Guerilla Marketing On The Web: The StartupToons.com Case Study

Exactly 7 days have passed since my wife and I launched StartupToons.com, our comics website that pokes fun at entrepreneurship, the web, angel investing and venture capital.

We have spent a total of $50 of our money to launch the venture and then I have used various different marketing techniques to get word out about the site (I will dive into them after the stats). Check out the stats to see how it has faired so far:

Total Views: 1,202

Referrer Number of Visits

Inc.com ------------------------- 124

Facebook ----------------------- 106

Wordpress ----------------------- 15

Digg ------------------------------ 14

FastCompany.com --------------- 9

MariahCarey.com ---------------- 7

ToiletpaperEntrepreneur.com --- 5

Google Reader ------------------- 5

Email ----------------------------- 4

The rest of the users have typed it in directly or found it in some other way that Wordpress can't track.

The site is also #1 in Google for startup toons and the first 8 results on page 1 for startuptoons is all related to it or me. Inc.com's staff blog post about the site on launch day and our campaign on Facebook have obviously paid the most dividends.

I am also very surprised by the Fast Company visits and you will see why below when I explain the marketing plan.

How Did We Market The Site?

I am sure a number of people are eager to know the details of our marketing plan around the launch that allowed us to get a total of 1,202 visits within 7 days after launch without spending any money out of our pockets.

  • We both changed our status on Facebook to "please check out StartupToons.com"
  • Launched a Facebook Fan Page - We created the page so that as each person became a fan, it would show up in their news feed and help with viral promotion/word of mouth.
  • Facebook Ads - I signed up for the Visa Business Network to get the free $100 of advertising on Facebook and then created two (2) campaigns: One keywords like entrepreneur and venture capital and a second one targeting people at media outlets like Inc Magazine, Wired, Washington Post and GigaOm (You can target ads to people based on where they work). This seems to have lead to the post on Inc's Staff Blog: What A Coincidence!
  • Changed my name on Blackberry Messenger to StartupToons.com - I don't this has done much since I only have 7 friends, but it's free.
  • Wrote about the launch on my blog
  • Wrote A Facebook Note about the launch - I wrote a note about how I finally turned my wife into an entrepreneur and tagged the maximum number of people possible so they would know about the note.
  • Post about the site in relevant Facebook groups - I am a member of groups like Web 2.0 Entrepreneurs so I posted on the discussion forum asking for feedback.
  • Digg.com - We signed up on Digg and submitted the first toon, then we used the fan page to ask fans to digg it
  • MariahCarey.com - Kathryn is a very active member of the official fan club and posted about her new venture. The fans really support each other.
  • Blog about the Inc.com feature on Fast Company - Last month I decided to sign up on Fast Company and start a member blog, Diary of a Gen-Y Entrepreneur, not expecting anyone to ever find it much less read it. Clearly a few people have read it and then clicked through to the site.
  • Link on book testimonial website - The website for The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur launched on the same day and I made sure that my testimonial, just below Donny Deutsch's, included that I was Co-founder of StartupToons.com and was a clickable link.
  • Promote via Twitter - I made sure to talk about the site on twitter
The total cost to us - $0
Guerilla marketing on the web is just like offline - creativity is all that is needed. I expect the site to slowly build traffic and land some more prominent press soon that will cause another spike.
I still have some more plans that we haven't unleashed as yet ;-)

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