Having a thriving home-based online business is a fabulous asset. But what’s even better, by being an online business owner, you won’t have to worry about having a boss to answer to or have to think about what to say if you happen to be a bit late when getting in to work. But of course, with all the upsides, you get some downsides as well. As with any business, you’ll have to get out there and promote yourself and your website in order to make your services or offerings known.
So how do we market our websites? Many people are able to create sites that attract lots of eyeballs which turn into ad clicks and finally, to cold hard cash. Somehow some are able to swing it. How do they do it? Through a nifty (read: useful, attention grabbing, content-rich) site with targeted advertising and a solid audience. First things first — you have to have a marketable site. One that is useful, of high quality and well-maintained. Once it’s built, you want it to be discovered and appreciated.
Free Ways To Promote Your Website
Once your product or service is taken care of (in the guise of your site), then you’ll have to market it. Luckily, there are ways to market online that won’t necessarily require a huge budget. There is a lot you can do without spending much cash at all. So let me share some of these money saving methods with you.
Online Marketing Tips
1. Promote your business in your email signature. This is a pretty simple tip. It literally takes minutes to set up, but once you have done so, a signature will help promote your business with every single email you send out. It’s also quick, efficient, changeable whenever you like, and best of all, free!
2. Start a free blog (or set up your own). If your site is not a blog, then you may want to think of creating one for it. Blogs are usually used as the communication arm of a website that is typically built for something specific (e.g. a particular service, product or other entity). Free blogs can be started within minutes, but you would be better off paying the small amount it takes to secure a domain and your own hosting.
3. Set up some social media memberships. We’re talking about Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and so on. Once again, they are free to set up, they provide links to your blog and website and they can connect you to potential customers and partners as well.
4. Comment on relevant forums. Is there a forum where your customers or visitors are likely to go? Join it, become a valued member by giving good advice and place a link to your website in the signature line if you are allowed to.
5. Respond to relevant blog posts. Find blogs about the subject of your business and comment on some of those posts. Identify yourself in those comments and make sure that what you write is worthwhile. Believe me when I say that bloggers will delete your comments if they are deemed useless or spammy.
6. Try getting featured in other sites. Create connections with other site publishers and see if you can work with others to symbiotically share content on each others’ sites. You can do this via guest posts, for example. Note that you may or may not receive a response from other site owners as a lot of folks have limited bandwidth and take a while to reply. Also, these days, free content is scrutinized more carefully than in the past.
Traditional or Standard Marketing Tips
1. Tell people what you do. It’s easy to underestimate the power of ordinary conversation and old-fashioned word-of-mouth methods. Everyone you meet could be a potential future customer but they’ll first have to know what it is you can actually do for them.
2. Invest in some business cards. This is vital, and well worth the investment. It makes you look professional, especially if you keep some with you at all times. Check out how I got my business cards for free!
3. Start talking to other business people. Making connections in the business world can help in many ways. You could receive leads or get business from those who already know who you are. And you can also help them out in return.
4. Learn to see opportunities for new business wherever you can. This might sound like an odd one to finish on, but the more opportunities you come across, the more doors you can potentially open. The same goes for new ideas for advertising and promoting yourself.
As you can see, there are ways to start promoting your online business without having to spend too much money in the process.
Use Both Internet Marketing & Traditional Marketing Methods
From the points above, you can see that internet marketing is different from traditional marketing. There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. For example, internet marketing also involves networking via links (aka link building). You’ll also realize that the strange designation of “PR” that’s attributed to a site or blog does not refer to the traditional form of marketing called “Public Relations” or the use of “Press Releases”, but rather, to an SEO-related (or internet marketing) term called “Page Rank”.
On that note, allow me to share this little ditty: some years back, I was eager to learn more about site promotion when I chanced upon folks discussing how they were only interested in linking with anyone who was a PR4 or PR5. HUH??? I had no clue.
Well I subsequently discovered that “PR” was short for “Page Rank”. Back then, I chuckled at my ignorance. While it may not be the case today, there once was a time when a site with a high PR was considered manna (or more valuable) while those who didn’t have it were considered inconsequential. But the fact is, we have come full circle. Ultimately, page rank, link building and other SEO methods may no longer be as relevant as they once were. These days, promoting your website through quaint means like advertising, public relations channels and plain old-fashioned face-to-face networking are becoming as important as social media marketing and guest posting. So perhaps aiming for a high PR quotient is a reasonable tactic after all, if you consider “PR” to refer to “Public Relations”, “Press Release” or “Promotions”!
If you want to diversify your sources of traffic, then you should promote your site with an eye on both online and offline marketing methods.
Created August 7, 2006. Updated December 9, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.