Google Ads and Facebook Advertising used to be the holy grail of marketing products and services online. They have always offered highly targeted traffic that used to provide incredible ROIs for advertisers.
While the targeting is still about as precise as you can get, it comes with a pretty big price tag that may not work for a lot of business models anymore. It’s time to start thinking outside the box to find some alternatives to Google and Facebook advertising.
While not an end-all-be-all list of alternative choices, this should at least get your brain juices going to give you some new ideas of places to find some new customers.
Additional Advertising Ideas
I might as well start with the one I’m most familiar with (as a user not an advertiser). No I don’t pay for Tinder Gold or any other premium apps, but I’m on way too many of them swiping left and right. I couldn’t help but notice the in-your-face ads that pop up every now and then. Some ads even got me to stop for a second to look it over thinking it was a profile of a cute girl, but was probably selling socks or something.
One of the reasons I like this avenue so much is that there are some really niche dating apps (https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-dating-apps-family-0328-gallery-20170321-photogallery.html) out there. Depending on your product/service, you might have a captive audience looking for what you have to offer. I mean…there is a dating app for people who hate the same things, but also apps for dog owners looking for a match. Hey, maybe you can sell your tractors on FarmersOnly.com
This is just an app that I have running in the background of my phone every day. It tracks my steps and I earn “Sweatcoins” for however many steps I take in a day. Save up enough of those coins and you can redeem them for something like a brand new iPhone or a vacation.
I see two advertising options here. The first is a straight-up ad. In order to get extra points each day, users have to watch a video to completion.
The other option would be to add your product to their marketplace. Whether a user actually chooses to redeem coins for your product or not, the product pages are perfect for showcasing a product. The listings give you several slides to show images and video of your product and also plenty of room to describe it. You can even link directly to your site in case they want to buy it right away and not have to go hiking to earn more coins to afford it.
A free option! The only caveat is you have to have something interesting and/or unique.
The site is mainly geared towards tech products, but I’ve stumbled across some other things that caught my attention, and thousands of other people according to the upvotes.
Simply go to their product submission page and link to your product with some more information about it. If it is interesting enough, it will rise in the rankings and be featured on the front page and emailed to the Product Hunt newsletter subscribers.
In addition to the free option, you can also pay to have your advertisement in their newsletter or featured on the home page.
Remember these sites offering local deals for a discount? They are still getting tons of traffic and also have an option to sell physical products on the sites.
If you have a sales funnel business model, I think this is a perfect place to sell your entry level products for a deep discount to get customers in your system.
I love Pinterest since it becomes forever traffic. Advertising your pins will get you an immediate boost in traffic, and hopefully sales, but the pins stay around. Pinterest users will continue to see the ads over the years. If you had a successful enough launch on there then your pins should have a wide reach that gets continuously shared within the pinners ecosystem.
I know about this one all too well from my former life as an ad sales rep for an email list. I also know how well it works being as I had multiple companies coming back constantly to advertise their businesses on our lists since the ROI was so great for them.
You can either advertise within an existing email going out to subscribers, or some newsletters will let you blast a dedicated email to their list featuring just your product and your copy.
A lot of smaller lists don’t fully understand the value of their newsletters and will let you advertise for way less than they should be charging. Look for blogs in your niche that have decent subscriber lists to their newsletter. You’re probably already subscribed to some of them.
You have to love those first 5 minutes of Tim Ferriss or Joe Rogan’s podcasts where they talk about their sponsor. There are plenty of companies that built their business almost entirely on the reach that podcasts gave them to acquire new customers.
If you have a big budget, go ahead and hit those larger podcasts. If you’re more or less bootstrapping, you can usually get great deals on up and coming podcasts, especially if they don’t have advertisers yet. You can often lock them in to long term contracts with better terms for your side. You’ll also help fund their show which should hopefully give them some motivation and tools to expand the podcast and reach a bigger audience…with your ads on them.
Get other people to advertise your stuff! Affiliate advertisers are always looking for new products with good payouts to add to their income stream.
For anyone with low marketing funds, this is perfect since there usually aren’t any up-front fees. You only make a payment once something is sold. You can easily set this up on your own site, using an affiliate managing company like Linkshare, or enlist your customers.
Just a word of note from someone who has run affiliate sites – don’t be cheap. You want to entice affiliates with an offer worth their time. You also have to take into consideration the financial cost and time cost you would have otherwise put into advertising this yourself. If it costs you $10 to make a sale on your own, don’t offer a measly $3 referral fee.
PHONE GAMES AND APPS
I’m a bit of a Word with Friends addict. Anyone want to challenge me? This game and plenty of other iPhone apps I use will have ads pop up, sometimes intrusive and annoying, sometimes sleek and effective.
You can either go the general route advertising somewhere like Word with Friends or you can narrow it down and find something in your company’s wheelhouse. For example, if you have a supplement company with a bodybuilding audience, there are 1000s of fitness apps you can target.
I’ll admit it, Reddit is a hard one to crack when it comes to advertising since Redditors are often pretty savvy and ignoring advertisements. That being said, you can get in front of VERY specific target audiences that may not be familiar with your product yet.
Users in any particular subreddit are generally obsessed with the topic at hand. If you have a good message and don’t come off as spammy, they can act in kind.
I’ll continue to add to this post from time to time when I come up with some other alternative advertising ideas. If you have anything that you know works or think is worth experimenting with, please start a discussion in the comments below.