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Website Monetization: Creating an RFP Response That Wins, Part 1

By Sean Kilcullen

One of your most successful website monetization strategies as a publisher is learning how to win RFPs.

Landing the right partnership with an agency and brand could turn into hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue. But before you can land that partnership, you have to know what it takes to craft a winning RFP response.

In the advertising world, the ad sales RFP process has gotten a reputation for being incredibly difficult, but there is a way to approach it that will increase your chances of success and decrease the number of late nights you spend in the office.

Regardless of your RFP success rate in the past, there’s always room for improvement — each success or failure is an opportunity for you to improve your message and how you communicate your value.

As you go through the ad sales RFP process, keep this question at the forefront of your mind: How can we communicate our value to both the agency and brand?

As you begin answering this question, keep these three tips from agencies in mind — these are the things agencies tell us these make a huge difference when they consider making deals.

Understand what the agency and brand want

Before you write a single sentence for your RFP, take some time to understand what the agency is actually looking for.

Of course the agency wants to make its brands look good. Of course it wants to make revenue. But what — exactly — does the agency hope to accomplish with the potential partnership? Dig deep:

  • Does it want more exposure for its brand?
  • Is its brand focused on revenue only?
  • Has the agency been burned by partnerships in the past?

The more time you can invest getting to know the agency’s objectives and hesitations, the more knowledge you have to produce an ad sales RFP that truly gets its attention. Read the RFP once. Go for a walk around the office or your house. Then read the RFP again. Understanding what the agency needs is always your first step.

Plan your process

The ad sales RFP process is, admittedly, time consuming, so it’s important to plan ahead. Make sure you devote enough time and resources to ensure you give the highest quality responses.

Timeliness is important when it comes to responding to an RFP, but an early response isn’t worth the errors and missed information that often come from rushing. Try this instead:

  • Spend a few hours or days planning out your process.
  • List the tasks you need to complete to create a thorough response.
  • Assign relevant tasks to yourself and your team members, providing deadlines for the deliverables you need.

In our Guide to Winning Ad Sales RFPs, we discuss how to prepare for the ad RFP process in greater depth. Be sure to check it out.

Do your research

With a solid understanding of the agency and brand’s needs, you can begin your research process. Spend at least one day researching the agency and company so you have all the information you need to craft your story.

Remember — this is like a job interview, so you want to ensure the agency is a good fit for your company’s capabilities, and the agency wants to know the same about you.

When you invest more time for research upfront, you’re less likely to run into issues down the road. While the research process is intensive, don’t make the mistake of taking it lightly. Invested time now saves you scrambling for figures later when the agency asks for them.

Having worked with hundreds of publishers, brands, and agencies, we know exactly what a winning an ad RFP entails, and we explain it all in our Guide to Winning Ad Sales RFPs.