Our defintion of “ads” has become too narrow.

Building a product is easy. Getting people to use or buy it is the hard part. We product marketers often turn to pay-per-click ad platforms (Google, Facebook, etc) to build out lead generation. This works and is great if you can get it to work for you. If you can build and tweak your funnel to a point where you throw a dollar in and two come out, scale that sucker!

However, I’ve realised it’s become so easy to think narrowly about modern ad spend. Default is PPC, and because of its measurable and scalable nature, modern marketers tend to hover around it and it alone. Ads existed a long time before these platforms though and sometimes it’s worth taking a second to think about what else can be done.

For example, my current favourite ad strategy is identifying and working with online communities around the things my product serves. I was recently helping my brother on his startup idea that targets blue-collar trade businesses (we call ’em tradies in Oz). We scoped out a FB ad campaign but quickly realised that there are a whole bunch of FB groups (communities) in Australia that target this same audience. These groups are around building business, be it through operations or marketing, and often have many thousands of engaged users. A few of these groups even have corresponding business directory websites. My brother emailed one of these that had about 13k on their active FB group and got quotes for a couple of packages that allowed him to:

  • List on their website
  • Be featured in their newsletter
  • Have 6-12 promoted posts in their FB groups across a 12 month period
  • Have a “get introduced to the community” post in the FB group by the group moderators
  • Guest post on their blog a few times throughout the year
  • Run a FB live session

Prices ranged from $350 to $1000.

I mean, I don’t know for sure if that range of activities towards that audience will work, but I do know that I could burn through that kinda cash in half a day with testing PPC ads. It’s at least worth a try!

It’s just one example, but if you’re looking for growth and have the budget for ads, don’t forget that there is life outside of throwing dollars at Silicon Valley tech companies.