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As a white-label daily-deals sales site, I have found it very difficult to get myself placed in search engines and to get the right keywords because I'm so specialized and my business is such a niche. I have tried Google AdWords, posting on Craigslist, Yahoo advertising, and Facebook ads with little response. Any advice would be appreciated. —A.C., Phoenix
It's not uncommon for a disruptive business model or new business service to have a tough time finding the right marketing category off the bat. If you persist—refining both your model and your marketing strategy as you go—it's likely that you'll find the sweet spot for reaching your target market.
Your goal is to define that market. As a provider of "white-label daily deals," it sounds as if you want to set up couponing programs and sell them to online publishers that can rebrand them to offer them as their own.
With the popularity and explosive growth of such coupon programs, your business idea could certainly be viable. Many Web publishers might see the value of offering a branded daily deal to their customers, perhaps one that concentrates on offers in their specific industry. Such an offering could raise their website traffic rates, as well as add a secondary revenue stream from a percentage of the deals sold.
What you must sell them on is the ease and expertise with which your company could provide such a program for them, rather than their having to take the time and effort to develop one.
The problem with your previous efforts may be that you've been concentrating on search marketing. If your target market is online content providers, that may have been a mistake, says Keith Kochberg, chief executive officer of iMarketing, an interactive marketing agency in Princeton, N.J.
"Search captures demand from folks who are already looking for your company, product, or service category," Kochberg says. "But if they don't even know that this type of business exists, search isn't going to do it for you."
What you need is advertising and marketing that will help you create awareness about your service and then build demand for it. You must let your target audience know first that you are providing white-label daily deals that they can adopt under their own brands and also that you can provide them with new readers, more loyal readers, and additional revenue.
Take a clue from what the large, established coupon providers are doing, Kochberg says: Consider adding sales staff. They could reach out to directly to your target market, communicating the benefits of your concept and explaining how it works to people who may not "get it" immediately. After you have a few customers on board, use their testimonials widely to validate your business model with other Web publishers and website owners.
Think about targeting your advertising to media property owners, webmasters, and e-commerce product managers, all of whom are looking to generate additional revenue at low-cost and low-risk, Kochberg says. "Try LinkedIn ads and conferences that attract professionals who are creating websites, newsletters, and blogs, such as PubCon," Kochberg says.
Websites that already offer affiliate marketing are more likely to be interested in adding your daily deals to their offerings, he says. Good luck.