Marketing has proven a bigger challenge than we expected. I'm sure you've heard the mantra "Build it and they will come." We're here to testify that statement is false.
We've tried a couple of ad networks (specifically, Google and Facebook ads), but with our affilate links, our profit margin is tiny. The competition for ads in this sector is pretty brutal and we invariably ended up paying more to acquire a conversion than we made on the conversion itself. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned here and we should modify our approach, but we're pausing the ad campaigns for the moment.
Twitter, on the other hand, has been working out very well for us. We watched a helpful video (to which we've lost the link) and were inspired to take their advice on utilizing twitter as a marketing platform. But not in the sense you might expect.
If we were to merely broadcast links to our product on Twitter, it would be less-than-helpful or even annoying to most of the people who saw it. However, if we take the time to find the people who are looking for our product, for instance someone who tweets "Hostel recommendations in Paris, anyone?", and genuinely try to help that person out by pointing them to our site, suddenly, they're very appreciative and often become a conversion.
This is definitely a mental shift from the usual goal of user acquisition. It's certainly on a smaller scale. But it's working for us so far and we've realized that when we're genuinely helpful, others who see the thread are naturally more receptive to the idea of trying out PackerShack.
The fact is, we know the product is good. That's why we made it. It serves a useful purpose for our target audience. So the goal is not to talk up our product. The goal is to find our target audience and show it to them.
Our motto while developing PackerShack was one line at a time. Now our focus has shifted to helping one user at a time.
Happy hacking. :)