As I started advertising using various methods, I noticed my capital dropping like a rock. Then I began to think…I wish I had more capital to keep on advertising. I wanted to advertise big; give my site a huge exposure so I can reach out to tens of thousands of merchants at a time. Advertising was easy, but getting the results I wanted wasn’t. If I had enough capital like other comparison shopping websites, I was sure my site could be successful. However, with the capital that I had leftover, there was no way I could stay up on search engines for long. I was basically competing with large companies so small and medium size merchants don’t have to. And that could’ve been easier if I had merchants to start off with, and adding funds to their account, but I started out with zero. This was a major setback.
The letters that I personally typed up and mailed out showed a close to 1/100 conversion rate. The companies emailed me with interested, and with questions. Most of their questions were: “What type of marketing are you doing to get new buyers?” and “Are you able to accept FTP uploads of listings and daily updates to reflect prices and in-stock changes?” That second question got me all confused. I didn’t know they meant by FTP uploads of listings. Then I contacted Relmax.com – Lesson V.
Email marketing by RelationServe showed no results whatsoever. I don’t even know if they sent out the promised emails to 10,000 online merchants—a test package they offered. I wasn’t able to track back the visitors that their emails brought me, and out of those 10,000 opt-in online merchants, ZERO merchants signed up for FREE.
Yahoo! Search Marketing, although quite costly, got me merchants to sign-up and submit products to my site’s directory. Their Fast Track program provided me with effective keywords and descriptions that got me good search page positioning at affordable cost-per-click fee. Their service was quite effective with my affiliated website, and it didn’t disappoint me this time either.
Google Adwords, on the other hand, was a repeat disappointment. It was too expensive, and their Jumpstart program came up with very broad, general keywords for my purpose, which gave me high cost-per-click rates. The more general keywords are, the more advertisers use them to gain exposure, the more competitive it is to get higher positioning. Thanks to their general keywords, I was paying over $2.00 per click to be on the first page of search results. Why compete for the first page? Because majority of search engine users stop looking after the first page. I personally use Google a lot for personal use to do research, but Google Adwords really disappoint me.
After advertising in many different categories, I felt like I was cheated out of money in most of them. The only service that didn’t put me down was Yahoo! Search Marketing, and their Fast Track program. After learning these expensive lessons, I wish I had invested all my capital into Yahoo!
If you would like to share any of your advertising experiences, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Anthony Bae
Raising Money for Charity by Selling Links to Online Advertisers