Ning App. Just enter your Paypal account and a suggested donation, and a donation app will be added both to your Main Page and as a tab to your network. It pretty much runs itself.
Not sure if you can sustain donations forever? Try it for a month by turning on Paid Access and holding a pledge drive.
Is your network high on engagement?
Do your members visit on a daily or weekly basis? Do most of your members actively participate on your network? Is your network a one-of-a-kind community online? If so, consider these:
- Social activation campaigns: Brands are starting to experiment with new ways to increase their awareness within influential online communities like yours. If you opt in to participate, the brand may offer free samples of their product to your community and ask members to blog or post discussion topics about their experience. Or, they may offer to sponsor a photo or blogging contest on a topic related to the brand. Advertising rates can be 10x to 100x higher for this type of advertising program, which can be particularly attractive for smaller, highly active communities that don’t have a high volume of pageviews.
- Charge for membership: Activate the Paid Access add-on, and create a site membership paywall. You can always grandfather existing members.
- Sell merchandise related to your network: Music, books, tickets, branded clothing, travel – anything that feeds your members’ passions. Subscribe to a third-party shopping cart and promote your merchandise on your Main Page or a dedicated tab.
Do you have unique content or expertise?
Are you an expert? A celebrity? Do you have fans? Can you provide members with online access to an event, conference or concert? Can you provide valuable training or education? Do you have access to exclusive music, videos or written content? These are great options for you:
Does your site have frequent visitors?
Do you have a high number of monthly page views, but few members sign in and participate? Still plenty of options for you based on that significant traffic:
- Sell sponsorships: This can be simple and highly lucrative if you can find a great fit with advertisers. Think locally, too: Are there local businesses that would be perfect sponsors for your network? You can spotlight them in a simple Text Box on your network.
- Partner with a premium ad network: A premium ad network like Glam Media may fit your audience and offer much higher advertising rates. You may need a minimum threshold of visitors or page views. Read MyModernMet’s Top 10 Tips for advertising for more ideas like this!
- Try out affiliate sales: Join a network such as Commission Junction and become an affiliate for products and services that fit with your community.
- Run Sign up for Google AdSense banners: If you’re just starting out and have a limited number of pageviews, this the easiest option to set up. However, the advertising rates may be lower than other options.