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Newbie needs help: How to sell website advertising space?

Hello, everyone! I hope all of you are doing great.sn;

My name is Jesus. I am a newbie in this community and in sales. I would like to explain a bit about my problem and then see what other people in this forum suggest.

I live in Monterrey, Mexico and I am the owner of a website that has digital maps of the city where people can find addresses, businesses, etc. Similar to Google Maps, with the difference that Google Maps DOES NOT work when you're trying to find street names or businesses in Mexico. The website is free for the users, so my business model is based on selling advertising space.

I've tried different ways to try to sell my advertising space to small and mid-size businesses. For example:
- Calling and asking to speak to the manager or the marketing department. The purpose of these phone calls has been to get an e-mail address where I can send more information about my advertising services and see if they are interested.
- Contacting different companies through referrals from friends of mine that work there.
- Visiting advertising agencies to see if they are interested in handling my products and offer them to their clients.
- Sending unsolicited information via e-mail using the e-mail addresses that are listed on the yellow pages.

After 3-4 months I have not been able to complete a sale, not even an appointment.

This is a company I started about 6 months ago. The first 2-3 months were spent fixing some technical difficulties. But now that I am supposed to be generating sales, I've had no luck.

There are other things that affect this situation:
- I am completely new to sales. My background is engineering. From other posts that I've read I can see that I need to improve several things like my phone call scripts, unique selling proposition, etc.
- I've also read that to make it more interesting to your prospects, your product should actually solve a problem that they might be having. What problem does my advertising space solves for my customer? I've been asking myself this question over and over again for a few days now and I haven't been able to come up with an answer.

I know my product is intangible and that probably doesn't help me much.

My question is: What strategy should I follow? Should I approach my potential customers by phone first? Should I just go out there and go from door to door, business to business and see if someone is interested? Should I keep sending unwanted e-mail? What is the best sales strategy to follow to sell an intangible such as website advertising space?

By the way, as of right now my company has only one employee (me), so it's not like I can go out there and hire a bunch of experienced sales oriented people that can do this a lot better than I can.

Please advise.


Jesus - by jhlmata
I guess I forgot to mention something... On top of my ad space I also have other products. For example, I have a directory of businesses that shows all their info: name, address, phone, location on a map, etc... I don't think this can be sold on AdBrite. I charge $10 a month to be listed on this directory and my idea was to get at least 1,000 paying customers to get listed on my directory.
What strategy do you think I should follow for this type of product? - by jhlmata
Hello Jesus:

I would advise you to take several different marketing steps. Since your website is geared to your local market, you need to concentrate on offline marketing in your area.

First, I would create a professional looking flyer/brochure describing your site and emphasizing it's value. Gear this piece to the end user...the people who will using your site to find local businesses. You need exposure, and lot's of it. Speak with local restaurant owners, clothing stores, entertainment businesses and tell them how your service will help their customers. Ask if you can leave a stack of your flyers in their place of business for customers to pick up.

At this point don't approach these businesses about advertising with you. You need to make these people aware of what you are doing and build as much 'value' into your service as possible. You are after 'exposure' for now.

After you get these marketing pieces into as many business locations as you can, I would