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Online marketing - what are you finding works these days?

Discussion in 'Small Business' started by Biz, 30th Oct, 2015.

  1. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    I've tried everything over the last 5 years, finding it harder and harder to find something that is reliable and profitable these days. Quick run down I where I see things at:

    Google Organic Search:

    It feels as if Google is purposely shaking up the results more and more to push business looking to rank for commercial terms towards adwords. At one stage I ranked quite highly for some good terms (40k plus hits per month) business was great but then overnight the algorithm changes and you're back on page 7 in no mans land. Can be quite dangerous if you commit to overheads, staff etc because you have all the extra business you need to service and then it is taken away. Unreliable which is not what you need in business.

    Other search engines - Bing, Yahoo etc:
    Waste of time, hardly anyone in Australia uses them.

    Gumtree:
    Free, which is good but also a magnet for cheap skates. Advertise something for $500 and they will offer you $150...And then not even turn up to collect it if you agree...Very clunky to use also I find. No easy way to list and relist items for a business so requires a lot of admin.

    Ebay:
    Not bad if you look at it from a point of view as almost free advertising, fees are high but lower than using adwords. Dominated by the larger players now with a lot of feedback so hard to break in. I have not had a lot of luck with Ebay over the years. I have priced products higher to allow me to be competitive with adwords but that kills you on Ebay where you need to be cheap to compete.

    Social Media - Facebook, Twitter etc
    Tried paid ads, talking smack, posting pictures of kittens etc. Doesn't seem to translate into $$$ though. People are more there to kick back than drop cash I have found.

    Google Adwords:
    This has worked quite well for me over the years, reliable good traffic. It's just becoming far to expensive now I find. Used to be spending 5% of gross profit 5 years ago now it's approaching 25% of gross profit. More businesses have piled into it forcing up the bids. Google shopping ads have helped as well as mobile ads but I can only see these going the same way as the text ads over time - just far too expensive.
     
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  2. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    I think it really depends on what type of business you have (ie what products you sell) and who your target market is.

    For some products and demographics, I hear pretty good results from highly targeted Facebook advertising (specifically because you can target the adverts so specifically). But those anecdotes I've heard about are not wide-spread and I'm not sure exactly what works and what doesn't.

    Similarly for Pinterest - I've read about some people doing pretty well driving traffic based on a well thought out use of this platform, but again - I'm not aware of exactly what types of products or strategies this suits.

    The one thing I see a lot of people pushing these days is selling products directly via your own Amazon store. So many people just use Amazon to buy everything because of the convenience and breadth of products available there - it's a very powerful platform. Not quite as ideal for an Australian target market yet - but it's getting there I feel.

    None of this is based on personal experience though - only third party anecdotes I've read about ... so I'm not sure how meaningful any of it is.

    If you have strong brand - have you considered setting up an affiliate based system through one of the affiliate networks? Letting other people do the marketing for you and paying them a percentage (or fixed fee or whatever) based on sales they deliver to you (CPA)?

    I think it might help the discussion if we understood what types of products you were selling?
     
  3. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    Lifestyle products, would prefer not to go into too much detail.

    Not Dildo's before anyone gets smart! :p

    I didn't really start the thread to talk about my business specifically, just gauging what other people out there are finding works and doesn't work as well these days.
     
  4. peastman

    peastman Well-Known Member

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    A restaurateur friend of mine has done rather well with deal websites like groupon and scoopon. But he was telling me yesterday the results are dropping off for that too.

    So are we in marketing limbo at the moment, just waiting for the next big marketing idea?
     
  5. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    I find those deals websites you are basically selling at a loss to attract business down the track. Problem is the kind of customer attracted to a deal like that likely won't stick around for a higher price.

    Those deals sites were everywhere a couple of years ago with everyone jumping on the bandwagon but it seems to have died off.
     
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  6. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    The thing I get asked about the most for my websites is EDM - both newsletters and solus emails.

    As much as people claim that email is dead - it still seems that a well crafted EDM campaign to a targeted audience still gets really good engagement.

    The trick is to either build your own mailing list you can engage with (potentially difficult and time consuming to do if you don't already have a strong content website), or else find other people with relevant mailing lists who you can work with to promote your products.
     
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  7. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    We use all the above.
    Introduced re-marketing more recently and that seems to be doing well.
    We usually ranked high on the first page of Google searches for many common terms and products we sell, so that helps a lot too.
     
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  8. Johnny Cashflow

    Johnny Cashflow Well-Known Member

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    I can't stand those sort of customers.
    You know the ones that look at the cheapest prices than argue with you they want the "super massive extra product"

    Also the ones just look for the price factor no matter what they are getting. Like the next shop sells the product for $10 and you sell it for $15 but yours is twice as big and they don't take that into account :mad:

    As for advertising it is always getting harder with increasing costs and competition but it is something you have to do to remind potential customers you still exist.

    I tried Facebook targeted for customers but it didn't seem to do much

    Being in food business and a small business we have always done letter drops of local suburbs with Australia Post. But it is getting so expensive now, last price was $0.20 per menu dropped into a letterbox + you need to print the menu which is another $0.10

    Doesn't seem like much but when you do 1000's it adds up.
    Most people just throw their "junk mail" away without looking so the hit rate is like 1% o_O
     
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  9. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    Yeah most of that stuff goes straight in the bin, hardly any of it makes it into the house. I tried letterbox drops, coupon magazines, radio ads. None of it worked effectively enough to warrant spending extra cash.
     
  10. Mombius Hibachi

    Mombius Hibachi Well-Known Member

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    Note: Biz, I am in a completely different field to you, so not sure how much of this will apply to your business.

    I tried a few different marketing strategies, but found that compiling a list of prospective clients, sending an initial marketing email and following up with phone calls was by far the best strategy for me to get off the ground. It's very expensive, time wise, but the results have been more than worth it.

    My plan going forward, once I have secured a few more steady clients is to implement a referral strategy. I find that prospects are far more open to using my services if I get existing clients to refer me to them. It's still very much in it's infancy, but it's looking pretty golden as a workable strategy.
     
  11. Rixter

    Rixter Well-Known Member

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    When it comes to SEO Google is number one. The thing about google is that it's great, but it's highly, extremely, ultimately, intensively Competitive. I think you get what I'm saying. ;)

    However, from your list I can see you've missed the 2nd biggest and least used traffic generation website site available, that being You Tube.

    You Tube on the other hand is almost just big as Google traffic wise, but is the least utilised.

    With it being the least used you have much much less competition to contend with.

    Video converts really really well and that's why it's so powerful. Millions of people use You Tube and it allows you to engage with people at the highest level.

    The cool thing about You Tube is that people are there to find answers - there for reviews - there to learn from people how to do something - that's the number one thing about it - so you can get a lot of organic traffic from people by popping up in front of them while they are searching for this stuff/information.

    I hope this provides some food for thought.
     
  12. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    I know I'm in a completely different field than what you are - but will give some thoughts.

    As a consumer I don't even notice the paid ads that show on the side on FB, this forum, ninemsn etc - and only find pop ups annoying and refuse to watch them. I think the human mind has a great ability to blank out what it doesn't want to see.

    If I'm searching for a particular product, I generally only look at the first page of a google search (as most people) - never use the yellow pages or any other paper form of advertising - junk mail in the letterbox goes straight in the bin unread - will look on Ebay - don't bother with gumtree unless I'm selling as the search ability is to vague and brings up all sorts of unrelated stuff.

    What I am finding is working really well with my product (again, completely different) is getting back to the personal touch. Creating a story for my customers - they love following the farm goings-on on FB - snippets in print media still works really well, although most read it online - I do a market, although I don't need to, so that people can personally meet me - don't bother with instagram as it's too crowded ... and ... most importantly ... I try and give exceptional customer service and find my buyers come back again and again
     
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  13. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    @Biz are their any forums (or FB groups) related to your product / service that you can contribute to?

    @Rixter link to your YT channel please?
     
  14. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    It really does depend on what you are selling. Retail?
     
  15. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    For me, serviced based busines - real estate - nothing works better than meeting with clients. I like face to face communication always.

    Need at least 7 points of contact before people take you seriously.

    Also my own database Over social media any time
     
  16. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Are your lifestyle products a service ie holidays or a retail item? It makes a difference when marketing for it.

    Direct sales on FB ads don't work, there are strategies that work well but depends on what it is.
     
  17. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    No, that is a good way to market a product or service though. This forum for example. I'm sure people gain clients just by contributing.

    Retail items.
     
  18. wombat777

    wombat777 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I would also be asking a different question. Perhaps take the perspective of someone buying rather than your own perspective as a seller.

    How would a customer want to be marketed to?
    What forms of marketing do they find useful? (and what to they find annoying or detest)

    Will give you a different perspective for thinking about what will work.
     
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  19. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    Very true - I send out an email when harvest is happening - and another when the online store is open ... the secret there is not to abuse it by sending endless emails
     
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  20. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Well-Known Member

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    what are 7 points of contact ?