Archive of ‘Events & Promotions’ category

Let’s Get Retail Ready! Teleseminar

Are you still struggling to get your product into more retail stores? Do you ever wish you could find out what retail buyers are looking for? Here’s a chance to learn from my tips on how to make your product retail-ready.

This teleseminar, hosted by Grace King-owner of RetailRecipes.com, will provide a great opportunity for indie-designers and artists around the country to learn how to make their product retail-ready with starting, maintaining, and growing a product-based business.

During the teleseminar, you will learn what retail buyers are looking for, how to create stellar linesheets and ways to create a buzz that get buyers to call YOU! This is a one hour call followed by a LIVE Q&A session.

Whether you design baby onesies, paper goods, clothing, accessories, or home décor items..etc, this teleseminar will cover all the components to start and maintain a product-based business and gain the attention of your dream retail buyer!

The seminar will be held on Tues, November 22nd, 12pm EST and will be a one hour call followed by a live Q & A session. Visit RetailRecipes.com to register and learn more about the teleseminar.

5 Marketing Tips from a New Generation of Celebrity Entrepreneurs

In a new article from Forbes, they list 5 tips from a new generation of celebrity entrepreneurs:

When we think of celebrity entrepreneurs, names like Paul Newman and Oprah Winfrey typically come to mind, but today, an entire new generation of celebrity entrepreneurs is making strides in the business world. These celebrity business men and women have something in common. They all benefit from instant name recognition and brand awareness, but they don’t all follow the same path to attain success in business.

Following are 5 marketing tips you can learn from celebrity entrepreneurs who are finding success not just in the world of entertainment but in the world of business, too.

1. Go with what you know.

P. Diddy knows hip hop music. He turned that knowledge into a hugely successful record label, Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide, before branching out into other media endeavors with television shows like Making the Band and Run’s House. P Diddy knows more about hip hop music than just making it and performing it. He also knows the culture of the hip hop audience and extended his business to a fashion line (Sean John), fragrances, and a high-end liquor (Ciroc vodka).

In 2010, P Diddy told a CNN interviewer that he wanted to start a business school in Harlem. He explained, “I want to have an academy that’s known for building leaders. I feel that’s one of the things I can have an impact on.” It’s safe to say he’s not done building his business empire which is rumored to be estimated at $400-$500 million.

2. Focus on your strengths and passions.

Gwen Stefani loves music and fashion. When she decided to start a fashion line with a alternative pop-inspired style that would appeal to her existing female audience as lead singer for No Doubt, she chose the brand name L.A.M.B., an acronym for the title of her first solo album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.”

Stefani’s business has expanded to other areas of fashion and accessory design to include a children’s line, and a brand of bags for Apple devices, Harajuku Lovers. Her passion for music and fashion helped her build a brand that brings in $90 million each year.

3. Recognize and respond to demand, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles, designed all the costumes for her daughter’s music group, Destiny’s Child. It seemed like a natural progression for the two women to team up to launch a fashion brand, and House of Dereon was born. A less expensive junior line, Dereon, was launched later by Beyonce and her sister Solange Knowles.

In a September 2011 interview with CNN, Beyonce explained that the fashion line evolved in response to consumer demand, “I grew up in a fabric store. Unfortunately my mother would say, ‘Come on let’s go to the fabric store,’ and she would make all of these beautiful clothes for myself and the other ladies of Destiny’s Child. After so many years, my fans said, ‘We want to buy these clothes somewhere,’ so it was a natural thing for us to do this line.  It’s so great for us to be able to do it together, number one because we get to spend time together and two because we have such respect for each others’ tastes.”

4. Leverage brand extension opportunities.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Kardashian sisters have built their boutique clothing store, Dash, and the Kardashian brand into a business empire. They did it through brand extensions. Not an opportunity goes by for a brand extension that the Kardashian sisters don’t take (or at least consider). From television shows to fragrances and clothing lines, the Kardashian sisters follow the celebrity promotion edict that no publicity is bad publicity.

Of course, this isn’t a business strategy that every entrepreneur should follow. There is such a thing as over-saturating the market with a brand. With that in mind, weigh your long-term business goals against brand extension opportunities to make sure you’re heading in a direction that’s appropriate for you.

5. Diversify your business ventures.

Justin Timberlake may have started his career on the Disney Channel, but today, he’s a successful business owner. His diverse business ventures include the William Rast clothing line, 901 tequila, several restaurants, and the eco-friendly Mirimichi Golf Course in Tennessee for which he received the Futures Award at the 2011 Environmental Media Awards.

Timberlake’s business strategy isn’t a new one, but it is a solid one. Diversification insulates the business owner from macro- and micro-environmental events that could negatively impact a specific business or industry. It’s a growth strategy that all entrepreneurs should consider. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

How to Find Networking Events

Every business owner and business professional should build up a resoureful network. Networking will can help you establish relationships with others that can help your business succeed.  interest. Here is a list of 6  websites to find networking events:

Meetup – This is the flagship website of networking events. Recurring meetings are displayed in an organized manner. Meetings based on your interests are presented in a way that you can see the ones that are starting right now, upcoming and in near future. This is a great website to help you find networking events and meetings.

NetParty – Networking website with a twist: this is a great resource for finding and hosting business and social networking events after work. Location based networking events help you find meetings of your interest in your area.

Eventbrite – This is a practical site full of interesting events. Whether you are looking to attend a technology meeting or a social event to network with professionals within your industry – this site has all of that. Eventbrite should be your go to website for finding meetings and networking events in your area.

LinkedIn Events – Mostly overlooked yet on the rise, LinkedIn Events lets you browse quality business events and meetings in your area and based on your connections. For any professional events, LinkedIn Events is a robust website for finding networking events.

Facebook Events –By using Facebook one can keep himself abreast of all the networking events your friends are attending or hosting. Facebook mostly offers social networking events, though at times you can find or event coordinate a professional event suited for your business needs.

Yelp – Yelp is primarily known for reading and posting reviews of products and services. In addition, Yelp offers its users an ability to host and meet with people in your area based on particular interests. This is a great way to connect your business with potential users or simply find new friends. Check out Yelp as a website to help you find networking.

Whats sites do you use to find different networking events?

Upcoming Small Business Events

Check out the list below to find a small business conference/event in your area:

The New York Venture Summit
July 20-21, 2011, New York City

The New York Venture Summit, presented by youngStartup Ventures, is the premier industry gathering where cutting-edge startups meet top venture capitalists, angel investors, corporate VCs and investment bankers.

Whether you are an investor seeking new deals, or an emerging company seeking capital and exposure, the The New York Venture Summit is one event you won’t want to miss.

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eCommerce Starter Pack for Beginners
July 21, 2011, Webinar

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to create an ecommerce site, or a site owner looking for better ways to sell online, you’re either faced with a sea of jargon, misleading technology or prohibitive cost of entry.

To cut through the fog, join us for this session. This webinar will introduce some of the best options available on the market today, including explaining the pros and cons of solutions such as Google Checkout, Shopify, BrilliantRetail and ExpressionEngine, and the Magento eCommerce platform.

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Rapid-Fire Tech & Business Bootcamp
July 21, 2011, New York City

This four-hour event is part conference, part mini-expo and part networking event to connect you with New York City industry professionals.
Presentations are geared to business owners, executives and entrepreneurs who are already successful and are looking to ramp up. Get you out of your comfort zone to achieve bigger goals.

Attend eight to 10 short, informative 20-minute seminars on cutting-edge business products and services. Learn to quickly achieve success beyond your current business goals. Discover affordable technology to automate your business to free up your time. Seminars provide practical strategies to implement immediately. Tips and tools will drive business growth, revenue and ROI and save you time by operating your business more effectively.

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Women’s Leadership Exchange NYC Conference: Go for Growth
July 21, 2011, NYC

Growth is necessary for business success. 2011 is the year to move forward out of the past into a bright future for your business. At the WLE conference you will learn about new strategies, new tactics and new resources that didn’t exist a few years ago. WLE has assembled a group of experts who are experiencing outstanding results. They are at the head of the pack. If you are standing still, you are moving backward, so join us at this event to drive your revenue and make valuable business connections!

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Small Business INfluencerSmall Business Influencer Tweet Chat
July 25, 2011, 7-8pm ET, Online at Twitter

The Small Business Influencer Awards are going on right now (voting until August 9, 2011).  To honor our 521 nominees, we are holding a Twitter chat on Monday evening, July 25 at 7 pm New York time.  Join us on Twitter to share your opinions and insights on 10 small business questions we will cover. Everyone is welcome to join in.  We want to hear what YOU have to say.  Special thanks go to our premiere sponsor, BlackBerry, for supporting this Twitter chat.  The hashtag to search on and use in your tweets when you participate is:  #BBSMBchat

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American Express OPEN TeamingUSA
July 28, 2011, St. Louis, MO
September 13, 2011, New York City

Small businesses are vital to our economic strength and future, and teaming is one of the top strategies for helping small businesses compete for and win government business. Teaming USA, a program of American Express OPEN® and Business Matchmaking, helps small business owners across America join forces to win.

This Teaming USA workshop will provide attendees direct access to key procurement officials from federal, state and local government agencies and major corporations, as well as presenting best practices and new opportunities in identifying contracts through teaming.

Teaming USA focuses on preparing a business to be “contract ready,” identifying specific opportunities and introducing the concept of teaming with other business owners. Attendees will learn how to secure proper certifications, clearances and registrations and identify selling opportunities.

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Technology Essentials for Small Business Conference
July 29, 2011, Brooklyn, NY

Business owners will learn about the latest technology and new media marketing trends with practical ways of applying strategy, techniques, tools and software applications to increase revenue and productivity, solve critical business problems and save time. Participants can choose from a wide variety of seminars ranging from 30-minute sessions to 90-minute hands-on-learning in computer labs.

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Score Workshops & Events
Multiple Dates & Locations

Western Massachusetts Event – August 5, Springfield, MA
Home Based Business Seminar – August 17, Monmouth, NJ

See SCORE website for more local workshops.

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National Veteran Small Business Conference
August 15-18, 2011, New Orleans

The Department of Veterans Affairs is hosting this event. The largest nationwide conference of its kind, the National Veteran Small Business Conference provides veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs and SDVOSBs) an opportunity to learn, network and market their businesses.

4,000 leaders from various VOSBs, SDVOSBs, large contractors and federal agencies as well as veterans from the New Orleans area are expected to participate.

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Online Marketing & Social Media Crash Course
Multiple Cities & Dates

Discover how you can harness the power of the Internet to get your business found online (in an affordable way), engage new customers with your brand and keep old ones coming back. Deluxe for Business and Sprint are proudly sponsoring these free small business events across six cities in 2011, with the help of host Entrepreneur EXPO and keynote speaker Starr Hall.

August 16 – Los Angeles
September 13 – Miami

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2011 Business Conference & Tradeshow
August 17, 2011, Milpitas, CA

The Milpitas Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Industry Council for Small Business Development (ICSBD) and National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) presents the 2011 Business Conference & Tradeshow. This event will include procurement information with large corporations, business to business opportunities, seminars and more.

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Biz 2 Beach
August 19, 2011, Santa Monica, CA

Biz2Beach is an inaugural networking conference bringing together thought leaders, innovators and trendsetters for an exciting day of exchanging ideas. The “unconference” format of Biz2Beach is unlike most events. Featured speakers with a wide variety of business expertise will lead four intimate breakout discussions. B2B is presented by CallFire, which will unveil the latest iteration of its suite of telecom services.

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Affiliate Summit East 2011
August 21-23, 2011, New York City

Affiliate Summit East 2011, the premier affiliate marketing conference, is taking place August 21-23, 2011 in New York City. This three-day conference includes an exhibit hall with affiliate merchants, vendors and networks, as well as multiple tracks of educational sessions covering the latest trends and information from affiliate marketing experts.

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Consumer Products Investing Conference
August 25, 2011, Chicago

Sponsored by Perkins Cole LLP, this conference will discuss trends in early-stage investing, the factors that are most important to investors when they are considering an investment, the best and worst things an entrepreneur can do to get investors’ attention, strategies for growing their businesses, additional advice for entrepreneurs and, of course, the best ways to reach these and other investors.

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NAWBO Women’s Business Conference 2011
August 31 – September 1, 2011, San Diego

The NAWBO Women’s Business Conference is the only event of its kind focused on connecting women entrepreneurs to real business opportunities that deliver bottom-line results. The conference brings together businesses of all sizes from various industries to provide women entrepreneurs with both personal and professional tools and resources to take their businesses to the next level of success.

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25th Anniversary Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference, Women’s Business & Buyers Mart
September 14, 2011, Chicago

The oldest conference and business opportunities fair for women in business in the country, this is the premier event for women business owners in the Midwest.

This year’s conference offers women business owners solutions to the current problems they are facing and the opportunity to increase the profitability of their businesses by building relationships with corporate and government buyers, business experts and other women business owners.

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What Small Businesses MUST Know About Their Website Analytics
September 14, 2011, Webinar

Our guest expert this month is Pierre DeBois of Zimana. In this live session Pierre will discuss the importance of tracking website analytics for small business owners, and attendees will walk away with tips and tools that they can implement immediately. We’ll discuss:

  • Why small businesses must know their website analytics
  • How to get started
  • Which data are the most important to track and what they tell you
  • What are some best practices and tools to use
  • Where social media fits in and more

This live webinar will be recorded and available afterward to all registered attendees.

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Brooklyn Business Expo 2011
September 20, 2011, Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Business Expo will bring together the brightest business leaders from the most dynamic companies throughout Brooklyn and the adjoining counties. The Brooklyn Business Expo provides an environment for businesses to enhance their relationships, research the market for the leading products and services, and learn about the latest best business practices. This will be the largest business-to-business expo in Brooklyn.

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The New York Enterprise Report Small Business Awards
September 21, 2011, New York City

The New York Enterprise Report Small Business Awards is the annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of the 500,000-plus small businesses throughout the tri-state area. In its sixth year, the Awards Gala–which sold out in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010–attracts more than 400 business owners and executives and is often referred to as “the networking event of the year.” Don’t miss the chance to do business with the “who’s who” of the New York small business community.

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How Small Businesses Can Do Very Big Things With Technology
September 22, 2011, New York City

Very small businesses are often asked to do very BIG things. In fact, in order to thrive (and not just survive) it’s critical that they leverage technology as a powerful tool for business growth. There are hundreds of free and fee tools that you can use to help you save time, save money, be more productive, boost revenue and  more.

You’ll learn how to gain insight about your customers, better market to your customers, know what new products or services to launch and much more.

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Inc. 500/5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony
September 22-24, 2011, National Harbor, MD

The Inc. 500 | 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony celebrates the revered Inc. ranking of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America. The momentous event brings together current Inc. 5000 honorees and alumni of the list, along with the greater business community, to recognize the remarkable achievements of these companies and the great contributions they have made to the global economy.

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The Small Business Expo
October 5, 2011, New York City

Full-day networking event, trade show and conference for business owners, entrepreneurs and decision-makers.

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The Summit for Women in Business
October 6-9, 2011, Pigeon Forge, TN

The Summit for Women in Business is providing and showing you how to implement the needed strategies and tools to remain competitive and current within today’s evolving business climate. Created by women business owners for women business owners, this Summit is designed for SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) entrepreneurs, independent and self-employed professionals.

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Western Mass Business Expo
October 18, 2011, Springfield, MA

As the region’s business publication, The Business Journal of Western Massachusetts believes the businesses and communities that comprise Western Massachusetts should be represented at a region-wide trade show to better promote buying and doing business locally. The day begins with breakfast at 7:30 followed by the Expo’s official opening at 9 a.m. and will feature seminars, speakers, lunch and a high-energy, end-of-day networking event featuring music, food and drink.

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Media and Entertainment Investing Conference
October 27, 2011, Coral Gables, FL

Sponsored by The Launch Pad at the University of Miami, this conference will cover trends in early-stage investing, the factors that are most important to Investors when they are considering an investment, the best and worst things an entrepreneur can do to get investors’ attention, strategies to grow their businesses, additional advice for entrepreneurs and, of course, the best ways to reach these and other investors.

Cheap Advertising Idesas

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: 110×80 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: 70×70 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.Like this site?  Help spread the word.

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