My First thing that I would suggest is target the advertisers that you think your site fits and do some marketing! Send them an email with some stats..and sell yourself. At least that is the way I would start.
I agree that to replace Google's contextual ads you would have to seek out relevant or similar businesses. Create the ad slots on your site ahead of time. Then place something like "Advertise Here" in each slot with a link going to a page explaining your ad services. On that page you should have a screenshot of your traffic stats. Make your rates reasonable taking into consideration the global economic problems. Place the ads in good spots so the customer generates good sales and you can get repeat businesses from them. Some forums have marketplace sections where you are allowed to post offers. Make sure you follow their rules and even build up some reputation by making useful posts there first. That could get you some of your first advertisers. You might even want to use an ad rotation script so you can support ads for several companies.
You can find some affiliate adds here which you can use to your site. Just let the add spot set up first and show some stats. Email them 70 percent of the time they give you review of the products you might want to promote. Goodluck.
60000? It's pretty good Mike. B2B or B2C? If B2B we could monetize you, big time! :-)
Well, on a serious note I would start with any ad network of your chose and then slowly you can start selling directly to improve your ROI. It's nor easy to sell ads directly thou, as competition for advertising dollar is huge. But.... everything is doable.
You could try attending relevant conferences/ interest group meetings in your area to see if you can do some old fashioned network building. Even in the internet era these activities do produce results.
I currently have adsense, but I am looking into getting custom purchased ads. But how do I reach the advertisers? What advertisers do I contact and how?
I had around 60000 impressions in December.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Please ignore what many of the others have been saying. 60,000 impressions for a month is not high at all. In fact, it's veryyyy low. I average well over 10,000,000 impressions per month, and this is still not nearly high enough to attract businesses to deal directly. You'll need to significantly build up your traffic before you can monetize it best. I'd make your first priority reaching at least 25k unique visitors per day. Once you get to this mark, you'll have some good ammo to "sell" your site to businesses. Otherwise, what's in it for them?