"If a company has not yet been in business long enough to grow a substantial customer base, they can gain visibility online by conducting a product sampling campaign, [where you offer] consumers free products in return for accurate, unbiased, and insightful reviews (which can include text, photos, and videos)," says Matt Krebsbach, director, Global Public & Analyst Relations, Bazaarvoice, a platform for consumer ratings and reviews.
"A product sampling campaign helps generate accelerated word of mouth and increased sales for a product launch," Krebsbach says. Moreover, "each sample can result in a review that influences tens, hundreds or thousands of prospective customers for each free product. And Bazaarvoice's research shows that, depending on the product category, increases in both the number of reviews and the average rating for a product can increase orders 10 to 50 percent."
5. Co-market with an established business/brand. "Pair with an on-brand company that already has a loyal following to offer something unique and sharable," suggests Zoë Scharf, cofounder & creative director, greetabl. "When greetabl wanted to increase awareness, they paired with Strange Donuts, a popular donut shop, to celebrate National Donut Day," she explains.
"Greetabl, a greeting box that folds your message into a shippable present, made donut-themed cards. Strange Donuts made 1,000 donut holes. They offered a one-day-only sale where customers created a custom message printed on a greetabl that was paired with a donut and shipped to the recipient," she continues. The result: "They sold out and expanded brand awareness nationwide."
6. Use paid search (Google AdWords). "This refers to paid search marketing, like Google AdWords," says Mike Sprouse, president & CEO, The Sprouse Group, which provides marketing and SEO services. "This can be a very effective way for new businesses to test online marketing by driving to their website from Google. I recommend starting with a small budget, like $5 or $10 a day, and testing a variety of ad groups and creatives of at least three variations," he suggests. "Marketers should also utilize either the CPC (cost per click) or CPA options for their campaigns."
"A great way to test keywords is to do small PPC ad buys, and see which keyword sets get clicked more," adds Daniel Honigman, a marketer with G2 Crowd , which reviews business software.
7. Follow and engage industry influencers on Twitter. "Build a Twitter following by favoriting and retweeting key people in your industry," suggest Amir Tarighat, founder & CEO, Superdense, a Web design and development firm. "Use Twitter's advanced search to find people located within a specific area related to your market and engage with them. You can also create Twitter lists of people in the markets you are trying to reach. Many times they'll engage with you or follow you back."
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