Suggestion on new marketing options
I'm hoping you guys might help me out on some marketing ideas.
I manage 46 websites that represent 46 local areas in the US. So the marketing needs to target a specific region.
The problem is the cost of marketing them; if I spent a mere $30 /day for each site, that's a whopping $40,000 per month! And $30 isn't a whole lot of marketing; if I spend $1 per click, that's only 30 clicks.
I need for each user to view 500 pages in order to justify the cost of getting them. At 10 pages per visit, that means that I need them to be a regular visitor for at least 2 months in order to pay off the money it cost to get them. But if the site doesn't have a lot of traffic, they don't have the incentive to come back, so I end up spending more money than I get back.
I currently run FB and Google ads, but I'm about to drop FB. But in all reality, I can't spend enough on Google to get the interaction that I need.
Newspaper ads are a HUGE waste of money. Billboards have a good return if I can get them in a good location, but those good locations can be pretty expensive (in one area, a single billboard is $5,000 /month, and I would need 4 to cover the entire area).
Yard signs work well, but they tend to disappear pretty quickly and take a lot of work to put out. Same goes for flyers, promo items, etc.
I've tried setting up at outdoor festivals during the summer, but I can only realistically do 4 or 5 of these a year; that's a lot of time and energy, and I can't reach anywhere near enough people.
Email marketing used to work well, but not so much anymore; I just don't think that the emails ever make it to the inbox.
So... any other ideas? Something I haven't thought of yet?
what is a new visitor (from a click) worth to you?
That's a lot harder to say than you'd think. We're not an e-commerce site, where 1 sell = $x; we're content driven (message boards, classifieds, etc), so there are a ton of variables to consider.
Our revenue comes completely from ads, and we get paid on a PPI basis. On average, a visitor looks at 10 pages per session (less for mobile), but of course if the site is slower (meaning, less activity) then that will be less. One of our less-active sites has an average of 3-4 pages per session.
Assuming a PPI value of $2, though, that means that a 1-time visitor that views 10 pages is worth $0.02. But, of course, the goal is for them to return to the site over and over, and with any luck, help spread the word to their friends.
In that case, their value can increase substantially. A visitor that visits 10 pages a day for 30 days is worth $0.60, but if they invite a friend that does the same then they're worth $1.20. And so on.
But, of course, a visitor that only visits once a week, but during that visit is very active, creating a lot of interest for other visitors... well, they're even more valuable, because they're contributing to the overall value of the site.
Right now, a lot of our sites are newer and less active, so it's less likely for someone to keep coming back daily. We spend $1 /click on a PPC ad, they come, don't find a lot of activity, and then forget about it, so it's a waste of money.
What I need is to find a way to get 10,000 people to come to it, all at once, so that they have a reason to keep coming back. The problem there is that I don't have $10k to throw at a one-time ad (and risk losing it all).
What I REALLY need is for someone to hand me $500k, like they did for Facebook! LOL
I should also mention that when I say we have 46 sites, 4 of them are very active. The original site is 13 years old, and has well over 4 million monthly pageviews. The other 3 are 4-5 years old, and while they are considerably lower in traffic, they're still doing well.
The others are mostly less than 2 years old. Our stumbling block is that we rely on the revenue from one site to pay for the marketing budget of the next; while this works fine, it's taking forever to get anywhere!
It takes about 1 year to get a site active and profitable enough to take its revenue to spend on the next site; at this rate, it will be 42 years before all of the sites are active! What I need is a way to spend $2,000 /month to market all of them at once, instead of one at a time.
I would look at ways to get your ppc-click cost down. what subject requires $1 clicks?
are you buying traffic for the sites that give you the best advertising ROI? or all of them? why would all of the sites have the same ppc-click cost?
does the ppc-click price depend just on the subject, or can it be lowered by modifying/changing the landing page? have you tried sending the click-visitors to different parts of the sites? (not always to the front page)
if you're willing to spend money (6 figures) I would purchase a site that has lots of traffic and runs and grows automatically with very little or no work done. I know of a few and if you search properly you will find good deals.
Sounds like you're biting off more than you have the resources to chew. So maybe take smaller bites. I have similar problems. My approach, might not work for you, but my approach is to focus on what has the best growth potential. Grow it. Then move on to the next group.
Perhaps you may want to research which metropolitan areas have the most potential for growth then focus on those prospects. Once those get to a self-sustaining point move on to group B.
|if you're willing to spend money (6 figures) I would purchase a site that has lots of traffic and runs and grows automatically with very little or no work done. I know of a few and if you search properly you will find good deals. |
It's a good idea, but has two problems for us:
1. It doesn't help us to grow the other 46 sites, unless you consider the revenue generated. But then, if I had 6 figures to buy the site, I would just use that for marketing :-)
2. Loans for small businesses seem to be non-existent. My business is 13 years old, but doesn't have tangible value, so I don't have any "real" collateral. In 15 years my house will be paid off, and then I could use that for collateral! LOL
|Perhaps you may want to research which metropolitan areas have the most potential for growth then focus on those prospects. Once those get to a self-sustaining point move on to group B. |
That's exactly what we've been doing, actually. The problem is that it takes about a year to get a site active and profitable enough to take its revenue and move on to group B. It's too slow, and the longer I wait, the more likely it is for competition to come in to those undeveloped areas.
It's the most frustrating thing you could imagine.
Do you still do email marketing?
|Email marketing used to work well, but not so much anymore; I just don't think that the emails ever make it to the inbox. |
Have you ever tried to re-engage your old mailing list?
If you send out valuable information to your visitors they will remind your site and don't favour someone else's site.
|the longer I wait, the more likely it is for competition to come in to those undeveloped areas |
Start collecting emails from the very beginning.
PS: did you read the info i sent you a few days ago via sticky mail?