You are just not going to send out another email to your friends and family talking about your small business. They are sick of hearing about it.

For the past couple weeks and months you have taken what was once a dream and created a site. You feel good about this and the site certainly looks good. Professional images, nice copy, and you even found ways to give deals, discounts, and coupons. It was a lot of hard work, and you had to really stretch your potential to learn with tools like WordPress or PhotoShop or an eCommerce platform such as Magento or Shopify. However, your site is launched and no one is coming to it. You look at the analytics and it says about 5 people come to the site a day. You are pretty sure those are mostly just you at different coffee shops.

Even the users that do come, you are not sure how they got there or why they go to your site. They are certainly not buying anything. You begin to wonder – why did I not plan ahead to get traffic to the site? You have heard of facebook marketing, pay per click marketing, SEO, email marketing and more but you have neither the time nor the energy to engage in all of those forms of digital marketing. You could create a facebook post to the same 6 followers you have, or send an email to the same people you have been emailing all along. But you won’t – you know it is a waste of time. As you sit and look at the screen you get frustrated at all the time you invested in this project. You told everyone that you know that you were starting this business online, and if it fails everyone will know you are the failure.

If this is your small online business, and you have missed something vital.

You Are Marketing to The Same People Up Over And Over Again

You are marketing to the same people up over and over again with no results. You are playing right into the law of diminishing returns. Though persistence is a virtue and a necessary for any entrepreneur or small business owner, if the people you emailed the first time do not want to buy they probably will not want to buy when you email them the second or even third time. In fact as you continue to email them over and you begin to get ignored. Your email list will shrink as friends and family unsubscribe and soon you will be essentially emailing yourself. This is a cycle which you want to get out of immediately if you want your small business to thrive.

Your Contacts Are Made Up of People Who Like You Rather Than Your Business

When you start your small business you often have an email list and facebook friends that are only made up of friends and family.  This is normal, but the situation needs to change. It is safe to assume that these people do in fact like you. However, it is more than likely that they are uninterested in your business. This can be for a variety of reasons, but it is usually because they are not your target demographic. They are on your email list because they like you rather than your product. You could email them with the best offer in the world, and they will tell you how good your site looks – but they will not buy. You are simply marketing to a small audience, which is made up of the wrong people.

Find, Cultivate and Market to People Who Are Interested in the Business


Your need to step outside the friends and family zone, and market to people who are actually interested in your business. Once you find these people they will become your greatest asset. You can create whole offers for them based on what they are looking for. Marketing to people who are interested in your business is efficient as you are not wasting time talking to an audience that may like you, but is not interested in your business. This audience who is interested needs to be found and the most efficient way that I have found to do this is…

Use Pay Per Click to Find Your Audience and Build Your Email List

Pay Per Click is when a marketer buys clicks off of a search engine such as Google or Bing or a from a website. For the purpose of this blog we are going to use the example of Google. At the most basic level a marketer chooses what words they want to appear for when a user types in a search, creates an ad for those words, and then makes a designated page that a user goes to when the ad is clicked. Pay per click can be used to drive traffic to your homepage, or really any page you want – but the surprising secret that many companies don’t tell you is that you should use pay per click to build your email list. Many use pay per click in an attempt to drive sales right there and then on the page, but that can be a mistake. Here is why it is better to use pay per click to build your email list and then try and sell the prospect:

  • Your email list you build from pay per click is targeted to people you know are interested in your business. The reason they are on the list in the first place is that they typed in words that are important to your business.
  • When you have an email list, you can market to them as often as you like. You have many chances to succeed with them. While you paid for the initial click you do not have to pay every time you market to the people on your email list. If you try to sell them on the initial visit to the site and they don’t buy it is over for you. However, if you have their email address you can try multiple times.
  • You can create multiple offers and split test them. You are able to see what it is that people interested in your business actually care about and target the offers to them.

How To Setup A Pay Per Click Campaign That Cultivates Email Addresses

1. Create An Offer In Exchange For Their Email Address

Here is something that I learned the hard way – no one just gives you their email address. Why would they? With all the SPAM and abuse of peoples emails, when a visitor comes to your site they will not simply “sign up” until you have proven that you provide something valuable for them. This is a simple value proposition – the cost to them is their email address and what they receive in exchange from you is the offer. Here are some examples of offers you can make

  • Access to eBooks
  • Access to video courses
  • Access to an email learning series
  • Access to a PowerPoint
  • Access to a tool
  • Access to a template

The bottom line is that you need to provide something of value.

2. Create a Landing Page

A landing page is the page you send your user to after they click on the pay per click ad. You want to make a page specifically designed to get the email address of the person who lands there. This can be hard to envision so here are two examples below – one is from UnBounce the other is from HubSpot

UnBounce-eBook HubSpot-Offer

3. Setup Your AdWords Account

Setup a single campaign with a single keyword that matches the offer you have. For example if you are a sunglasses store and your eBook is about “10 Things Your Need To Know About Sunglasses Maintenance” Then your keyword is “Sunglasses Maintenance”. It is important to be a specific as possible. As a small business you do not have money to waste, and making the keyword as specific as possible will keep your ROI high.

Bonus Tip – To further qualify the prospect put the offer in your ad. For example your ad could read. “10 Things You Need To Know About Sunglasses Guide. Download Our Free eBook”

4. Run The Campaign

Run your adWords campaign while keeping an eye on the cost per acquisition. Remember that you are building for the long term. These are valuable customers and you will be able to market to them often.

5. Collect And Utilize The Email Addresses

The way your landing page is setup, you should be able to collect the email addresses. Now that you have them you should be able to market to them regularly with emails.

What tricks do you have to market your small business?

Photo Credits:

  • People looking through binoculars – By Laubenstein Ronald, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons