Say I have a niche web app and need to raise awareness for it. The default route is to have a blog, ask around nicely for reviews, and buy Adwords.
I am currently trying out Adwords with limited success. However, just looking at how irrelevant most ads on Google are, I think people are increasingly filtering them off as they do "normal" ads.
What are the other promotion channels and tools that you think companies like mine are under-utilizing?
We have a generally untechnical audience, so we use all of the following:
It is not going to be ONE way that you are going to get the word out about your company. The potential customers needs to hear about you multiple times in different media before they hear from you. Don't get stuck into thinking about adwords (which you will notice is NOT on our list) .. be creative based on your niche. You want to be where your potential customers are and that is not always on the search engines.
One idea I had: buying a text ad on a niche blog's RSS feed. The blog would have to be read by my target customers. I saw it work nicely on Coding Horror's RSS feed: the ads are short and relevant.
I built a free Android mobile news app that was addressing a fairly focused audience of completely indeterminate size (English reading, Barcelona football fans), there were about 3 direct competitors (about 30 related competitors) in the space and they were rated about 3 out of 5 stars with few ratings and fewer comments.
My unique marketing plan was to upload my app and then drive to every mobile phone store in the city I live in and download the app on the demo phones I was checking out in the stores. I then rated (highly) and positively commented on my app with each phone.
If your app is one that a certain focused audience might search for in the Android market or Amazon Appstore then you'll want to be "found" as one of the main pillars of your marketing strategy. My technique raised my search rankings and gave my app the status (high ratings) to encourage and comfort more users into selecting it.