Thanks for the StumbleUpon advice. I was going to send stumblers onto a landing page, but I wont now. My home page should do the trick if it has flow charts and uses slidedeck.com right?
HA! Very very good!... Loved the "The half-life of advertising traffic is zero." ... sorry but I will be stealing that.
But what about direct mail?.. You said $1-$2 clicks were good but no longer at $4-5.. well what about good old letters and a phone call, especially if you're a service-niche?
Hell even for a tech start up - the phone isn't dead. I was constantly talking to advertisers and publishers before I even started doing the wire frames for my start up. I ended up getting two checks from advertisers who wanted to be the first ones on the platform.
Hey Rob & Dharmesh,
This is a fantastic beginner's guide to advertising. I've already tried Google AdWords/Facebook ads, but these other suggestions are great. And I just ordered that Google AdWords book on Amazon! Sounds like a great in-depth guide.
Really great article. I particularly like the tips and links for Google AdWords and content network campaigns, and I'll be testing out the Facebook ads tips next week. Thanks so much!
@jeffscott for facebook be sure to use cost per click. It's tempting to use cost per views, but when I tried that I saw that my return on traffic was minimal.
This is come great information for startups about advertising.
But you have to remember that the most important and effective part of advertising comes from your current and past customers giving referrals to friends and family to use your product. And though you would hope they do, usually your customers will not do this on their own. You have to ask and then remind your customers to mention you to friends and family. You can make this easy by providing services for this, business cards, calenders with yoru info etc., but they need that push in the right direction.
please check out my blog, currently featuring a series on Biztakes, common entrepreneurial mistakes as found from 100+ interviews I have done, http://takecareof.biz/biztake-3-not-doing-enough-to-get-referrals/
Wow! With our product launch around the corner (Apr 5th), this article is gold and couldn't have come at a better time.
Thank you Rob for sharing such invaluable pieces of knowledge which people like me would probably have to spend thousands of dollars in experience to gain.
@Pavan - if by "landing page" you mean an email capture page...it's very unlikely to work (in fact, it's likely StumbleUpon won't approve your ad since they know this and don't want you to waste money).
@Randy - You're right; the phone and direct mail are always options. I didn't include cold calls here because I consider them outbound marketing, as opposed to advertising.
With direct mail, I didn't include it because it's a bit more of a challenge to track results, it's harder to tweak and test your campaigns, and it has a low conversion rate (from what I understand). I would also not consider it "cheap" compared to most of the options presented (except for maybe AdWords, depending on your niche). But it's certainly something to look into further if you think your market would respond to direct mail.
I really like the Facebook approach. It proves more valuable than even Google itself. Ads are to be targeted if they are to be effective at all. An audience that cares = Conversion, Not necessarily sales though. You have to work on that once you reel them in.
Nice post. Buying premium ads directly from targeted publishers can be huge. You can reach a very relevant audience without a lot of hassle or cost.
We've seen campaigns get click-through rates as high as 5%. That's ridiculous.
Promoting a social/mobile game? Try GameZebo
Want to reach venture backed startups? Try VentureLoop
Reach startup folks in general? TechCrunch
Entertainment / humor? Cheezburger Network
Keep e-mail marketing in the mix. I picked Constant Contact because I needed the support they offer, others may work better for you if you don't need support. Grown my list and have a way to maintain relationships which is what marketing is all about.
Thanks for e-mailing this out!! We are launching next week and have been talking about why facebook was good at first but not now.
Question for anyone...we are a B2B group buying site trying to reach small business owners and entreprenuers letting them know we exist - what would be some good places to do that - we have some $$$ to spend but want it to be effective - facebook is about costing about $10.00 per person who signs up. Thanks!!
@Maureen - we can help you find and buy some relevant ads, for free. Shoot me a note ryan (at) isocket dot com, or use the live chat on our website
Another FREE option is iShirtUp.com. It's absolutely free. No catches.
very well written article, giving in full details like pricing & ROI of each ad platform made it even more worth reading.
This post was an excellent post written by someone besides Dharmash. Dharmesh is incredible, but the guest posters are typically miserable, and I only read this one because Dharmesh wrote that "I just published a new article...", which led me to believe it was his.
Having said that, I'm glad that I read this one. Very helpful data. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I look forward to profiting from applying your expertise.
Thanks Ryan and Clay! for your feedback I will look into both options.
wow... Gr8. dear.. informative...
kp posting .....
This is a great article. Thank you!
Great article but nothing have been mentioned about Earned Media!
i don't mean to be rude alexander but this article is about paid media, not earned...
@jeff - absolutely, but, there is nothing Cheaper then Free, and since the article have underlined quiet few social media advertising ideas, there had to be a link between what we can do for $ and what can be done through social-media-word-of-mouth
Why are there idiots commenting with anchor text specific names? The links are all no follow. Jeez outsourcers make stupid link builders.
@Pavan - it has nothing to do with no-follow, it's providing helpful links/examples to this discussion.
And I'm not an outsourced link builder, I'm the Founder & CEO.
@John that wasn't at you. It was at Software Candy.
Really nice article, I think online click generation is becoming more and more expensive using google adwords, facebook and all, <a>niche advertisement is really something startup should look out for...
Hi. Really interesting post - thanks. I've recently used Adwords and Facebook with varying success on the different Ad Versions I've run. Will check out the other options you've mentioned.
As an established freelance writer
, providing services across various niches, my fundamental comment in full agreement with the author, is Test, Combine Methods and Re-test. Advertising is both dependent on budget and speed of required results.
"Free" advertising (articles/forum commenting/social bookmarking etc. is great, but you must dedicate time, which ironically has a money value linked to it.
In my opinion, Adwords is a complete rip-off, especially if you do not know what you doing. CTR are either abysmal or subject to clisk fraud (still rampant by the way).
The choice is yours, but beware of Cyber Crooks (even so-called Online Gurus) out to deceive you of money that can be better used for an effective, yet low cost advertising campaign for start-ups.
dude, it's really useful.Hats off to u :)
Loved the advice... Great insight! tytyty!
Just starting myself and found this great reading .Thanks to all who contributed.
Lots of great pointers for a Startup to consider but I sill believe the power of 'relationship marketing' which social media offers far outweighs paid advertising for SME Startups.
Great advice - except that companies need to be very concerned with click fraud
when advertising on Google's AdSense network. Some estimate that as much as 50% of the traffic is bogus. Click True
has a solution to help.
Wow, great stuff! Looking forward to reading more of your work!
Good basic starting points. Start-ups might also consider developing an active social media presence for everyone in the company. I know Twitter continues to be a top referrer for us. Active networking, sharing articles, blogging, blog comments, etc can also be great, and cheap, ways to drive traffic and build your reputation.
Great article and timely for us !.
Hi i was involve in two start up
we tried facebook which just gave lots impression nothing but that
adwords was rubbish
twiter is most effective for now
Great point. Somewhat similar to the "for dummies book." Maybe... no... necessarily could go without the "to conclude..." sum it up... just sum it up.
It is worth mention, that adwords content sometimes consists of many low-quality sites called MFA (made for adsense). These sites are sending really low quality visitors. It is better to manually choose sites you want to advertise on adwords content.
Great article. Also important to know your customer & make your ads relevant to get more CRT. Then know how to convert them. Would like you to write more about that please.
"With direct mail, I didn't include it because it's a bit more of a challenge to track results, it's harder to tweak and test your campaigns, and it has a low conversion rate"
I don't understand about tracking results...you send and you see who replies..it's not blind as online ads.
As for tweaking a focus group can quickly eliminate the less potent letters and associate the stronger ones with specific demo and psycho-graphics. That's far harder with AdWords as you not only must figure out your own best ad but against dozens other ads and in perhaps dozens of page settings.
Great Article! So relevant to each one of us.
Awesome thoughts will be following.
Great article, especially the one with the "And if you're not targeting a niche because you want your audience to be the "whole world," you're going to need a lot more than $300 in your ad budget".
I have never tried the StumbleUpon, and definitely will next week.
Keep up the good work!
Nice informative article.
Link of VIEW DEMO link on "http://www.dotnetinvoice.com/default.aspx" is not working.
Testing the viral likelihood of my content with a $50 dollar ad spend on stumbleupon...Nice! Would love to hear your thoughts on what I am planning. Could be a chance to have an amazing effect on something already pretty good. @cdstern
Good read. I tried facebook and I had more impressions than clicks. I see now how I could have improved with a bit more targeting.
Thanks for sharing!
I liked very much reading this article. We are in the same boat, not wanting to waste too much money on ads!
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Every small business will have different best tactics depending on what their product or service is.
Sometimes online will be the best, other times direct mail and print will be the best.
It all depends on the situation.
The National Mail Order Association, NMOA covers all the above methods. They are all components of direct marketing.
You are welcome to join their basic member network at no cost too.
I am the owner of my company and I play a key roll in all of my ad programs I do it all mailings, phone I have multiple websites and do ppc. When doing google ppc do not have them set it up biggest mistake I ever made and costley. You know your business the best and this is how your programs will take off with your own insight. I have tried Facebook ppc for a month and did not any business from it. There are many articles online that say that is it a waste of money. People spend time playing games, looking at pictures and talking to there friends why are they going to click on your ads
Don't bother trying Facebook ads if you are selling downloadable software. I found out the hard way
Awesome! This is what I looking for! I always consider about how we gonna gather people to our network. And now you guys give us really brilliant tips! Thank you so much :) Oh, If you guys have a little chance, please visit my new startup called Flapon! http://www.flapon.com
I am considering renting a commercial kitchen and selling at Flea/Farmers Markets. I would like to sell online in the future, but have the food requirements and packaging without squishing. This is a shoestring budget. Which avenue would work best for this? I read, then get lost when it comes to implementing what I though I understood.
Point to consider: AdWords and Facebook paid search experience and analytics for client sites report their highest bounce rates, low time spent on site and fewer page views. Kind of like a person walking down the street and noticing a new restaurant. They look in the window, maybe grab and menu and decide if they want to come back. Organic search - specifically looking for a restaurant or restaurant in a specific area - more often than not results in dinner at that restaurant. Maybe a paid search visitor will remember you or bookmark your site - but prepare for more "looks" than conversions to purchase. And all those impressions site analytics say you get? To me, anyway - worthless. I want the eyes looking at the paid ads to have the fingers attached to that body to click on the ad, look and buy.
Thanks for this advice. I know start up eCommerce clients here at Dydacomp would definitely be interested in learning easy ways to kick start advertising for startups!
Thanks for sharing!
>>Just a quick question though, what worked the best for you among these?
Niche advertising has worked best for me in most niches, but I've also had success with Facebook and AdWords (though the price for AdWords keeps going up). It definitely depends on the market you're trying to reach.
I think social media marketing is altogether missing from here.
>>I think social media marketing is altogether missing from here.
It's not exactly missing, as much as deliberately left out. This article is about paid advertising, and social media marketing doesn't fall under that umbrella.
You can also interview with Venture Studio http://vimeo.com/user6101052/videos
Email marketing is going away - start using iZigg for your mobile media marketing platform and send texts directly to the people who will buy your products and services.
I agree with all statements, but what to do next?
It is wise to build up a database of clients and potential customers, and for me one of the best ways to spread a brand in the internet is through Video Marketing.
Video has more impact and lifespan then most online ads, and are more common to be shared between users.
I'll never advertise with Google or Facebook again. Free advertising is the way to go. If your product is not5 worthy of free advertising then maybe you should think of something else. We will be in the April 17th issue of Family Circle Magazine. It cost me 4 boxes of candy. On top of that the publisher bought 100 boxes for their employees. Have a great story and get the word out through press releases and bloggers. I started with Adwords and Facebook it took all my profit:( If you bid a nickle on Adwords and type in your search term and _nothing_ comes up on the side, I'd say there is something wrong with the way Goggle does business.
Good points, all ! Be sure to check out vADz, the Transactional VideoCoupon & VideoAd App for Social Media, eMail, Texts to Mobile, Tweets and Classifed Ads.
One click adds integrated eCommerce, Trackable Coupons, Maps, Menus and other content.
Video creates 2X to 3X more engagement than simple, static text and display...and enables you to "actively demonstrate your product or service." Video Sells !
Social: Great for startups - b2b and b2c alike
Display: When used as a test, it could be especially helpful in getting your messaging out and seeing what sort of sources work the best... just make sure to target effectively, and adjust your targeting strategies when you get actionable data! Using something like retargeting
can be especially helpful in bringing back some bounced traffic to your site. It gives your traffic additional chances to convert, and it also gives you additional points of actionable data.
This is great! It lets me know, as a beginner, I'm on the right track. I also learned a lot from YouTube! Lots of suggestions there too. I also "test" the waters with free coupons from VistaPrint and other GoogleAdwords giveaways. Thank you. Its cool to see we are using our talents to try and help ourselves out of this economic mess the country is in.
That is true about online advertising. For start ups, google adwords is an option only for a test period. We had done it for our travel deal site <http://www.HotelFinder.ae> and we learned it's true
for all those trying to save money when marketing a product or service, check out this crowdsourcing creativity aggregation.
I enjoyed the read. You missed a big one in not mentioning mobile ad platforms. Still low cost per click (or action) and more and more visitors are surfing on their mobile devices.
Loved the article. Great, really usable information. Thanks for sharing it!
Great information, a lot of hot, hot hot startup marketing tips.
Keep em coming, great stuff.
Thanks for sharing about cheap startup advertising so we can start spending our ad budget wisely
And you are so right on that the half-life of advertising traffic is zero. This means that the moment you stop shelling out cash, the traffic stops.
By the way, if it’s OK with you I’d like to add that no marketing plan or marketing calendar should be set in stone!
If history has taught us anything, no matter how effective your plan may be, chances are, it will have to be altered at a given time; due to what your competitor(s), clients, future clients or suppliers are doing.
Here’s the kicker, don’t feel as if you have to be a psychic.
Don’t feel overwhelmed at the thought of needing a business and marketing plan so flexible that it takes away from the overall aim and goals that made you ‘hungry’ to market your particular business, product, service or idea in the first place!
No doubt about it, there’s an easy way to be sure that you can continue to have success in the future – if you just start off with flexibility in mind!
The best way to do so is to have a marketing plan and marketing calendar that is flexible and built to adjust itself when the time comes to do so.
Fast Marketing Plan.com
very good article for new advertisers. There are also many new social platforms that can be experimented to be the first one advantage.
great article and very useful informations
Great advice for start-up business owners! Option #1 specifically is important. You can be much more effective with advertising dollars if your find your target market and advertise specifically to them. Also Social Media is a great inexpensive way to gain awareness about a new business!
We offer a service that helps small businesses manage social media and reputation management as well as give advice for SEO.
Check it out!www.chatmeter.com
Definitely a great article!
Please stop sending me emails
very useful till, we are on track i believe.
Great article, very informative, especially the reddit info.
I had never really thought of using StumbleUpon or Reddit before but I may give them a go. We are just starting our adventure in the social media world and appreciate your post.
Great article. I'm trying to figure out an entertainment factor if I use SU now. My site,www.mybestfriendshair.com
focuses on women and hair, so about have the population won't like to be stumbled there!
Dharmesh, can you please *please* install a good commenting system like Disqus? I want threading.. to be notified of replies to my comments, and to link up with people who are commenting here.
Please try it >.<
This is a good subject to talk about. Sometimes I fav stuff like this on Redit. This article probably won’t do well with that crowd. I will be sure to submit something else though.
I think that we need to be clear what are the reasons for advertising. Its a big black hole to tip startup money into, thats for sure.
If its to generate awareness/buzz , maybe its better to slog it out contacting bloggers etc who cover Startups ? Placing ads is easier, but then spending money is easier still right ?
I guess 'some' advertising is worthwhile, but extreme caution and discipline is required to avoid spending too much in the hope of something 'big' happening as a result of that spend.
Awesome read, once again, thanks Darmesh. It gives an Entrepreneur a very good idea of what they can expect and what not. Especially when it gets to ROI
Awesome read, Darmesh. I really liked the stuff on StumbleUpon and Reddit. The company that I am working for is interested in using those websites and this is a great beginners guide on those websites. Thanks again.
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Great tips! I am a few months away from launching a business and was just about to start looking into cheap and effective ways to get the word out. thanks Dharmesh.
here's something i put together as a competitive research project, since my business will be in the crowdsourcing of creativity space, which i think is something relevant for anyone looking to save money on logos, brochures, ideas, etc.
The information you provide will be of great help in marketing my website when it is launched. Thanks for sharing it!
What you have sadly forgotten in all of this is -
That advertising is the thing. If the ad is not creative or compelling, nobody will care nor watch it. Banner ads and the like are for amateurs.
Very interesting.... What I have found is that Google AdWords is almost out of our touch,, it just got too expensive.
It’s really an interesting fact which I just got to know via this blog. Making this blog and keeping it updated is the best possible thing which customer always ask for. So I would like to thank for this interesting knowledge given by the moderator!
Our Social Networking platform
netvillage.com has the ability to advertise to various niche social networking platorms. I think you might find it interesting
I've found FaceBook advertising to be effective to increase "Likers" and traffic to my website.
I personally think it's work a few hundred bucks to get a few hundred Likers and lead them back to your website constantly. I've seen my traffic increase from FaceBook exponentially over time (and people signing up for the Free-Ebook)