Thursday, January 12, 2012

Low cost online marketing tactics to drive awareness for your small business

Marketing can be expensive, however, you don’t need a six-figure budget to drive results. Here are some great tactics you can put into action that will help you build buzz and drive traffic back to your website. While these ideas are not expensive, they will definitely take a bit of time and effort to master.  

1)      Blog commenting:  This is a simple and effective way to drive traffic back to your website or blog. Blogging is a social activity, a two-way conversation between the writer and their readers so if you join the conversation you must add value to it. By posting insightful comments on other blogs, you not only build relationships with the bloggers but also with their readers. Remember to only comment on blogs that are related to your industry or targets your market demographics.

2)      Posting in message boards: Although they may have been around since the beginning of the internet and are relatively unchanged, they are still extremely effective for driving traffic and building awareness. There are thousands of message boards around the internet for almost every topic. By joining and participating in their discussions and consistently offering great advice, you will be considered as an expert and drive traffic to your website. 

3)      Search Engine Optimization: Search Engine Optimization has become one of the most important marketing tactics that you could use to drive traffic and awareness to your business. With millions of people using Google and other search engines every day, why shouldn’t you target your website to them? By ranking higher in the search engines, you have the opportunity to drive thousands of visitors every day to buy your services and products.  

4)      Create a blog: Regardless of what you sell online, you must have a blog. The benefits of writing a blog goes beyond building a relationship with your prospects and customers, it can also help your site’s organic SEO ranking. Because Google ranks websites higher that post frequent content that people link to, having a blog makes great sense for your company. By posting great content, stuff that people can’t find anywhere else, you are positioning yourself as a resource that people go to for information. Make sure that you share your content through social media sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook and Twitter. For many websites, a blog accounts for a large portion of their monthly traffic. By converting that traffic into leads, you can have your sales team follow up and make them customers.

5)       Build your social media presence: You should be taking the opportunity to have a company profile or page on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  They will be good areas to get new clients that you normally wouldn’t get. And the best part is that it won’t cost you anything except the time it takes to maintain your profiles. Don’t forget that people are on your pages because you provide content that they can’t find on their own. You build up your profile when you share and participate in the social web.

6)      Be a guest poster:  Another great way to get some awareness and traffic is to write guest posts on other blogs within your industry. With thousands of blogs found on the web, you will be able to find a few popular blogs that you can write for. And the common thing that all these blogs want is more content. By writing guest posts, you will not only get organic traffic but, even more valuable, backlinks that can help you with your Search Engine Optimization campaign. 

7)      Video marketing or YouTube: Now that they appear in search results, videos have become a great way to market your service or company. You can optimize them to appear higher in the rankings and create great videos to show clients how good your products and services are.  Remember, people go to YouTube to either learn or be entertained.

8)      Get interviewed: Getting publicity from major news outlets is hard, however, you can still get publicity from blogs and smaller online newspapers. Contact various bloggers and give them a reason as to why they should interview you. Mention your company’s achievements or why their readers will find you awesome. If they say yes, they will most likely email you some questions and post your response.

There are many ways that you can generate awareness and branding without having to spend money, it just requires some creativity and effort. There are many examples of companies achieving greatness through using low-cost marketing tactics and competing effectively against their competitors. If they can do it, so can you.  Just be aware that you must be willing to put in time and energy to get results.