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. Paid Search (More Specifically, Google AdWords)
Paid search is clearly 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% 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% of the search market and an even bigger percentage of the mobile market for search, given their Android platform powers over 80% of the mobile phones out there. So, if you were going to focus on one place, Google is it. Re-read this post for specific search engine marketing strategies to help get you started.
2. Social Media (More Specifically, Facebook)
With over 80% of Americans having a Facebook social media account, it is the single largest media property with which to market to target customers, all in one place. 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, check out this great infographic of 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. Shopping Marketplaces (More Specifically, Amazon)
If you are a product seller, there is no better place to get started than Amazon; more than 65% of all shopping searches start at Amazon (who 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 (More Specifically, Criteo)
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. In terms of how it works, as a user visits your website, the retargeting technology drops a cookie on 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 6x larger the next biggest player, AdRoll. Google and Facebook also offer retargeting options of their own ad platforms, but the advantage of Criteo is their functioning as a one-stop shop for retargeting across the web, as Google can only get you on their network sites (about 25% of the reach of Criteo). That said, the rates on Google and Facebook can be cheaper, without Criteo’s middleman fees included. And, retargeting can be more expensive than the other options above, so start with those first.
5. Look-Alike Audiences (Easily Found in Facebook)
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, with which to 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 that share similar attributes as your customers. For example, let’s say you are selling beauty products, and Facebook can see that your customers’ emails match to 18-25-year-old women that are fans of Style magazine and listen to Ariana Grande music, then Facebook can match to those exact lookalikes. 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 in mass, using cost-effective, pay for performance techniques, then these five options are the way to go.