How Do I Advertise Online and Find Customers?

by / ⠀Finding Customers Startup Advice / January 25, 2011

world wide web

“How do I advertise online?” is the question I get all the time. If you’re starting an online company, bringing a brick and mortar operation online or looking to expand your existing online presence, I’ll try to answer that question. Every business is different but there are several ways you should approach your digital marketing campaign. There is no single solution. Advertising should be approached like an investment portfolio and be crafted carefully.

Search Marketing

Why? This is easy. Every business simply must begin by focusing on search, both paid and organic. Paid search gives you control to reach users looking for your products and services when they search. Problem with paid search is that there is generally very finite inventory and if you’re in a competitive industry, there will be many companies fighting for a small set of placements.

How to Approach? For paid search, make sure you are split testing multiple creative. The beauty of paid search is that you can track conversions down to the keyword. Use every conversion tool at your disposal. Companies like Google and MSN/Yahoo offer many tools to optimize your campaigns and even your landing pages.

Service Providers: Google AdWords, MSN Search, Miva

Performance Based & Affiliate Marketing

Why? Because its cost effective and you have great control over your costs. If you have the right product that affiliates want to promote, it could be very scalable as well.

How to Approach? Make sure you think about the publishers as your partners. Keep in mind that your offer to them must be strong enough to entice them to try marketing your product.  Use existing affiliate networks or CPA networks to build up your volume quickly. My favorite CPA Network is Epic Direct. For an affiliate program you can use companies such as Commission Junction, LinkShare or utilize a low cost white label provider.

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Service Providers: Commission Junction, LinkShare, Epic Direct, Pepperjam


Why? Another no brainer is retargeting. If a user visits your site, very is a high probability that this user is shopping for your product or service. Problem is, 98% of visits don’t convert right away. Retargeting allows you place ads across the web that show only to users that have been to your site. The idea is to bring those users back to your site and close the deal.

How to Approach? Try Google Adwords’ retargeting feature or contact retargeting companies such as Criteo, FetchBack, and a slew of other players that entered the market over the last couple of years.  Don’t be afraid to get advanced. For example, if you sell watches and a user viewed a Breitling Navitimer, then you’d want to make sure that your retargeting ads are showing that Breitling model across the web to that user with a special offer. Retargeting vendors will walk you through the process.

Note that retargeting only works for sites that already have some traffic. If you have no traffic, there is simply nobody to retarget.

Service Providers: Fetchback, Criteo, MediaForge


Why? Because it offers a lot of flexibility, targeting options and massive reach. With some creativity you can get a lot of exposure for your brand.

How to Approach? This is a tough one because there are many ways to approach this and the topic deserves a book of its own. Before you think of display as “banners”, please hit the reset button and think big. Today’s display inventory can take over web pages, expand from every direction, have sound, splash across the screen and present itself in the foreground to grab user attention. I suggest going big, being creative and utilize pinpoint targeting to get your message to the right people. As a perfect example of this I’ll use ToneFuse. ToneFuse can deliver a full page interstitial or video along with wallpapers while at the same time being targeted to a specific demographic or an audience though behavioral data (travelers, car shoppers, etc).

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Service Providers: Google AdWords, AOL, Yahoo, ToneFuse, Burst Media, and many more

Val Katayev is the CEO and Founder of ToneFuse, a digital marketing and monetization company dedicated to high traffic music properties.

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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