The Best Alternative to Google Ads (My #1 Growth Hack)

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0:10 Hey everyone, I'm Neil Patel, and today I'm going to share with you the best alternative to Google Ads. What most people don't realize is, you don't have to spend money on Google Ads to create a multibillion-dollar company. Have you heard of Dropbox? Of course, you have; the chances are it's on your computer. Did you know that when Dropbox first came out they tried to grow by doing Google advertising? And what they found is, even though they had a product that costs around $5 a month, which is around $60 a year per customer, they were spending roughly $200 to $300 to acquire a customer from Google Ads.

1:30 Can you see how those numbers don't work out? Not only are they spending more to acquire a customer than what they're paying in the first year, just because someone's paying you $5 a month, but it also doesn't mean that $5 is pure profit either. So, what did Dropbox do? They leveraged growth hacking. They figured out a way to get users to come to their site and generate more customers. They did this by creating a free product or a service, and that's a better alternative to Google Ads.

2:30 If you look at Dropbox, you look at Slack, heck even look at Amazon; Amazon's not really doing free but with a Prime membership, you get free two-day air shipping. By creating something that's free or such an amazing offer, think of it as like your carrot that you're dangling, you're going to get so many people over to your website that then when you upsell them into your paid products or services, it's so much easier because they're already using your product or service, you've already built that brand loyalty, that connection, that rapport with them. It's much easier to get that upsell.

3:00 You do not have to spend money on Google Ads to create a big business; again, look at Dropbox. Leverage growth hacking, and then as you have these free tools, these free products, these free services, and it may not be the best ones out there but something that people are used to paying for, what you can do is do things like creating invite flows. Dropbox has it: you want more free space, invite more users. I can do the same thing with Ubersuggest; I don't, but I can say "Want more free usage? Invite more members." You can get creative with your marketing, leverage growth hacking.

3:30 Just don't put all your money into Google Ads, and the reason I say that, it's not because I don't like Google Ads. Ideally, you should be doing both. But the reason I say this is, the moment you stop Google Ads you don't have any more traffic. By creating something that's free, and it doesn't have to continually cost a ton of money, like HubSpot, they have this free email signature generator. It doesn't cost them much money; they only spent a few thousand dollars creating it.

4:00 They don't even spend any money maintaining it each and every single month. But they found that it can drive over seven figures worth of revenue to their business per year; not too bad from one free tool. So if you have questions on what you should be releasing for free, leave a comment below; I'll answer it. I'll give you some ideas and hopefully, that'll get you off to the races. Thank you for watching; feel free to like, subscribe, comment, and share. Thank you very much.

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Leave a Reply 41 comments

zsolt szakal - October 2, 2018 Reply

Hi Neil!

Thanks for the video. And what about, if you sell expensive products? I will start my home robotics (vacuum cleaner and lawn mover) store in november. How could I use some kind of growthhack technics?

    Neil Patel - October 3, 2018 Reply

    You can offer discounted pricing in the beginning or smaller products at a much lower price to draw people in

Steven K. - October 2, 2018 Reply

I love ubersuggest, thanks for this great Tool! Good video 👍

    Neil Patel - October 3, 2018 Reply

    You’re very welcome, Steven!

loveforthe90s - October 2, 2018 Reply

So where does the traffic come from that gets directed to the free offer?

    lubfishin - October 3, 2018 Reply

    this was my exact thought! still have to advertise to get the traffic to the site. Right?

    Tejas parmar - October 3, 2018 Reply

    Advertise of 1st page ranking.
    For the initial output we will have to spend money

    Neil Patel - October 3, 2018 Reply

    There are many sources of traffic out there. Organic, paid, referral, social, email marketing, etc.

    Rastko Mekic - October 11, 2018 Reply

    Well, referral, email marketing are paid marketing and social isn’t so much free as they want you to pay to have fans on page and reach. This is one of the most unsatisfied answers I have ever read. And, the title of the video is bombastic but its just waisting time…

    Piano Lesson with Warren - March 7, 2019 Reply

    loveforthe90s social medias via content marketing. I don’t do ads because my YouTube channel gets over 200k views a month and brings in 4,000 subscribers. This is how I sell my products and grow my email list.

Millionaire Journey - October 2, 2018 Reply

You mean spend money on Google ads to give something for free and then hold him so that we can sell him later

One more question can we run google ads directly to a landing page where we collect emails to give something for free

    Tejas parmar - October 2, 2018 Reply

    The landing page shouldn’t be intentional for Email.
    Showcase a product or service and then a satisfying pop-up that will grab high potential Customers rather then just collecting email from everyone who most likely won’t respond to Mails

    Anja 1111 - October 2, 2018 Reply

    You can, but the landing page needs great content and a high quality give away, something that stands out. Not a PDF book or so, people are bored of that. It must be really good, like a free course that they usually have to pay for. And of course you need to make sure that if it’s a course, it is a high quality one without any sales afterwards. Build trust first, sell later… Grow into the authority figure in your niche.

    Neil Patel - October 3, 2018 Reply

    You can run ads like that, yes. But make sure you have strategy in place to upsell them too 😉

    Simon WoodburyForget - March 7, 2019 Reply

    That’s the typical scam: put something on free listing, make it unusable unless the user pays.

    James Jordan - March 10, 2019 Reply

    Yes that’s exactly what you do if you have a good enough offer ,

Scott Frostholm - October 2, 2018 Reply

I don’t have $150,000 a month to spend

    Neil Patel - October 3, 2018 Reply

    I was talking about my personal experience. You can apply my idea to any kind of budget.

Pawan Rajput - October 2, 2018 Reply

Big Thanks sir and Love from India to you

    Neil Patel - October 3, 2018 Reply

    You’re welcome!

Gary Rex - October 2, 2018 Reply

Great content!

I have a holiday/travel online Store. Selling the obvious swimwear, beach towels, sunglasses etc…. Would love to know what free tool I could offer my customers. 👍

brij bhushan - October 2, 2018 Reply

Hey Neil ,
Thanks for the awesome video .
Currently we are running a digital marketing training institute, kindly suggest me a growth hack …

    Neil Patel - October 3, 2018 Reply

    Give away part of your course for free to generate interest and then upsell the entire course.

NhyilawGH - October 3, 2018 Reply

I run a beauty salon and also sell handmade wigs I created myself, Neil how do I apply this strategy to my business?

Paper bag Production house - October 3, 2018 Reply

Thank you Neil, i use ubersuggest for finding new buying keyword

Always Bhutan Travel - October 3, 2018 Reply

Hi Neil- We follow you closely- Can you suggest a free service for a travel agency company like us. Thank you

randallu - October 3, 2018 Reply

Absolutely love ubersuggest. What do you think I should give away for free for a graphic design service?

boysofts - October 4, 2018 Reply

hy neil, i am a php script developer and developed a lot of of media related scripts like image hosting or video content management sites. now i want to stop freelancing and start my own business like you.
so any ideas about what you just told (growth hacking) or any free product etc.
your expert opinion can change my life.

Supriya Mohandas - October 4, 2018 Reply

Hi Neil. Great content and its definitely gonna help many. would you pls let me know what do I give as free to my clients. I’m into freelancing in Graphic Designing and web designing. Thanks much Neil.

Moazzam Ali - October 5, 2018 Reply

Hi, Neil Patel
How you can describe SEO in one line?

Annie Buck - October 6, 2018 Reply

Got any ideas for a cloud backup company?

Pako Thiam - October 6, 2018 Reply

Hi Neil.
I run Shopify general store and
I sell lot of products.
I give free shipping, % discount.
Do you have any recommendations?

Brady Beko - March 7, 2019 Reply

“Don’t use google ads”

*uses google ads*

    Brady Beko - March 10, 2019 Reply

    Kerrington herndon yes, he’s trying to stop people that are possibly going to use google ads but it doesn’t matter. It’s ironic because it’s exactly the opposite of what he’s telling you

    Pr!nt Workz - March 10, 2019 Reply

    Sub to me if you want him to learn how to make sense

    Wolfpack Dusk - March 11, 2019 Reply

    @Kerrington herndon you heard yourself…right?

    Nahinh cruizer - March 11, 2019 Reply


    Bernardo Puppin - June 7, 2019 Reply

    it’s called click bait

Dennisrepetiton Miskowski - March 10, 2019 Reply

This was great information I’m looking to grow my following any suggestions you have a new follower

    Neil Patel - March 11, 2019 Reply


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