While money won't just fall into your lap, these often-overlooked online marketing strategies should help you realize greater web traffic and gain untapped revenue.
Like a bargain hunter salivating over the prospect of a new dollar store opening in the neighborhood, small business owners are always on the lookout for marketing ideas with great value at a bargain price. Compared to other types of marketing, online marketing offers business owners a multitude of strategies that can be implemented successfully for very little or no out-of-pocket cost.
Read on for examples of five such online marketing ideas that can yield excellent results without much impact on your budget.
Blogging and More Blogging
Most business owners understand the importance of including a blog on their company websites. Search engines like blogs and it provides the opportunity to shed the corporate-speak and truly engage with customers in a way different from just about any other circumstance, other than in-person.
Host your blog at your domain (yourcompany.com/blog). Write high-quality content and respond to all comments in a timely manner so as to help build community surrounding you blog.
In addition to frequent, high-quality posts on your own blog, look for opportunities to guest blog or write guest articles for other prominent sites catering to your industry. There are a growing number of online media sites that will consider guest contributors. Providing high-quality content across several online media or industry channels will help to build your company's authoritative voice. If necessary, outsource the writing to ensure quality and optimization.
Adding Social Share Buttons to Website
For website owners having a blog on their site or a dedicated blog or even e commerce, social sharing is something that gives indirect promotion, marketing, leads and sales. What social share does is that it allows a piece of content to get shared across social media platform the way the are, like videos, images, links or texts.
How social sharing helps in promoting? Well, if the content is good & informative, people will like to share it on their profiles. Social media being a huge source of influences , the content will get lot’s of exposure or even reshares. So without any efforts or investment your content will reach to many people, and likely to convert or leave an impression.
Give it Away
From two-for-one product giveaways to tokens of appreciation to free consultation, there is an entire spectrum of ways for you to give something away for free.
Consumers love getting something for nothing, particularly online consumers. Give away a free sample or provide a free educational workshop, for example. Rather than worrying about the cost of giving something away for free, think of it in terms of investing and what the return on that investment could be.
Entrepreneur and top web influencer Neil Patel relates on one of his sites how he used the "something for nothing" model in a unique way. He would review company websites, then send off emails providing very detailed step-by-step advice on how they need to change to improve traffic. While many of the companies completely ignored him, a few prominent ones ended up hiring him, which allowed him to draw other prominent players, making the effort well worth it.
The practice of giving away something for free can be applied regardless of your product or service and regardless of your business size. As a small business owner operating online, Chet Womach is using the model for his dog training program offered on DVD and CD. "I've found that if a prospective customer has the opportunity to view a small portion of our program for free, they are far more likely to come back and invest in a full-scale program. "The free sneak preview has served as an excellent selling point for us."
Create a Beginner's Guide
Posting white papers has traditionally been a popular way to enhance your website's content. While they are still effective, the practice has evolved into what are increasingly becoming known as "beginner's guides."
What's a beginner's guide? While there are no hard and fast rules, these documents can be characterized by high-quality content that provides a very thorough explanation of how to do something better, such as this popular SEO beginner's guide from MOZ. Since they are meant to target those relatively new to the subject, a high-quality online guide should contain certain features useful in explaining a subject area, such as definitions of terms.
Done correctly, a beginner's guide made available for free through your website should not only help drive traffic, but should yield you a number of links as well.
Be an Expert Speaker
You might be surprised to learn that some companies claim they receive 75 to 85 percent of their new clients through conferences, webinars, workshops or related events.
Only a few years ago, companies wanting to implement this marketing strategy had to rack up quite a load of travel costs on the front end with the hope they would snag enough high-paying clients to make a profit.
Another cost-effective route you can use in combination with offering your expertise at online events is to identify local functions that are looking for speakers.
In either case, all you need to do is identify events where your area of expertise may be appropriate, and apply to be a speaker. Conferences and other programs you've attended in the past may have had you thinking that all speakers are hotly pursued by event coordinators and then heavily persuaded to be on the program.
In reality, most meeting sponsors will be more than happy to give you due consideration for their program as long as you have adequately made a case for your area of expertise and detailed how it will benefit their target audience.
If you are offering certain services that can be applicable for a large number of business types, such as customer service consulting or brand management, don't be afraid to cross industry sector lines and stray from your normally targeted groups when researching events, whether online or local.
Respond to Questions
There are a growing number of question and answer sites, such as Answers.com, as well as an even greater number of forums where you have the ability to respond to questions related to the services or products you offer.
Doing so may not only increase traffic and possibly improve your standing as an authoritative voice, but may also secure new clients for you as well.
One approach is to go through forums for your target audiences and choose a certain number of companies to respond to each day. If you are able to convert between 1 and 3 percent, of them into paying customers you should find your efforts are time well spent.