From Apple to my own start-ups, I've worked for big brands (Apple, Xerox, MGM Studios), fast growth start-ups (RealPractice, CircleUp) and a leading international non-profit (WorldVision). Have grown revenues, built great products managed sales, marketing & operations. Can shift between high-level strategic to hand's-on in 10 seconds flat. I'm honest and not a fluffy brander -- I won't water down my opinions, I will give to you as I see it.
In my opinion you don't need marketing yet, you need sales. You have a nearly zero cost channel called the telephone and email (get opt-in first). LinkedIn if it is a B-to-B product. Just start selling it and get a few customers. Build on that, learn from it, sell a few more. Once you have a good product, take happy customers and get referrals and/or testimonials. THEN start marketing via social media. If it's a fantastic consumer product with large potential customer base, you might actually be able to start to grow. If not, you probably need to get $ for marketing ASAP.
Sorry to be a bit blunt in my answer, but the client hired your "e-commerce web agency" to do e-commerce conversion optimization, yet your company doesn't know how to do e-commerce conversion optimization?
Perhaps have a conversation with someone in your company or talk to your manager or the agency principal and encourage them to hire for e-commerce conversion optimization expertise. It's an entire discipline requiring years of experience and track record in driving higher conversions for e-commerce sites (in my opinion).
In lieu of that, how many marketing dollars are going to be spent to drive traffic to the site and who is managing that part? Often new start-ups will spend so much of their dollars BUILDING the site, they don't leave much money to spend on AdWords or other methods to drive traffic to it. The amount of traffic will help determine how many tests to run and how often. Usually we start with two very different landing pages (do you have landing pages?), then fine-tune the split testing down to things like headlines and photos. The checkout pages, especially any pricing pages, are also critical in the testing. Is it a brand new concept or established product/service? If brand new, it will take very well-crafted pages to get visitors to pay money for something (vs. a trial). If established, why is your product best and why should I buy now? You should map out the conversion flows to the confirmation page (success page) and measure the drop-off or conversion rates at each step. Test different elements/pages at each step. Also measure things like average cart size (if more than one product), revenue per transaction and long-term customer value.
Hope that helps. Best wishes to you!
Hello. It's been a while, so perhaps you already have your answer? My two cents: I don't want to discourage you, but this is a pretty crowded marketplace (Angie's list, Yelp, ClubLocal, Home Advisor, Thumbtack, etc). It takes a lot of marketing dollars (and/or a great product/service) to fund consumer awareness building.
Small businesses also don't usually fork over $200/month (that is a lot of money to most) for an untested service.
You might try a lower entry point for the businesses and start smaller (10 businesses). Just call a few businesses (have a sales website, email, PDF overview ready first) and see if they have any interest. Most contractors these days pay either per prospect lead or per transaction. Paying for "impressions" PLUS revenue share (how are you going to track this, BTW?) might be more than they are willing to risk on a new venture.
Best to you!
Hi there. Have managed thousands of attorney online programs, I'll see if I can provide any suggestions. However, it usually depends on what type of practice you have. Commercial litigation might have a much different strategy than personal injury, for example.
Let us know and I'll come back with some thoughts. Google ads may be a good place to look, though, if not already doing. Although $1k in Los Angeles market might be spent quickly.