Category: Turundus ja reklaam

How to run ads for your startup – the penultimate guide

There are several ultimate guides available for running ads, and I have no ambitions to create another one. So here’s a penultimate one, containing only six pieces of advice. But the advice is practical, to-the-point and based on more than 10 years and several million dollars of ad investments, as well as several million dollars of ad spend (yes, these are different things).

senator we run ads printed graphic t-shirt-600x600

1. Make the first pick of channels, using category awareness and category urgency as your guide

“What channels should we use?” is a pretty common question and while all businesses are different and there is no best answer, I’ve found it helpful to use category awareness to make the first pick of channels.

Category awareness is high when most people in your target audience already know the product or service you’re selling. It’s things like car insurance, CRM software, web hosting, smartphones, etc. Each of these things is generally well known and people in the target audience use search engines and specialist shopping or comparison sites when they feel a need.

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Keyword Research for Startups [Free Template Included]

Post updated in July 2019.

Keyword research. These two words sound about as sexy as an empty milk carton in a windy car park. But, unlike said piece of packaging, keyword research is insanely useful. It helps to identify big content marketing wins without relying on trial and error only.

And the good news is that on early stage startup scale it relatively simple and quick to do.

Keyword research is based on 2nd-grade mathematics. The more monthly searches a keyword has, the better. The less competing blog posts and pages are about the same topic the better. And finally, the more relevant that keyword is to the service or product you want to promote, the better.

High number of monthly searches + low competition + high relevancy = content you should be creating.

Let me give you an example from the world of sales and CRMs. Which one of the following four keywords would you start producing content for?

Keyword volume

“customer relationship management” sounds like a huge opportunity, and “sales pipeline report” kind of pointless, but it might be a mistake to start by creating content for the former and dismissing the latter.

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4 Things That Are Broken with Internet Marketing Today – A Classic Example [Updated 24/2]

Update 24/2 : I got fooled. This post is about a Facebook ad for a nightclub. I kept seeing the ads and I examined the link later – it doesn’t link to Club Hollywood as one would expect but to a shady dating site. I wouldn’t expect meeting the love of your life on that site..

Rest of the post makes sense even with this ad being an example of a scam, not of a social media campaign, so I’m leaving it up.


I came across the following Facebook ad some days ago. At first glance, why make a fuss? People come across 3000+ marketing messages every day, there are many worse than this.

Club Hollywood Ad

But at closer look this ad is symptomatic of internet marketing in general. There are four five things fundamentally broken with this ad:


1. Bad targeting

Facebook knows my age (mid-30’s), but I haven’t specified things like my hometown and  relationship status. I haven’t “liked” the club’s Page. Surely an ad for a mainstream meat market vaguely in my geographic area, in English, is not a good use of anyone’s ad budget and my Facebook feed.

2. Zero authenticity

You’d think a nightclub would use a photo of a “local beautiful woman” here, perhaps even shot on one of their advertised club nights.

Not quite. When you do an image search on Google with that image you learn it’s someone called Mechelle Montes, and you learn that from a forum where guys with an IQ of a toaster are discussing MILF photos anonymously.

Local Beautiful Woman?

[Addition 24/2: Given the scam context, the photo makes perfect sense]

3. Irrelevant landing pages

If you click through you end up on a generic homepage which is sub-optimal to say the least. A hopeful clicker will find no reference to local singles there.

[Addition 24/2: I am almost sure I clicked through to the landing page when I first noticed the ad but I guess I didn’t. Lesson learned: will click on shady sites more often in the future]

4. Poor grammar

… is poor form, no matter what the language.

So this harmless nightclub ad is a caricature of internet marketing. We’re in a hurry and often spending money that’s not coming from our own pockets. So we cut corners on targeting, steal images or – on a good day – use tried and tested stock photos and treat copy as an afterthought. I, too have made these mistakes. (With the exception of featuring Ms Montes on my ads).

Decent targeting, some level of authenticity, reasonable landing pages and grammatically sound copy are not rocket science. They save marketing dollars and make internet a tiny bit better. How about let’s get them right more often?

Tips & tricks for promoting events: hustling is the new normal

I didn’t enjoy last Sunday too much. I had 4 days to go until my next british stand-up comedy night and I had sold less than half the tickets needed to break even. I stared at the computer screen and refreshed the ticketing site’s page a couple of more times. Needless to say, this didn’t improve the situation.

Background: this was my 9th comedy night and since this is more of a hobby than work, I had treated the marketing side of things accordingly. A Facebook event, a fan page, a couple of tweets, a ticket giveway and the occasional radio or newspaper slot. First shows sold out effortlessly but each time I had had to work a little bit harder to sell the seats. This time it was crisis. It was time to put on my best hustling hat. This was my action plan:

Try promoted posts of Facebook. I promoted one of my Page posts to people that had “liked” the page and their friends, and though I don’t fully trust Facebook stats, it seems I got good value from my 11 dollars.

Go “creative”. “Share and win”-type Facebook promotions are primitive and probably not in agreement with T&C’s, but they appear to bloody work. I’ve been quite methodic about cleaning my news feed, but I keep seeing them promotions. I didn’t have an iPhone 5 to give away, so I did a parody promotion, taking advantage of the fact that the word for “share” and “divide by” is the same in Estonian. This got 13 shares – with average friend count at 150, this was around 2000 eyeballs. In a situation like this, every little helps.

This promotion, coupled with the promoted post and a couple of “normal” posts resulted in FB (vanity) metrics going through the roof. Looks nice, but I knew I had to do more than Facebook.

Set up an email list. Facebook has become increasingly noisy. Too many promotional messages, people turning off updates from Pages and email notifications. Sensing that, I had set up an email list a week before and gotten more than 100 people to sign up. I sent out my first ever newsletter.

Do a Google Plus listing. (This might be opening a can of worms, I know.) No-one’s on G+ to see your listing, but adding it has two benefits. It sends a good-looking email to everyone you invite (because people haven’t yet turned off notifications). More importantly you’ll secure some real estate in people’s Google Calendar.

Good old media. I asked a few friendly media contacts to see if and how they could spread the word. Obviously this requires establishing contacts beforehand, cold calling at this stage would have been an uphill battle.

Last but not least – the most powerful channel: asking nicely. I skyped, texted and emailed to a bunch of friends, acquaintances and people I thought would be interested, asking them to buy a ticket, spread the word, or both. It’s not the most pleasant thing to do, but it’s much more pleasant than having lots of empty seats on the night. A big thank you to all who helped!

Result: full house and a very good night of laughter. Plus, the fact that I had had to hustle made the whole thing even more rewarding.

Quick survey: it’s all about social

Today I did a quick follow-up survey with* to sense check. And though the results** heavily skewed towards Facebook (where I shared the link) it confirmed my gut feel that in event promotion it’s all about social. Social as in Facebook and the old-fashioned social of talking to people. Naturally, what you promote must be worth talking to a friend about.

Hustling is the new normal

Going forward I don’t expect any of the things described above to work. I expect to sell few tickets if I do what I’ve always done before. And I’ll be prepared to hustle and look for new ways to get the word out. Marketing comedy events is very similar to marketing startups in that sense.

* is a promising and much needed tool, because SurveyMonkey is just one big collection of Upgrade buttons these days. But I’d give Teller and team another couple of weeks to iron out the bugs before you jump aboard.

** Tried to use Infogram for the graph but their service was so slow and unresponsive that I gave up. Not easy being an early adopter.

Everything I’ve learned from marketing in 10 years (5 years later)

In the process of moving this blog from the old rusty diesel engine to the new shiny WordPress engine, old post drafts popped up like dead fish in a pond after an accident involving lots of chemicals. One was titled Everything I’ve learned about marketing in ten years. It didn’t have an ending or a beginning yet, it was just a sketchy list but surprisingly it made a bit of sense. So I dusted it off and edited it to be readable, but didn’t add or remove anything. Here goes:

  • Stand for something. A little bit better than the competition leaves everyone cold. If you have nothing to say, there’s no need to shout about it.*
  • One message at a time.*
  • When conducting market research, ask only whether the message you are sending out has been received as intended, and nothing else. The one thing you definitely shouldn’t ask your customers is “what would you like to have”. *
  • Always put 10% of your budget in risky channels and promotions ie. where they might bomb but, if successful, that generates a healthy ROI.*
  • Work for a boss that wants big change.**
  • Test where the limits that shouldn’t be crossed are, with advertising or whatever you have to play with. ***
  • None of the above tips apply if you just want to sell a bit of goods, and not do something remarkable.

    Footnotes AD 2012:

    * Fully agree to this day, I thank the year 2007 version of myselt for the reminder.
    ** 2012 addition: or be an entrepreneur that wants big change.
    *** Back in 2007 most of my marketing career had been in media or FMCG, where there’s hardly any disruption in the business itself. So it made a lot of sense to push the limits with communications, because this was all there was. With startups, you’re so much closer to disrupting businesses and business models and there’s much less of a need to do scandalous communications.

    Please help me complete the commandments of marketing. What have I missed?

    When discounts don’t work

    70485702.JPGToday I took a bunch of clothes I hadn’t worn for a while to the Tallinn re-use centre. It’s a fine social enterprise that accepts clothes and other items in reasonable condition, sells them or gives them to the people in need of clothes and uses profits from sales to educate school kids to reuse and recycle. After handing over an armful of T-shirts, jeans and sweaters the girl at the counter thanked me and handed over a thank you card. I took a quick look at the card before handing it back (to be used again, you know) and what got me thinking was that the card featured a small discount off my next purchase. I reckon that while the people buying stuff from the centre may be very price sensitive the people taking their stuff there are most probably not. What I think they could have done instead:

  • Taken my email address to engage me with newsletters in the future.
  • Taken my email address to send me information where the clothes I donated ended up, making my contribution more tangible.
  • Allowed me to pick a free book from the selection of donated books
  • Nothing. (In addition to the smiling thank you I got anyway). Promos may work wonders but they’re a hindrance if price sensitivity is near-zero.
  • Any other examples where discounts don’t work? 20% off your next wedding and 2-for-1 funerals come to mind.

    Tagasi kooli

    Screen%20shot%202010-10-20%20at%2023.27.19.pngTäna oli tore koolipäev. Käisin Tagasi Kooli programmi raames 21. keskkoolis tundi andmas. Ohvriks osutus 11C klass, kelle meediatunnis ma rääkisin oma erinevatest kokkupuutumistest meediaga, peamiselt turundusinimese mätta otsast (sest palju muid mättaid pole ma osanud enda alla kuhjata).

    Koolitunni ettevalmistamine pani endalt küsima, kas keskkooli lõpetamisest möödunud aastate jooksul olen omandanud midagi jagamisväärset, mis ei oleks liiga tehniline, mitte liiga tööga seotud, vaid lihtsalt huvitav. Sellele lisandus annus nostalgiat ja umbes samasuur osa uudishimu, et missugused keskkooliõpilased tänapäeval siis on. Kuigi tänane tee kooli meenutas ärevustunde osas mõneti hommikuid, mil mind ootas mõni tähtis tunnikontroll või arvestus, soovitan seda kogemust soojalt. Minu teada toimub Tagasi Kooli ka järgmisel aastal.

    Õppetund endale: räägi oma kogemusest, oma loost. Kui sotsiaalmeediani jõudes proovisin teemat avada, rääkides kontseptuaalsematest erinevustest võrreldes tavameediaga ja teistest tarkadest asjadest, tundus mu jutt mulle endale (ja ma arvan, et ka klassile) kuidagi õõnes.

    Keda huvitab, siin lühikokkuvõte sellest, mida tunnis rääkisin ehk siis minu kokkupuudetest meediaga:

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    Online-intervjuu turundusest

    ajujahtt.jpgTäna vastasin Skype’i toetataval Ajujahi konkursil osalejate ja muidu huviliste küsimusele rahvusvahelisest turundusest. Peale kodulehe sirvimise mul muid kokkupuuteid Ajujahiga ei olnud, aga vähemasti eemalt vaadates jättis see konkurss väga jumeka mulje.

    markko: Millised on Skype turunduspõhimõtted? sisuliselt müüte internetis ehk siis ülemaailmselt ning kõigile kes seal on. Nüüd tuleb mul palju küsimusi 🙂
    1. Kuidas olete leidnud endale konkreetsed sihtgrupid?
    2. Kas/ kuidas sihtgrupid riigiti erinevad?
    3. Kui palju ja kuidas te kasutate ära sotsiaalseid võrgustikke a la facebook, asmallworld, orkut, linkedin, jne?

    1. Turunduspõhimõtted on muutunud koos Skype’i kasvuga. Esmaseks sihtrühmaks oli tehnoloogiaspetsialistid, kellele ei tunduks liiga võõras telefoni asemel arvutiga rääkimine. Nüüd, kui toode on peaaegu et massidesse jõudnud, on sihtrühmasid rohkem. Endastmõistetavalt sihime sagedasi reisijaid ja võõras riigis elavaid inimesi, kellel Skype’ist on kõige rohkem kasu, samuti väikeseid ja keskmiseid ettevõtteid. Taktikaliselt või kampaania korras oleme katsetanud väga paljude erinevate sihtrühmadega.

    2. Suuremad erinevused ei esine mitte riigiti, vaid vastavalt sellele, kui ‘internetistunud’ mõni riik on: kas läänelikult arenenud turg, BRIC-ilikult (st. Brasiilia, Venemaa, India, Hiina) kiiresti kasvav või siis aafrikalikult alles online-lapsekingades.

    3. Kasutame sotsiaalseid võrgustikke päris palju. Oleme mõnda aega koostööd teinud MySpace’iga ja oma regionaalsete partneritega Aasias ning mujal, lihtsamaid integratsioone ja kampaaniakesi on olnud paljude võrgustikega.

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    Blood, sweat and viral marketing

    Shit doesn’t happen. Shit takes time and effort.

    I was recently in a meeting where co-founder of a next-big-thing-startup, when probed about marketing plans, said something to the line of we’ll do something viral so we don’t need to worry about marketing too much. Right. I’m in no means a viral marketing expert but this much I know: viral marketing does take time and effort.
    There seems to be a widely spread misconception that viral marketing doesn’t cost anything and that if you do even tiny bit of it, customers will turn up on your door or website like zombies. In my view this is only true on four occasions. First, companies like Skype or Facebook whose product is so viral in nature that they seem to grow “just like that”. Second, brands like Apple or Obama that have such loyal followers that every step they take is echoed on blogs, social network profiles and T-shirts of fanboys across the world. Thirdly there are those whose idea is just so spot-on that no-one can refuse to pass it on to a friend. Blendtech’s Will it blend? campaign is a good example of that. And lastly, some just get lucky because a celebrity blogger somewhere happens to like it.
    That leaves 99% of folks to make viral marketing happen with their sweat and/or marketing dollars. I’ve seen the behind the scenes of quite a few viral campaigns, and none of them have been super cheap or super easy to do. Take my recent task of generating blog coverage for Pledgehammer. I now know I have to do about a dozen units of work (this can be an email, blog comment or a guest blog post) to receive one unit of coverage. I’ve made north of 250 contacts to get about 20 people interested and writing about Pledgehammer. That’s good many evenings and weekends spent on creating “something viral”. (Luckily the weather has been rubbish). See here, here, here (got to love this one) or there for results, more links are available on Pledgehammer blog.
    Long story short – viral marketing is a powerful thing, definitely worth some experiments, it just takes time and effort to work.

    Behind the scenes of the T-Mobile ad

    By now you’ve surely seen the new T-Mobile ad. Such a great idea! A friend who was in the video told me they had five full days of rehearsal, at first in some huge building in North London where the life-size plan of Liverpool Street Station was drawn onto the floor and at night in the station itself thereafter. They shot the thing six times with 16 (or was it 14) cameras, with half-hour breaks between the shoots. Dancers were carefully choreographed to leave corridors between them so no-one would miss their train and there were station official present to green light the beginning of each take. Which all makes it a great idea that is also executed brilliantly.

    The only thing I couldn’t understand is that the guy I spoke with reckoned that 40.000 pounds was paid out to the dancers. With 400 dancers involved, can it really be just 100 pounds per hard working dancer?