Archive for the ‘Saving Money’ Category

Surviving Tough Economic Times Part VI: Free, Yet Effective Marketing Part 2

Sunday, April 25th, 2010 by Clyde A. Lettsome, PhD, PE

Last month, I started a three part sub-series on using the internet to market your small business. Thus, this month would be part two of the series. In this installment, I am continuing the series and focusing on two of the three ways to market your business on the internet. The two I am focusing on this month are marketing through your website and self-publishing on informational websites. Using both approaches gives you an opportunity to show the world your expertise and let the world know what your business is doing.

Let us start with your website. With a website, you get an opportunity to let your customers and visitors know what you do, prove that you are knowledgeable, and allow you create press releases to tell everyone what is happening in your company for free. By no means am I implying that the website is free, but rather, if you build it correctly and add the right pages, it can become a marketing tool that cost no additional funds after the initial build that you can use over and over to promote your business. So, how do you transform your website into a marketing tool for free? Well, it is possible by doing the following three things:

  1. Make Your Business Website Searchable – Most visitors to your site will come there via search engine. Thus, it is very important that your site is searchable. What does it mean to make your site searchable?
  2. -          AVOID flash intensive pages. Flash is great when used in moderation. Too much flash on the other hand makes it very difficult for search engines to know what your services and products are. Why? Because search engines read words, not pictures or movies. Even though flash may have words in it, those words are interpreted as images. The worst offenders of this rule are splash pages. They are the first page visitors see when navigating to your homepage. Avoid them when designing your site. They become a virtual road block for search engines.

    -          Submit your site to popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Bing) so they can “crawl” it. By doing this, you are making the search engine aware that your business page exists. Once they are aware, they will send their software “bots” to search your page and get an idea of what your page is about. Once they know what your page is about, it will appear in searches.

  3. Keep It Simple, Silly – Keep in mind that we live in an instant gratification society. People want information, and they want it now. Because of this, you do not want your information to be lost in lots of words or animation. Utilize bullets, short statements, videos, and effective pictures to convey your products and services. Also, never have any information buried more than 2 clicks away from your homepage. Any deeper, and readers become frustrated when looking for those particular items (i.e. services or products)
  4. Add a Blog on Your Website–Use the blog to give free advice that shows your knowledge and understanding in your area of business. For example, because of my experience and educational background in technology and management, I use our blog to write about how small companies can use technology to save money and make their businesses more efficient.

Now that you have your site complete, it is time to work on getting people to your site. One way to do this is to appear to be a highly touted expert. If your business is still relatively young, you will most likely not be in this position. So, let us discuss how you can accomplish this. If you remember the first installment of this sub-series, I mentioned that you want to self-publish where you can link back to your company page. The reason for this is simple:  search engine bots monitor the amount of links back to your site. The more link backs, the more you look like a professional. The more you look like a professional, the higher your webpage appears in searches that potential customers would do at the search engine’s websites. So, do not pass up any opportunity to get legitimate links back to your website, especially from sites that normally rank pretty high in web searches. The sites I like to use are FREE but popular sites. Here are a few I like to use, and how I use them:

- and – Re-post as many of the blogs you have on your site onto these sites. Plug your business in these postings.

- – If you are a small business owner, you know the press is not knocking on your door asking you for interviews or wanting to hear about the great things your company is doing. Use this site to tell the world, and do not be shy about linking back to your site. It will help your ranking with search engines.

The information given above will require some time to do but is well worth it. When you have limited cash and are not well recognized like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you have to work hard at creating opportunities to get your business known, and this is one way to do it. Doing the options listed above will definitely help to increase the amount of inquires you will receive. Next month, I will complete the sub-series by discussing how to use social media sites to promote your business.

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