Jonathan BlaineSolutions-focused management leader

Focusing on solutions and helping you develop and implement customer-centric business, marketing and communications strategies.

Recent Answers

Unlike the other advice here, I doubt that Shopify (or similar) is an answer for anyone in this situation. The glory days of people making money this way out of the gate are long past, as the market is over-saturated. The Internet is overflowing with these storefronts that drop ship products from Asia, as well as horror stories from those who failed after investing lots of time and money. In fact, if your sales target is the US, the US administration is planning to kill the agreement that allowed super-cheap shipping from China. This is a land mine that only those with deep pockets, or at least, supplemental income to fund it while/if it gets going. "Making money from the Internet" is more failure than success and, to quote from Casablanca, there are vultures everywhere. Tread cautiously.

These services are 99% made up of bottom feeders -- both vendors and clients. Remember, in life and in business, you get what you paid for. Caveat Emptor.

Content marketing is, essentially, there to attract eyeballs, whether that is done by actually writing something people want to read or what a search engine thinks people want to read (which is not always the same... far from it).

Copywriting sells.

It's not just the channel but the marketing message that matters (and probably more). I was CMO for a membership honor society that targeted both the student and parent with disparate messages. It's all about benefits. Of course, in your situation as well as mine with the society, that message is "future career."

The health and quality of your source data (i.e. likelihood to buy) is also extremely important. Frankly, you will need to find the right mix between "traditional cut down trees" and electronic. It's also the tactile feel and look that affluent potential buyers expect must also be considered.

Considering your market, quickly testing messaging and format to get to a "control" in whatever media is paramount.

As many defunct companies discovered during the millennium dot-bomb crash, eyeballs do not equal revenue, even those attracted via expensive advertising., for example, and even Yahoo most recently. Without knowing your business model, it is impossible to answer your question on a forum like this. You need to consider many things, such as competition (bricks and mortar are doing this already in many markets via their own apps - order and pick up later), perceived value, geographic reach, testing results, and where your non-Facebook buyers have come from. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss.

You are in a crowded, but also very narrow, space. WyzAnt essentially owns this market in the US, although there are a couple of minor players. You don't say where you are geographically. In Canada, for example, there is a real void in this area.

Are you putting all your efforts in guerilla marketing, as your comments suggest? That can only take you so far.

You are generating at least some interest. However, most are abandoning your site upon landing. Before you address your marketing, you need to discover why there is no "stickiness." I'm guessing the product is either lacking or not wanted by the audience you are targeting... or is not presented well.

I would be glad to give you my 2 cents' worth if you wish; I have experience in the tutoring and higher education space.

Frankly, you are advertising in the wrong channel. You say you're in Corporate Housing but you have all your marketing spend in consumer. You must be putting most of those dollars where corporations go to find weekly or monthly rentals. That is not where you are now, and certainly you should not be spending much on Facebook for prospecting. Corporations simply do not go to those sites to find what you're selling.

You don't say where you are located, so I cannot get very specific. To find where you need to be, Google "corporate housing" and "corporate apartments." I'm guessing the Top 10 listed (not advertised) returns will be your best choices. If there are none, then Google / Bing advertising may be an opportunity.

The biggest directory in Atlanta, and across much of the US, is that provides both renters and corporate apartment listings. There is also the Corporate Housing Providers Association that many providers belong to: Similar listings and associations will be available in other countries.

You should also be optimizing your website for searches that are localized, such as "corporate rentals Toronto." Of course, local networking is also important to make connections with companies that may need your services in the future; business cards still have "stickiness."

Others have addressed social media here. Sure, that is important, but is only one piece of the puzzle. A comprehensive --- and tested --- marketing plan is the key. As a former CMO for an international higher education student-centric nonprofit that depended on direct/integrated marketing for 80% of its success, I suggest that looking at any and all channels is imperative.

If you do not have a quality direct marketing list, then going to where potential students --- and their parents --- are going will be the biggest key. On the web, that will be the most-visited relevant sites that enable you retarget via companies like AdRoll.

The other concern is the ever-expanding use of ad blockers. Therefore, simply "advertising" is not as powerful as it once was. Becoming a resource that will draw people to your site and blog will naturally increase your exposure via Google and other search engines over time.

This is just a cursory overview, since I do not know your exact product and business plan. Feel free to reach out if you'd like to further discuss your challenges.

You have two major challenges:
1. Driving traffic to your website.
2. Making them buy there.

A single SKU does not usually make an Internet business. What is the product? What is your current web traffic. who/where is it coming from, Is there already a want and desire for it in the market?

If you do not clearly know these answers, then you must rethink the whole process.

If you have a single product that is consumer oriented, plant seeds by testing on Amazon and/or eBay. The most female-skewed social media site is Pinterest if your product may sell via visuals.

Your question is screaming "I need a Business and Marketing Plan." You must start there.

1. Absence of testing.
2. Going online without knowing what they want out of it, or have pie in the sky dreams,
3. Trusting a vendor who says "If you build it, they will come."
4. Gathering too little information from prospects or demanding too much.
5. Requiring registration before sales.
6. Not understanding ROI.
7. Not understanding how Google rewards and punishes.
8. Throwing too much of their $ at something while taking away too much from something else that is working.

These are just a few. I'd be here all day if I listed them all, but these are some of the biggies.

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