The perfect business model?

Have you noticed I keep tweaking the business model? Don’t answer that 🙂

Yes, over the past month, I’ve made yet more changes — some new and some recycled.

I felt it was time to start running ads, but wasn’t sure about the approach. One thought was to run an ad that would simultaneously get the attention of consumers and business owners.. The idea being that I want the owners to see that I was actively promoting the site to the general public which, in turn, would demonstrate that there’s value in listing their business on the site.

Another approach is to run two differnt ads — one designed to get subscribers and another that was aimed at business owners. I thought a giveaway might be the best way to get subscribers and began running an ad for the restaurant gift card giveaway that I described in my last post.

I needed to run ads from a Facebook page and it seemed best to using one of my “shop local” pages rather than a page with a generic-sounding name like “Local Leader”. I selected the Green page which reminded me of what I had started to do a couple months ago which was to offer a free posting on the page to business owners.

Then the light bulb finally went on. Why not offer the free Facebook page posting instead of the free business listing that I had been contemplating and stewing about for some time? Wouldn’t that be more enticing to business owners? Of course it would. And it also happens to be less work for me!

This decision then lead me realize that I needed build more page followers, which is also something I had started doing months ago before getting side-tracked with the card idea. I restarted the “Like” campaign I was previously running.

So I had two ads going — the giveaway and the Like campaign, but realized I needed something that promoted my free posting offer. So now I had 3 ads.

Well, lo and behold — that third ad actually started getting results within a day or so, and three business owners actually submitted posts.

This was a milestone accomplishment that really boosted my confidence and convinced me that I was finally on the right path. Now that I know I can the attention of business owners, it was just a matter of nurturing those relations until they become customers.

Simple, right?

Not necessarily. After getting those 3 post submissions, I also realized that my process was far from perfected. For one thing, my submission form was a bit complicated and confusing, and creating the post and notifying the owner was pretty random. And, despite many attempts, I still didn’t have a smooth path to transition someone to paid services. I knew I needed to turn the process into something easy and repeatable.

So I paused the ad while I worked on more refinements.

Another issue that’s been bothering me is the fear that I couldn’t get results for a client by simply posting his offer on my website and promoting the website as a whole. That had been my strategy for some time. I really liked the idea of only worrying about promoting the website and not having to deal with creating and managing ads for a client.

But I had this dread that it just wasn’t going to be enough. I came to believe it wouldn’t be too hard to convince a client that posting their offer on my website had some value, but I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to get results for them and they’d leave right away.

I felt I needed something more tangible so I resurrected another idea which is to include an ad campaign as part of my basic offer.

Being an ad agency is not what I want to be, especially not the typical kind that offers a very personalized approach and expects clients to spend thousands of dollars a month.

I’m counting on there being a market for an advertising service that offers very standardized products at a low price.

Another thing – since I’m getting interest in posting on my Facebook page, it seems there might be people willing to pay a little to post

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