BuySellAds.com was founded in February/March 2008 and helps online advertisers and website publishers buy and sell ads better. Below Todd shares his insights and experience in rapidly growing BuySellAds.
For those readers who are preparing to launch or have recently launched their app/web-based service, can you share what you guys did early on to attract those initial customers for BuySellAds?
The first thing was having an app/product that solved a common problem. Since we were initially solving this problem for ourselves, telling our story was very easy, natural, and resonated well with the initial users we approached. With BSA we were lucky in that it was very obvious who could benefit from using the app. We weren’t competing with other ad networks, we were competing with the individual website owners who were currently doing by hand what BSA was built to do. It was very grass-roots, sending legitimate personal emails and letting our passion for the business show through with fast and accurate support.
What do you attribute to BuySellAds’ success? How have you grown so quickly?
Two things. First, we were making website owners (mostly freelancers) more efficient – people who tend to always be busy, and for whom time is real money. Second, our intentions have always been very genuine and transparent from the start, and we have been extremely consistent for over 2 years now. Consistently delivering for your users is key. It’s a great way to build loyalty and the only true way to win business month after month.
How are you currently marketing BuySellAds? Can you elaborate on what has and has not worked well for you?
We still have a very grass-roots approach. Our best marketing comes from our users who recommend us, write blog posts, and tweet about us. After that it is our support. Providing great support has really strengthened relationships with our users. Any company who doesn’t provide awesome support these days is crazy, it’s the easiest thing to get right. All you have to do is care.
What role do you think design and usability has played in the success of BuySellAds? Has it given you an edge over the competition?
Since the majority of our users are web designers and developers (or looking to market to them) I think that design has played somewhat of a role. I say somewhat because the early versions of BSA weren’t pixel perfect (the current version isn’t either). However, when it comes to usability, I think it’s played a larger role than design. It is so incredibly easy for someone to buy an ad through us, people get addicted. It’s fun. You can get your ad live on some serious websites in only a few minutes. The design and usability of our site is always something that we will work hard to improve. It is a personal passion of mine, and I value this aspect of our business highly.
What are the key metrics for your business that you review regularly?
Well, to be honest, we have been growing so quickly that I do not look at all that I should. The metrics that tend to put me in a good mood or a bad mood are our total cancellations, total new purchases, total recurring purchases on a daily basis and on a month to date basis. These three stats hold the pulse of the business and allow me to make basic decisions on where to focus our time from week to week. Beyond that, we tend to dive into publisher specific earnings and advertiser specific results while trying to make recommendations and sell more ads.
Looking back, what are the top three things you wish you would have done differently since launching BuySellAds?
I wish that I would have quit my full-time job sooner and focused 100% on BSA before Jan. 1st 2009. I wish that I would have started delegating sooner – I am a control freak and teaching other people how to do parts of my job is a hard thing for me, because I enjoy every aspect so much. Lastly, I wish that I had not spoken with venture capitalist. While I greatly appreciate meeting those that I did and was fortunate to hear their valuable advice, I was never fully committed to raising money and it ended up being a huge time commitment.
What tips would you give someone who is launching an app for the first time?
This is almost a bit cliché these days, but it’s true: get it out there, launch, constantly iterate and improve.
Thanks for sharing your experience with our readers Todd!
Be sure to visit their website at http://www.buysellads.com