Have you seen what some of the professional marketing companies are charging these days for their hyped up digital marketing services? It’s enough to make you choke on your lunchtime bagel. If you’re running a cash strapped SME, here are some budget friendly tips to stretch your online marketing allowance to it’s very limit:
- Get down and dirty with online marketing. Learning about and applying the many different tentacles of online marketing can save you a real fortune. Once you grasp the basics and implement a system that efficiently attracts targeted traffic, you can look to transition your marketing system to one of your employees or outsource it altogether.
- Many of the most powerful traffic sources are essentially free. Facebook – free. Craigslist, Twitter and LinkedIn – free. Google – doesn’t cost a penny unless you go down the Adwords route. Yes, with all these monster sites there are usually paid extras that a business with a bigger budget can tap into, but if you’re cash cupboard is literally bare, the free listings are more than enough once you know how to yield maximum results from them.
- Employ technology that can help you market faster, smarter and with bigger reach. There are also a whirlwind of free and low cost software that can help you improve your online visibility and efficiency by multiples. Take Craigslist for example – let’s say you have a few killer ad postings in a handful of categories that always deliver positive ROI, but you end up having to post ads manually every day which eats up valuable time – why not use software that auto-posts and auto schedules the ad postings for you? Such “Set It & Forget It” technology can be employed for many different popular sites and marketing techniques.
- Pop into pedigree online marketing forums to gain a better understanding of digital marketing. Sites like the Warrior Forum are bursting with small business owners and entrepreneurs who really are blooded experts at stretching an advertising quid. You can exploit the marketing wisdom on show here, and learn how real experts are squeezing traffic out of the net, and branding their business on the most meager of budgets. Did I mention, it’s totally free?
- Learn how to market online with specific keywords. In the old days of doing business – way before the internet, one of the most fundamental tactics for any business was to advertise in The Yellow Pages. If you didn’t, it was a cardinal marketing sin. Similarly, on the internet one of the most crucial concepts to understand are keywords. It’s how Google understands how and to whom to display your business website to. Keyword marketing does need you to understand your client – and what “money keywords” they type into Google when they’re ready to buy your products and services. While there are a suite of sophisticated (and expensive) keyword tools and software available for purchase – the best free keyword tool is provided by Google itself.
- Become a student of SEO (and keep learning). Search Engine Marketing, or SEO, is possibly the single most important aspect of online marketing. There are many free sites online that will teach you the basics, but the key to SEO is to understand that it dates very quickly. Search Engines like Google are forever tinkering with their ranking methodology, and sites that don’t keep up get plunged down the Google toilet pretty fast.