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Profitable paid online marketing opportunities have gotten much more difficult to find in recent years. What are your top tips for being able to uncover profitable paid marketing opportunities? Please also comment if you haven't been able to find profitable paid opportunities.

  • JP

    Joseph Putnam

    about 5 years ago #

    I personally believe in testing different channels and offers. For example, I'd run a campaign on AdWords, Facebook, Reddit and wherever else and then track the results and then measure to see what's working. I'd also consider advertising for my product but also advertising a piece of content and then retargeting after someone shows interest after viewing the content. It's always important to remember that every channel will have a point of diminishing returns and different channels will respond better to different offers. AdWords, for example, can be great, even though it's pricey, but at some point you'll max out the number of people directly searching for what you have to offer.

    And yes, it's harder than ever to find profitable channels, but I really like Facebook ads at the moment for both generating awareness and retargeting.

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      about 5 years ago #

      Thanks Joseph, I agree that lots and lots of testing is critical. I also really like the idea of marketing a piece of content and then retargeting your offer to the readers of that content. Retargeting in general seems to be an area where lots of people are finding profitable opportunities.

      • JP

        Joseph Putnam

        about 5 years ago #

        I haven't tested content yet but really want to. It seems like every other ad I see on Facebook seems to be from Inc., Fast Company, or Entrepreneur, and I click those at a much higher rate. Again, I still need to test this, but I'm really curious to see how content + retargeting compares on Facebook to just advertising a "buy now" type of offer.

        • SE

          Sean Ellis

          about 5 years ago #

          People are much more likely to impulsively click on interesting content. B2B products take a lot more consideration, which is why I think content marketing tends to be effective for most B2B businesses. This buys you a lot more time to nurture people toward a product trial conversion. Retargeting can be an important part of that nurturing.

  • ND

    Nate Desmond

    about 5 years ago #

    Two things stand out to me:

    1. Putting the tech in place to accurately track conversions and attribute to the right source. *Much* harder than it sounds.

    2. Try retargeting - it can make break-even channels profitable and profitable channels gold mines.

    • JN

      Jackson Noel

      about 5 years ago #

      @natedesmond +1 on retargeting. I've seen it work wonders at a prior startup. Especially when your customer has specific decision making windows throughout the year.

      They may have originally signed up or checked out some of your content outside of one of their decision making windows, and retargeting can help you stay top of mind when the time comes to make a purchase.

    • TM

      Taylor Miles

      about 5 years ago #

      Nate,

      If your having success with retargeting in Google Adwords, try "similar audiences" This way you can get very specific display targeting based on the similarity to your retargeting audiences. This can be a very profitable way to generating "NEW" business. Also you can layer retargeting on top of paid search to add +50% bid modifier for a broader set of keywords.

  • BC

    Brian Carl

    about 5 years ago #

    I agree with a lot of the points made here already.

    The one thing I'll add is to start by focusing on channels where you can start small and scale up. Find something that works and do that more and expand from there. Facebook and AdWords are both great for this reason.

    Starting small let's you test different targeting options and find the one that fits your product. When you find one that converts, scale up that targeting and stop searching for new ones until that channel starts to hit its peak. Then start all over again.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    about 5 years ago #

    I'll get things started by answering my own question. I have lots of tips but want to hear from other people too. I think it's nearly impossible to build meaningful paid customer acquisition channels without obsessive conversion rate optimization. This applies to both your overall funnel and specifically to any campaign you are testing. Everything should contextually fit with the previous step in the funnel. So the ad should match the media (or keyword search), the landing page should match the add, and the first user experience all the way down the funnel should match the copy of the ad and land page. And every step should be tested for maximum response rate (balancing both next step and deep funnel conversions).

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    about 5 years ago #

    Testing is critical, but the right use of data can significantly improve the testing process. This includes using data to target on specific customer attributes (such as retargeting the right message for people who hit a certain page). Or combining Facebook data and search data in highly targeted campaigns.

    Data is also extremely important for finding success in your tests. Rarely is a campaign test successful overall, but if you slice the data enough ways, you'll often find pockets of success.

    This stuff can get pretty sophisticated, but it's worth trying to get your head around it. Marty Weintraub's presentation on Thursday will likely go into some really clever ways to use data to uncover profitable spending opportunities.

  • CT

    Chris Toy

    about 5 years ago #

    Respect and properly understand statistical significance. For startups especially, you don't always get to have a sample size you can trust but you and your company/client should be explicitly aware of it and factor it into decisions.

  • JD

    Johnathan Dane

    about 5 years ago #

    All great points. And Sean, couldn't agree more on the "CRO the crap out of it!" approach. :)

    In regards to using paid channels to push content, we recently ran an October long Halloween inspired PPC guide with Twitter Ads and within the first two weeks made a 200% ROI, which we didn't expect.

    We also saw about a 28% conversion rate overall after split testing the ebook page about 6 times and netting around 1000 new emails.

    Making something current (in this case seasonal) and adding fun to a sometimes dry topic really made this stand out and we got some sweet acknowledgements in the meantime.

    We targeted users of HubSpot, Unbounce, and other PPC firms to get in front of the right target audience.

    • JP

      Joseph Putnam

      about 5 years ago #

      This is a great example of how content can be used to generate awareness and ROI. Now I just need to put this into practice myself...

  • AS

    Ashley Sims

    about 5 years ago #

    I love all of the examples and thoughts on testing- I think as data driven marketers we have to make sure the data matches with our decisions.

    Our company has actually done very well with remarketing and RLSA ads. It is very cost efficient and allows us to re-enter the customers sales cycle after they have visited our page and keep our brand top of mind even when they are not searching. The Google Display Network is a great starting point for remarketing.

  • SM

    Sarah McDonald

    almost 5 years ago #

    I am surprised no-one has yet mentioned video remarketing, particularly if you have long customer journey and nurturing is needed. We remarket using YouTube skippable ads which means your audience has the option to skip and you only pay when they watch to the end or 30 seconds of your message. Once you’ve tipped your toe with 1 ‘ad’ you start thinking ‘how can I scalably collect the video content for X different customer types with Y different products with Z fundamental questions that need addressing. It can be an extension of your email nurture, it’s a reach out to customers, you only pay if they are receptive to that message. So low media cost, high impact, you just need to get your head around video production and editing. ( which is what we do @wooshii)

  • ZZ

    ZhangChanjuan_Mango Zhang

    almost 5 years ago #

    Create credibility.
    Give away free content and provide relative product and service at the same time.
    Try multiple connect channels.
    Reward your customer in promotion, and do promotion in reward events.
    Those are what I did for a startup.

    For more details, I wrote an article:
    "How I Reached the First 100 Clients for a Startup"
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141120043307-317999183-how-i-reached-the-first-100-clients-for-a-startup?trk=prof-post

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