No matter how great your products, services, or websites are, you’re not likely to succeed in online business without using at least basic marketing tactics. Marketing is about making customers, clients, or visitors aware of your online business, and how to convince them to buy or keep coming back.
Here are five cheap and free Internet marketing tips for promoting an online business:
1. Offer something for free – No matter what type of online business, customers and visitors love to receive something for nothing. Create an e-book, short report, white paper, software application, collection of articles, or something similar that can be given away for free. If you create it yourself, it’s an easy free marketing tactic. Hiring a writer or developer can still be a cheap marketing tactic. Also use free giveaways as an incentive for visitors to sign up for your email newsletter.
2. Offer an email newsletter – Having an opt-in email newsletter is a simple Internet marketing tip that can be run for free if handling mailings independently, or inexpensively even if you use an email management service to track campaign results. The key to successful email marketing is to focus on the reader or customer rather than only yourself. Offer an incentive (like a free e-book) for signing up, and continue to offer information in newsletters that would interest readers and keep them coming back.
3. Offer an incentive for repeat business – One-time visitors, clients, and customers are nice, but it’s even better if they keep providing repeat business. A cheap marketing tip for an online business is to offer a small discount on a future order, advanced notice of a new product or service launch, or a restricted area of the website only viewable to repeat visitors (such as running a forum where certain resources are only available to registered members, or members with a certain number of posts).
4. Offer something newsworthy – To make more money online, you need to keep your company’s name on the minds of visitors or customers. This can be done inexpensively by sharing significant news through press releases. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a press release, and even hiring a public relations professional to write one can be cost effective compared to the exposure they can bring. It doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars to distribute every press release effectively. Several cheap or free online press release distribution sites will get news listed in search engines, and emailing a copy to relevant journalists and bloggers is free.
5. Offer your opinions – Many online business owners and webmasters don’t understand the value of a review. No matter what industry you’re in, and no matter what type of online business you run, there’s something or someone that can be reviewed. Review books, industry products, podcasts or seminars by industry professionals, blogs, or other websites in your niche that aren’t in direct competition. Reviews will often cost nothing, although you’ll occasionally spend a small amount on a book or other product to review if free review copies are available. Here’s the marketing benefit of reviews: Don’t only review something and let it sit online. Instead send a link to the reviewed site, publisher, or manufacturer’s public relations person or owner. While usually not necessary, you can gently suggest that they add it to their site’s press section if they have one. PR people love reviews, and it often leads to high quality backlinks to help with SEO efforts if nothing else. In some cases, it can lead to more exposure, especially if the reviews are eventually converted into a “top picks” series, yearly or monthly rankings, or something similar.
Notice that every one of these cheap and free Internet marketing tips began with the word “offer.” That’s because effective marketing often means looking beyond yourself and your online business and instead focusing on the needs of the target market. Visitors and customers will recognize and appreciate the fact that the extra of value given to them, and it can help your online business stick out in their minds. Give a little; get a lot.