The 5 Minute Guide To Cheap Startup Advertising

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The 5 Minute Guide To Cheap Startup Advertising

 

The following is a guest post by Rob Walling.  Rob Walling has been an entrepreneur for most of his life and is author of the book Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup.  He also authors the top 20 startup blog Software By Rob, that's read by tens of thousands of startup entrepreneurs every month and he owns the leading ASP.NET invoicing software on the market in addition to a handful of profitable web properties.

Imagine that you've just completed version 1 of your product and you're preparing for launch. You’ve greased the wheels with a few bloggers, targeted some keywords with SEO, created a bit of linkbait, and scheduled the press release to launch in the morning. At this point your co-founder turns to you and says: “What are we going to do with the $300 we have stashed away for advertising?” Consider this your lucky day. The goal of this article is to provide you with the core of what you need to know about cheap startup advertising as quickly as possible, so you can start spending that ad budget wisely. Let's get started.

Two Key Advertising Strategies

The half-life of advertising traffic is zero. This means that the moment you stop shelling out cash, the traffic stops. The problem is that with typical conversion rates of 1-2% you're paying for 98 or 99 out of every 100 people to walk away and never come back to your site. To combat this inherent wastefulness of advertising, I have two key strategies I recommend no matter which method of advertising you use.

Strategy #1: Try to Get Permission

Seriously consider offering something in exchange for a visitor's email address. It can be a free trial, a free report, or maybe even a free book. But gaining the means and permission to contact that customer again will increase your conversion rate over time in most cases. There is great power in an email list.

Strategy #2: Use Advertising to Test

Use advertising as a testing tool rather than a long-term stream of customers. Very few startups can withstand the cash outlay required to turn advertising into a marketing activity with positive ROI. Even if you figure it out, advertising is a volatile marketing medium. Prices increase rapidly in online advertising as new competition crops up or prospects grow bored of your ad and your click through rate drops. When this happens, all of the time you invested in optimizing your ad campaign is *poof*...gone. So instead of relying on ad traffic as an ongoing stream, use it for what it's best at: the ability to generate a slew of visitors very quickly, and to be turned off just as quickly. This kind of traffic source makes it great for split testing and user behavior testing using tools like Clicktale and Crazyegg. It also gives you insight into how certain traffic converts for you. With properly tracked conversions and an ad on Facebook, you can determine that men from 35-45 convert at a rate 15% lower than women of the same age. This is valuable information, especially early in your marketing effort when you're still trying to figure out the ideal market for your application. Often this is not the largest market; it's the one to whom you can market for the lowest cost. As another example, with AdWords you can learn in a hurry which keywords convert for you, and which don't. This is insanely valuable as you invest the time and money on the long-haul of search engine optimization. Knowing the keywords that really convert for your business, as opposed to the ones that you think will convert, can save you piles of cash and many months of SEO effort.

The "First Five" Advertising Options

With the above strategies in mind, let's look at the first five advertising options you should consider.

Option #1: Niche Advertising

As a startup, there are hundreds of general advertising options available, and thousands more niche opportunities. Depending on the niche you're catering to you should be able to find a forum, blog, magazine or website in which to spend some ad dollars. The tighter the niche the better. Remember that niche sites tend to be cheaper to advertise on and drive more targeted traffic, which makes a huge difference in your conversion rate. (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). In general, if you are marketing to a niche you will know the sites to target. If you don't it's time to pound the pavement and find out what they are. By "pound the pavement" I mean search on Google and contact people in the niche to find out where they hang out online. Two reputable niche ad networks I've worked with in the past are:
  • InfluAds - With an increasing number of advertising "communities" covering design & UX, startups and entrepreneurs, work & productivity and web development, InfluAds can work with budgets as small as the $300-400 range. They sell a minimum set of granted impressions, and if more traffic is available during a month then existing advertisers receive it for free. Image ads only.
  • BuySellAds - Though they've traditionally focused on the design & UX space, BuySellAds is in the process of branching into many other niches. This image-only ad network was the primary source of traffic for a design-oriented website I owned, and made the difference between a few hundred dollars a month in sales, and a few thousand. Advertising is purchased by impression or on a monthly basis from individual advertisers, meaning each offers different pricing. But the minimum buy is very cheap - in the $10-$20/month range.

Option #2: Google AdWords

  • Ad Format: Text or image
  • Ad Components (for text ads): 25-character deadline, 2 lines of body copy @ 35 characters each, 35-character display URL
  • Approval Process: Automated, with manual review if you trip a filter

A few years ago, Google AdWords was great for startups. Many niches were untouched, and 5 and 10 cent clicks were commonplace. But these days, the vast majority of niches worth pursuing have ever-escalating click prices as more advertising dollars move online, including dollars from large corporations that don't blink an eye about spending $5 to produce a single visitor to their website. With a 1% conversion rate you need a $500 lifetime customer value to break even. This is more than a stretch for most startups who are scraping by on 0.5% conversion rates and sub-$100 lifetime customer values (at least to start with). But with Google carpet-bombing $75 AdWords coupons to every business in the civilized world, the number of advertisers, and thus the competition, is increasing. For the most part, the days of cheap clicks are over. The $1-2 per click I used to pay to advertise my invoicing software has become a negative ROI for me at $4-5 per click. But all is not lost. There is still a place in the backwoods of AdWords where the wild-west mentality (and cheap clicks) reign. That place is the content network. People traditionally think of Google AdWords as the ads that appear to the right of the search results. But the lesser known cousin of search ads are the ads that appear in every AdSense block you see around the web. These are ads placed through the Google AdWords content network. The content network is less targeted, higher volume, and typically much cheaper to advertise on, than the search results. While we don't have time here to delve into specifics of how to place ads on the content network, the most consistent approach I've seen that works over the long-term is to use their cost-per-action tool called the Conversion Optimizer. There's a great write-up of how it works from Patrick McKenzie of Bingo Card Creator fame, here. There are also some helpful tips on advertising on the content network here. And if you're willing to drop a few bucks, by far the best AdWords book available is the Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, which includes a section on using the content network.

Option #3: Facebook

  • Ad Format: Text with required image
  • Ad Components: 110x80 image, 25 character headline, 135 characters of body copy
  • Approval Process: Manual (sometimes slow)

Facebook is still viable for startups with its ability to deliver 10-15 cent clicks under the right circumstances. But it's a bit like the Wild West: if you approach Facebook advertising incorrectly you will pay a premium, around 75-90 cents per click. The value of Facebook is its ability to show your ads to exactly who you want to see it based on information in a user's profile. You can easily segment on gender, age, location, relationship status and a number of other fixed parameters, along with thousands of interests and occupations you can target using keywords. The key to low cost Facebook clicks is having a high click through rate (CTR). The key to a high CTR is a combination of a powerful image, an engaging headline, and laser-focused targeting. Due to space constraints we're not going to cover the basics of choosing a powerful image or writing an engaging headline. Not when there are perfectly good articles already written on the subject for those who would like to know more: choosing an imagewriting a headline. But once your ad is written, there is a trick to achieving those 10 cent clicks. Based on a tip from my friend JD, I now use the following method with Facebook ads:
  1. Target your demographic information so tightly that you can write a headline that addresses them specifically. Example: if you are selling shoes online to the U.S. market, create 10 different versions of the ad, one for each of the major metro areas in the U.S. Also include the qualifying "interests" keyword: shoes. Now make each ad headline address its group specifically, using a formula like "Need Shoes in [city name]?"
  2. Start the ads with a modest budget of, say, $5-10 per ad per day.
  3. After 12-24 hours review the ads. Some will have high CTRs and costs per click around 10-15 cents. Others will have low CTRs and clicks in the 80-90 cent range.
  4. Pause the higher cost ads and increase the budget for the low cost ads to whatever you can afford; $100 per day or more per ad.
  5. For a few days you will receive extremely low-cost, targeted traffic. But since you've chosen a small group of people, they will start to tune out the ad rather quickly. At this point your CTR will drop and your cost will climb. Pause the ad, and start over with new cities, new images or new headlines.
This approach requires ongoing maintenance but if you can generate targeted, 10-cent clicks it's worth the effort.

Option #4: StumbleUpon

  • Ad Format: not applicable
  • Ad Components: just your URL
  • Approval Process: Manual
I recently advertised my developer's guide to launching a startup on StumbleUpon. The plus side of StumbleUpon is that all clicks are 5 cents. The downside is the bounce rate is high since people are basically channel surfing. I achieved a 96.88% bounce rate in my experiment, with an average stay of 2 seconds. I wonder if it was something I said? In my test, only 25 visitors stayed longer than 5 seconds. I paid $50 for 1000 clicks, but since only 25 of them stayed long enough to read anything, I effectively paid $2 per click. Your mileage may vary, but through this and other experiments I've gathered the following tips for advertising on StumbleUpon:
  • Your #1 goal is to get stumblers to stay longer than 5 seconds. Your #2 goal is to get them to up-vote your page. Paying $50 for 1000 clicks is one thing. Having it go viral and receiving 10,000 clicks for the same price is another.
  • Don't send StumbleUpon traffic to a landing page that asks for an email address. StumbleUpon users are notoriously fickle about providing their email.
  • People stumble to be entertained, so if your page doesn't have the potential to go viral or turn into linkbait, you will not likely fare well.
  • Blog-like content and videos seem to work best. Anything that resembles a traditional landing page will bomb.

Option #5: Reddit

  • Ad Format: Text with optional image
  • Ad Components: 70x70 image, title, URL
  • Approval Process: Manual (two-day lead time)
Reddit uses an interesting approach for their ad pricing: advertisers bid a certain amount per day, all of the money goes into one big pot, and each advertiser receives their share of the impressions based on the percetage of funds they contributed. It's a simple system, but it means there's a bit of uncertainty about what you're going to get for your money. However, Reddit has the potential to provide some very cheap clicks - I've seen as low as 3 cents - if you play your card right. Similar to StumbleUpon, Reddit provides your ad with the potential to go viral. Gabriel Weinberg has a great write-up of the 20,700 clicks he scored for 3.14 cents each for his new search engine Duck Duck Go. His eye-catching image and tech-focused startup served him well with the audience. As he says:
First, a search engine ad is a good fit for reddit ads in general. It has broad market appeal and redditters in general like trying out new technology. Second, I think the ad is particularly well structured. The circular duck icon draws your attention, is contrasting to site colors, and sticks out because it is a circle (as most images are square). I believe the title also has appeal.
Gyutae Park also has a nice write-up of the 434 clicks he purchased for 9 cents each here. One of my recent experiments was a bit more pricey: 187 clicks at 40 cents each. My lackluster performance was a combination of landing on a competitive advertising day, and using a poor-quality header image. In retrospect, I have no idea what I was thinking using this unreadable image: Reddit ads are so simple (just two visible components) that the only tip I have is self-evident: your image has to rock, and so does your title. It's all about choosing an image and headline that makes people click.

Conclusion

To conclude, I want to reiterate what I said early in this article: unless you have deep pockets think of advertising not as a long-term traffic strategy, but as a testing tool to improve your website and find out more about your ideal visitor. Few bootstrapped startups can withstand the cash outlay required to turn advertising into a marketing activity with a positive ROI, but that shouldn't keep you from testing the waters to find out for yourself. I look forward to hearing about your advertising experience and recommendations in the comments.

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Fri, Mar 18, 2011

COMMENTS

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?

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM by Pavan


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?

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 9:47 AM by Randy


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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 9:56 AM by Pavan


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. 
 
Cheers, 
Erin

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 10:17 AM by Erin Bury


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!

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 10:29 AM by jeffscott


@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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 10:38 AM by Pavan


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/

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:19 AM by Matthew Crossett


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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:41 AM by Saurabh Jain


@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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:54 AM by Rob Walling


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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM by Donald Guy


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.  
 
Examples:  
 
Promoting a social/mobile game? Try GameZebo  
 
Want to reach venture backed startups? Try VentureLoop 
 
Reach startup folks in general? TechCrunch or Vator.tv 
 
Entertainment / humor? Cheezburger Network 
 

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM by John


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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 12:17 PM by Matt Davidson


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!!

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 12:26 PM by Maureen Wozniak


@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

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 12:32 PM by Ryan


Another FREE option is iShirtUp.com. It's absolutely free. No catches.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 12:33 PM by Clay Mosley


very well written article, giving in full details like pricing & ROI of each ad platform made it even more worth reading.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 12:37 PM by Nikunj


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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 12:50 PM by Mike


Thanks Ryan and Clay! for your feedback I will look into both options.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 12:56 PM by Maureen Wozniak


wow... Gr8. dear.. informative...  
kp posting .....

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 1:22 PM by M N Gujr


This is a great article. Thank you!

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 1:26 PM by Software Candy


Great article but nothing have been mentioned about Earned Media! 
 

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 1:26 PM by Alexander Shyshko


i don't mean to be rude alexander but this article is about paid media, not earned... 
 
@jeffscott

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 1:28 PM by Jeff Scott


@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

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 1:35 PM by Alexander Shyshko


Why are there idiots commenting with anchor text specific names? The links are all no follow. Jeez outsourcers make stupid link builders.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM by Pavan


@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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 2:11 PM by John


@John that wasn't at you. It was at Software Candy.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM by Pavan


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...

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 2:18 PM by Vikas Garg


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. 
Kind regards 
Adam

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 2:32 PM by Adam iWriteReadRate


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. 

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 3:17 PM by WritingExpert


dude, it's really useful.Hats off to u :) 

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 3:36 PM by deepak


Loved the advice... Great insight! tytyty!

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 6:00 PM by Sherry


Just starting myself and found this great reading .Thanks to all who contributed.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 6:38 PM by Russell


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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 7:06 PM by Kirsty Wilson


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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 7:09 PM by Dave


Wow, great stuff! Looking forward to reading more of your work! 
 
Jilla

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 9:51 PM by Jilla Assaad


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.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 10:26 PM by Brett Relander


Great article and timely for us !.

posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:49 PM by Dhana


Hi i was involve in two start up  
www.goolip.com, 
apps.facebook.com/oxmatch 
 
we tried facebook which just gave lots impression nothing but that  
adwords was rubbish  
twiter is most effective for now

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 1:54 AM by shlomi


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.

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 3:25 AM by rw


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.

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 4:02 AM by Silver


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.

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 5:46 AM by Steve


"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.

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 6:32 AM by Randy (follow up)


Great Article! So relevant to each one of us. 
thanks 
Ajay

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 6:55 AM by Ajay Agrawal


Awesome thoughts will be following.

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 3:57 PM by trevor


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!

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 4:47 PM by Merar


Nice informative article. 
 
Link of VIEW DEMO link on "http://www.dotnetinvoice.com/default.aspx" is not working.

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 6:26 PM by Srikanth


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

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 6:39 PM by Craig


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!

posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 8:58 PM by vj


I liked very much reading this article. We are in the same boat, not wanting to waste too much money on ads!

posted on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 5:59 AM by David Robins


here is a platform to write your own wise quotes, gained from your own experience and insight. about anything you care. credited to your own name. share with millions of wise users, the world over.

posted on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 8:44 AM by srinivas


Forgot to mention something interesting for Start-ups. Hope you will not treat it as advertisement since everyone hates spam or unnecessary ads. 
 
The Investment Network Merar offers quite good options for startups. Serious entrepreneurs can submit their investment project and start seeking for investments. 
 
Merar's services are free at the moment. At present the network has 400+ investment projects
 
It is a really good place for start-ups worldwide!

posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 at 5:33 AM by Merar


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.

posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM by John Schulte


GREAT!!! article  
 
 
 
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

posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 at 6:32 PM by topoftheworldlimo


Don't bother trying Facebook ads if you are selling downloadable software. I found out the hard way

posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 4:51 AM by Andy Brice


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

posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 9:07 AM by June Kong


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.

posted on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 10:33 AM by Joan


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.

posted on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 11:32 AM by david


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! 
 
Molly Griffin 
Dydacomp 
http://www.dydacomp.com

posted on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 4:40 PM by Dydacomp


>>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.

posted on Friday, March 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM by Rob Walling


I think social media marketing is altogether missing from here.

posted on Friday, March 25, 2011 at 1:58 PM by Ajax


>>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. 
 

posted on Friday, March 25, 2011 at 5:29 PM by Rob Walling


You can also interview with Venture Studio http://vimeo.com/user6101052/videos

posted on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 5:40 PM by Nikolia


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.

posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM by Bill Halvorson


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.

posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 1:08 PM by João Paulo Rosman


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.

posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 2:25 PM by Beercandyman


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 ! 
 
 
 
Please seewww.vADz.com

posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM by Roger Ach


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.

posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM by Samir


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.

posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 8:23 PM by Kenneth Massey


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

posted on Friday, April 01, 2011 at 2:41 PM by Val


for all those trying to save money when marketing a product or service, check out this crowdsourcing creativity aggregation.

posted on Saturday, April 02, 2011 at 12:56 PM by Dale Miller


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.

posted on Sunday, April 03, 2011 at 10:37 AM by Kyle Buzzard


Loved the article. Great, really usable information. Thanks for sharing it!

posted on Monday, April 04, 2011 at 8:35 AM by Diane Leone


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.  
 
Respectfully, 
Sandy Barris 
Fast Marketing Plan.com 
http://www.FastMarketingPlan.com 

posted on Monday, April 04, 2011 at 9:40 AM by Sandy Barris


very good article for new advertisers. There are also many new social platforms that can be experimented to be the first one advantage.

posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 at 12:51 AM by SEO Nepal


great article and very useful informations

posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 at 11:36 AM by dalibor


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

posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 at 1:00 PM by Liz McFarland


Definitely a great article!

posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011 at 3:40 PM by Sol Gonzalez


Please stop sending me emails

posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 at 12:18 PM by artam


very useful till, we are on track i believe.

posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 12:23 AM by ram v


Great article, very informative, especially the reddit info.

posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 9:09 AM by Carl McCormick


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.

posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 4:54 PM by Fraser Hannah


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!

posted on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 3:40 PM by Janell


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 >.<

posted on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 7:26 PM by Leland


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.

posted on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 12:46 AM by pandora online


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. 

posted on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 6:40 AM by David C


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

posted on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 3:25 AM by Web Hosting


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.

posted on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 8:15 PM by Mitch Guenther


Dollar for Dollar #VideoCoupons & #VideoAds are the best ! Video inproves engagement by 2X to 3X and improves click-thrus by 41% 
 
 
 
Usewww.vADz.com Demo and Free Trial !

posted on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM by roger ach


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. 
 
agencykillers.com

posted on Friday, April 29, 2011 at 8:39 PM by Dale Miller


The information you provide will be of great help in marketing my website when it is launched. Thanks for sharing it!

posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 at 7:37 AM by John Marroletti


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.

posted on Friday, May 06, 2011 at 12:22 PM by GG


Very interesting.... What I have found is that Google AdWords is almost out of our touch,, it just got too expensive. 
 
Brian 
 
http://www.inboxex.com

posted on Saturday, May 07, 2011 at 12:04 PM by Brian


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!

posted on Monday, May 09, 2011 at 2:23 AM by Cheapest Used Refurbished Computers


Our Social Networking platform netvillage.com has the ability to advertise to various niche social networking platorms. I think you might find it interesting

posted on Monday, May 09, 2011 at 7:50 AM by TheTeaLady


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)

posted on Monday, May 09, 2011 at 9:50 AM by Kathy Rausch


great article and very useful informationsWood Arts Universe

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