Getting the word out about your startup business is always a challenge. But at least there are a handful of techniques you can focus on to jump-start your early marketing efforts, all of which are available on a cost-effective basis.
1. Utilizing paid search.
Paid search is an obvious choice. When people are searching for your products or services on the search engines, you need to make sure they can find you. Organic search from search engine optimization efforts are out of your control (although you should do your best to optimize your site for success there). But paid search is 100 percent in your control and can drive immediate traffic out of the gate.
Yes, there are other search engines beyond Google (e.g., Bing, Yahoo, Ask, AOL), but Google controls 65 percent of the search market and an even bigger percentage of the mobile market for search, given its Android platform powers over 80 percent of mobile phones out there. So, if you were going to focus on one place, Google is it. There is much good advice on specific search engine marketing strategies to help get you started.
2. Using social media.
With more than 80 percent of Americans having a Facebook social media account, it is the single largest media property with which to market to target customers. And, better yet, Facebook brings levels of customer targeting that have never before been easier or more cost-effective.
To give you a sense to how easy it is to drill down to your specific demographic, psychographic or other consumer interests, seek out information about what targeting is possible on Facebook. If you have the time to focus on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or other social networks, you can add those in after Facebook. The only exception would be if you are a B2B business, where LinkedIn may be a better place to start.
3. Showing up in marketplaces.
If you are a product seller, there is no better place to get started than Amazon. An amazing 65 percent of all shopping searches start at Amazon, which has successfully wrestled that function away from Google over the last few years. Not only can Amazon help you with marketing to their audience, but they can also help you with any warehousing or distribution needs for those products they sell for you.
There are other marketplaces like Walmart, Jet, eBay, Wanelo, Rakuten and Sears. But, if you are trying to move the needle with a ton of volume, there is no better place to focus than Amazon. That said, when you are setting up your Google AdWords campaign above, I would also turn on Google Shopping campaigns and distribute your product feed through their shopping search capabilities, as well.
4. Retargeting techniques.
The above three categories are helping you find new customers, but there is nothing more effective than going after known past customers or prospects using retargeting techniques. How it works: When a user visits your website, a retargeting technology drops a cookie onto their computer, which follows them across the internet. Then, as ads are run on those third-party sites (e.g., checking email on Yahoo, reading news on CNN, watching sports on ESPN), retargeting companies can push your ads to those exact same users.
This works particularly well using dynamically generated creatives that publish the exact same products the users were looking at on your website. Especially when you are targeting users that went all the way through the purchase process on your website but abandoned their cart or checkout process.
Criteo is the biggest player in this space, claiming that can get your ads up on approximately 2,000,000 websites, including many of the big ones like Facebook. Their reach is around six times larger the next big player, AdRoll. Google and Facebook also offer retargeting options of their own ad platforms, but the advantage of Criteo is as a one-stop shop for retargeting across the web. Google can only get you on their network sites, about 25 percent of the reach of Criteo. That said, the rates on Google and Facebook can be cheaper, without Criteo’s middleman fees included.
5. Finding look-alike audiences.
Once you have found known customers that have an affinity for your product or service, nothing is better than finding look-alikes to those customers. This lets you focus your new customer marketing efforts.
For example, if you copy and paste your customer email list into Facebook’s advertising tools, they will recommend new prospective customers to market to who share similar attributes as those on the list. Let’s say you are selling beauty products, and Facebook can see that your customers’ emails match to 18-to-25-year-old women who are fans of Style magazine and listen to Ariana Grande music. Facebook can match new people whose profile looks exactly like that — look-alikes. Very cool!
Anyway, there is a wide world of options to consider when setting your marketing strategies, campaigns and tactics. But if you are looking for a quick cheat sheet on how to start driving new customers en masse, using cost-effective, pay-for-performance techniques, these five options are the way to go.