Online Marketing: Free and Low Cost Strategies That Make More Sales
by Robert Dempsey
Published on this site: July 25th, 2011 - See
more articles from this month
The good news is that regardless of the continued massive growth
of the Internet, the rules of business haven't changed -
fundamental business strategy still applies. You start with your
ideal customer, you find out what their biggest problems are, you
then find or create solutions for those problems, and finally you
put the solution in front of the customer and the sale is made.
The even better news is that what has changed is our ability to
reach more of our next customers at less cost - is it much
greater today and is expanding. That comes with its own set of
When it comes down to it, there are two types of online
strategies we can use,
- Free and low-cost, and
and low-cost go together because even though some of these
strategies might be free in terms of cost, they are definitely
not free in terms of time. For now, let's look at the former.
Free and Low-Cost As mentioned before, free and low-cost
strategies are those that are extremely inexpensive dollar-wise,
and more expensive time wise. The most popular and effective in
use today are:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Search engine
Blogging Every business should have a blog and post at a minimum
one article per week. Blogging can help to build or strengthen
expert status in your industry; it can show customers that you
know what you're talking about and can really help them. These
articles can then be syndicated to a larger audience in social
media - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.
Many blogging platforms are free. A great way to start out is
using WordPress. Out of the box WordPress has a lot of features -
everything you need for a blog. In addition, there are thousands
of free plugins you can use to add features to your blog that can
enhance the search engine optimization, create contact forms,
automatically send blog posts to social media, and many more. If
you can't find what you need for free, there are many paid
plugins for less than $100 that also come with support.
Social Media As business becomes increasingly personal once
again, participation in social media is a must. This doesn't
mean you have to sit on Twitter all day and watch the tweets roll
in - that would be a complete waste of time. Rather, you can set
up custom searches for the main keywords of your business, and
engage with the people that use them. You never know when you'll
be talking to your next customer or raving fan.
There is a new breed of customer relationship applications
maturing in the category of social CRM. The purpose of these
applications, typically web-based, are to help you cut through
all the "useless" chatter on social media so you can focus in
on potential customers. One such application currently in beta is
Email Marketing A cliche in Internet Marketing is, "the money
is in the list." What is meant by this is that if you have a
relationship with a large group of people via email, you can make
buying recommendations that they will act on, due to the
relationship. For the most part that's true.
A great use of email marketing is for lead nurturing. Not
everyone that visits a website is ready to buy. Some people are
looking for information and some are comparing competitive
offerings. If you're lucky some will come with credit card in
hand; but most aren't. That's where lead nurturing comes into
With most email marketing solutions you can set up an automatic
sequence of emails to go out to your email list on a schedule -
this is an autoresponder. You can mix in broadcast emails that
provide timely information to your subscribers. To get people to
join your list you offer then an ethical bribe such as a video,
ebook, or other piece of information that offers value.
Regardless, the point is to deliver a steady flow of value that
builds the relationship to the point where the prospect follows
your call to action and makes a purchase.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) This is the stuff of myths and
legends, and really seems to be a dash of science with a heaping
tablespoon of alchemy. Without going overboard though it comes
down to a basic principle: Google is in the business of providing
its customers (searchers) with the most relevant results so they
keep coming back, seeing and clicking on ads, and Google makes
billions. So what does relevant mean? It means that the
information and experience you provide around a set of keywords
or phrases is better than anyone else.
Is that a bit of an over simplification? Yes, but we could talk
about SEO for months and not go anywhere. So for now, keep in
mind that relevant content and user experience is what Google
cares about; provide that to people and you'll rise in the
Which Way To Go? With all these options it's difficult to see
which way to go. And the answer isn't "it depends" but rather
in what order to do everything you've read about. And here's
the answer to that:
- Start with content: Create a blog if you haven't already and
start writing content that will help your ideal customer.
- Create a free report or a video and create an email list: Give
people the free report in exchange for their email. Be sure that
you limit the amount of sales pitch in this free report - if you
want to keep people as subscribers they need to get value.
up for a free Twitter account: Don't jump in head first but
rather do some searches around the keywords and phrases that best
define your business. Take note of how people use those words,
and also note who uses them. After a few weeks you'll know how
best to approach people and strike up some conversations.
- Search engine optimization: With all of your content do one
thing, write for your ideal customer. Whoever that person is,
write to solve their problems. Once you're doing that, you can
dig into more advanced strategies.
The Final Step With this primer in hand, there's only one thing
left to do - go make it happen! Start a blog, join Twitter,
create a free report and set up an email list, and start writing
content for your ideal customer. Do those four things and you'll
be well on your way to making many more sales.
Copyright (c) 2011 Robert Dempsey
Robert Dempsey is the Itinerant Entrepreneur. He combines
technology, psychology, and marketing to help his clients build
their empires using strategic marketing. Visit his website to
start getting more traffic, leads, and sales: