Finding cost effective and efficient advertising tactics is an age old challenge for entrepreneurs. In today’s new information age, there’s no shortage of tech-based options but the key is choosing your strategy wisely and leveraging technology to receive a maximum return on your marketing dollar.
Should you advertise on Facebook? How much time should you invest in social media? How do you measure audience engagement and the ROI?
I asked a few successful, tech-savvy young entrepreneurs what tools they were using. Here are a few they said they can’t live without.
1. Google AdWords
“Google AdWords is a great way for clients to test various markets and target audiences with a small investment. You can get an ad going in 15 minutes and watch how visitors interact with your site the same day. Seeing which targets perform better can guide bigger marketing spending by providing a more accurate forecast.”
“Retargeting has been absolutely critical for me as an entrepreneur launching a bootstrapped business, because it allowed me to gain brand visibility and drive traffic to my site on an extremely tight budget. With retargeting, I was able to serve ads to my visitors on top-tier sites like CNN.com and HuffingtonPost on a tight budget, making my business seem much bigger than it actually was.”
3. Facebook Ads For Demographic Targeting
“If you want to reach a specific demographic, nothing beats Facebooks ads. They’re affordable, simple to set up, and the level of granularity for targeting is absolutely unmatched. You can only show your ads to people who work at a certain company, in a certain range, who graduated from a certain school, etc.”
4. Twitter Mentions
“People underestimate the Twitter ecosystem and its potential as a connection mechanism. Mentions on Twitter are uniquely equipped to approach people, companies and brands. Never before has a “quick note” been public, and yet quiet and unobtrusive all at once. The @mention changes everything.”
5. Gist — Yes, An Address Book
“I try not to be overly dependent on any technology I don’t control, including advertising tools. But I would say that my address book is crucial for advertising. I use Gist, which pulls in information like blogs and social media accounts, letting me see what the owners of sites I might want to advertise on are up to, and letting me find better deals than I’d find just buying through a reseller.”
6. Craigslist … Seriously
“I can see your smile, but, honestly, Craigslist provides a wide range of benefits, including free advertising. Have an upcoming promo? Post it in the “events” section. Want to create buzz? Start a thread in the forums. Can’t afford employees? Post for interns in jobs or barter services in the services section. We promote local events and 15% of our customers find us on Craigslist.”
7. Buy Billboard Space With ADstruc
“ADstruc is a fantastic new platform that’s moved the inventory of billboard and outdoor advertising availability online. Now business owners can browse available billboard inventory across the US, filter by price and category, and purchase physical advertising space all from the comfort of the office.”
8. Facebook Insights
“While Google Analytics gives amazing information on the visitors to a website, Facebook is way more valuable in terms of analyzing demographic information. Whether you are selling ads or buying them, make sure you take a look at who the most social and often biggest fans of a website are and how they behave.”
“WordStream is an online technology designed to accelerate your PPC results. This easy to use platform has savings alerts, quality score management tools and full AdWords integration. The software also has cross-platform exposure (Google, Bing and Yahoo), so all of your PPC efforts can be quickly managed in one location.”
10. Social Media
“As a tech entrepreneur, I cannot live without social media as my main form of advertising technology. Whether using Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ Pages, YouTube, Flickr or Tumblr — the advertising opportunities available through social networks are absolutely incredible. And social media profiles are effective for maintaining relationships and socializing messages across vast networks.”
image credit: EmiliaUngur via shutterstock
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.