These days, it is pretty much pointless to ask companies if they are trying to market their brands online. To be honest, if even small businesses are not invested in some form of internet marketing by now, they are a long way behind the competition. The internet reigns supreme when it comes to advertising and international exposure – we all know that – but how many businesses know precisely what this means?
One of the most common reasons why startups fail is because they do not understand how to market themselves online. It is no good investing capital in extensive social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, if you cannot approach marketing strategies from a strictly commercial perspective. In other words, you cannot use these social media platforms in the same way as you would personally, and expect them to offer you great rewards.
My Guide To Marketing Your Business Online For Free
The bottom line is that internet marketing can be both tricky and surprisingly simple. It is all about capturing and retaining interest, and there are a million and one different ways to do this. For businesses with a small budget, the options are usually limited, but the great thing about the internet is that, in many cases, it is the ‘small fry’ moves which turn out to be the most lucrative, particularly if they are carefully implemented.
This guide to some of the best internet marketing strategies for small budgets will help you to understand what needs to be done, how it needs to be carried out, and what it is that internet users are really looking for when it comes to online content.
Commenting on Blog Posts
One of the simplest and cheapest ways to drum up interest in your online content is to interact with the content uploaded by others. The standard blog post is a great option, because they are usually written by people with a genuine interest in the subject matter. Therefore, if you comment on a blog in a valuable and engaging manner, there is a good chance that its author will take a similar interest in what you are offering.
The thing to remember is that this is only really effective if you comment on blog posts which are relevant to your own website. If you start spamming every blog post that you can find, you will eventually be tagged as junk and automatically redirected to the trash folder. Once you have put together a valuable and insightful comment, leave your website URL at the bottom.
Whilst this might sound like a fussy and small scale strategy, it has helped scores of high profile websites make it into the limelight. For example, you only have to look at tech website Mashable to see what is possible – its creator started out by commenting on hundreds of blogs, and eventually went on to become the owner of one of the most popular technology resources on the internet.
Offering Advice on Forums
You would be surprised at the number of people who still use forums and message boards to share information, chat to like-minded people, and seek advice on an endless variety of problems – everything from how to install iPhone apps to making money online, setting up a home business, or taking care of new pets. The old school message board forum is a lot more popular than people think, and it can be a great avenue for small budget internet marketing.
It works in the same way as marketing via blog posts does, insofar as the responses which you offer must be engaging and valuable, if you are to draw interest to your own content. The very best way to achieve this, particularly on message boards and forums, is to try and offer genuine advice. This is what most people are on forums for in the first place, and if you can give it to them, they are much more likely to visit your website in the hope of similarly useful insights.
Once again, this might sound like a fussy or inconsequential strategy, but entrepreneurs like Timothy Sykes (the penny stock millionaire) have built up their online empires from a handful of well-placed comments on message boards and forums. In fact, Sykes eventually directed more than 5,000 new visitors to his website every month, simply by offering advice to the right people, in the right places.
Using SEO Techniques
This could be the single most important strategy for all online businesses, no matter how sizable their budget. If your content is not yet optimized for search engines (mostly Google), you are running the risk of dropping behind competitors and struggling to regain your market position. If you can rank highly on Google search results pages, you will naturally start to see a significant amount of extra traffic being directed towards your website.
The bad news is that SEO has become a major industry, and is now one of the fastest growing markets in the world. This means that every business on the planet is currently invested in advancing their SEO capabilities, either with the help of big bucks marketing agencies or by following the examples set by already established brands. Whilst it is always more effective to seek the help of professionals, if this is not an option for you, it is time to learn how to master a few of the most important SEO tricks.
The value of keyword placement, link building, tagging, and Meta descriptions is something which your company needs to be informed about. You could see your website jump right up the search rankings by doing nothing more than placing more keywords throughout your content, and making sure that each post or article carries an eye catching description. It is important to note that SEO is an ever evolving discipline, so do your research and keep up with current developments.
Establishing an Affiliate Partnership
If your budget is a lot smaller than you would like, and you really are struggling to find the capital to invest in extensive internet marketing tactics, you can always think about setting up some affiliate partnerships. These relationships are valuable, because both parties gain from them without necessarily having to pay for the privilege.
In essence, affiliate marketing campaigns put you in touch with companies which are willing to promote your products or services for free, in exchange for a small percentage of each sale that they drive towards your content. In other words, there are no marketing fees to pay, but you do have to give up a certain amount of the revenue apportioned to visitors. The more visitors that you receive, the more profit you will make, and the bigger the cut will become.
However, the great thing about affiliate marketing campaigns is that they are one of the cheapest ways to promote a brand, products, or services. There are scores of affiliate marketing enterprises online which can hook you up with suitable partners, as well as monitoring and managing the arrangement, for the security of all involved parties.
Attending Networking Events
Whilst small businesses tend not to be well-known enough to be invited to speak at networking and corporate events, they should not disregard the value of attending them. These kind of events are held almost every week, and they are a great place not only to learn about internet marketing, but also to sneak in some serious schmoozing. The emphasis may officially be on the guest speakers, but the real aim (for most attendees) is to meet like-minded individuals and companies.
The trick is to attend with a high level of optimism and an equal amount of flexibility. You do not want to turn up desperate and overly determined to harangue people into working with you, but you do want to be open to the possibility of picking up new opportunities. The events that you choose to attend do have to be directly related to your website, products, or services, but they should be able to offer skills and insights which are transferable.
The truth is that it is impossible to tell where a chance meeting will lead, so it is always worth sticking your neck out and holding out your hand to fellow business people. There is every possibility that an animated conversation at a networking event will turn into a surprise phone call and an offer of work or partnership, further down the line – keep your eyes open, and your prospects flexible.
Is internet marketing on a tight budget really possible?
If this guide to the cheapest and simplest internet marketing techniques has taught you anything, it should be that even with the biggest budget in the wold, if what you are offering potential visitors is not valuable, it will not be able to draw in a significant amount of extra traffic. The keys to capturing and retaining interest are and always will be relevance, value, and transferability.
In other words, your content (whether it is on a website or elsewhere) should always be useful, somehow related to your target audience, and able to be transferred to other areas and disciplines. For example, if you are offering advice on microwave repair, because you own an appliance repair company, you absolutely do want readers to understand that the advice can be extended to more than just microwaves, so to speak.