Archive for March, 2010

Surviving Tough Economic Times Part VI: Free, Yet Effective Marketing Part 1

Sunday, March 14th, 2010 by Clyde A. Lettsome, PhD, PE

In a down economy, one of the first areas of the budget to be cut is marketing, and one of the last departments to be increased when times get better is marketing. Part of the reason is that there is no real way to correlate the funds spent on marketing to sales. Furthermore, marketing is not cheap, thus, complicating an already tough decision. Given these facts, small business owners always find it to be a tough decision to pay for ads and then pay to get them distributed to the public.

Fortunately for small business owners, internet marketing  (Note: Technology is great!) has emerged as a great way to market a small business. Marketing on informational and especially social media sites have led the way and thus has become the most popular methods. These types of sites are so viable that large companies are now hiring employees whose sole full-time job is to monitor, market, and do public relations damage control on these types of sites. The best part about marketing on the internet is that there are a number of FREE internet sources you may use to market your small business.

So how do you use internet to market your business ? As a small business owner, the goal of internet, informational, and social media sites for your small business is to increase your visibility to potential customers in three ways.

  1. You want potential customers to know that you exist.
  2. You want potential customers to know that you know what you are doing and/or you have great products for sale.
  3. You want to remind potential and current customers that you exist and remind them that you know what you are talking about or that you have great products for sale.

In this month’s blog installment, I will tell you about some really great ways to market your small business venture on the internet. These ways fit the three goals we discussed, and many of them are FREE.  Please do not correlate FREE with easy, because to properly market your business using them will take some work. So, get ideas of viral marketing out of your mind or you will be sorely disappointed.  After our own research, here are my recommendations.

  1. Make a Website: Always start with your own website. This is your way to advertise your services or products 24 hours a day. A good website is equivalent to having a good brick and mortar store where potential and current customers can come and browse your store/office. But, this lets people know what you do or sell ONLY if they happen to come in your neighborhood (visit your site). How do you get them to your site? Well, see the remaining.
  2. Do Self-Publishing on Informational Sites: When you have a small business no one wants to talk to you. The media does not want to spread the good word about your company, so you have to do it yourself.  One way to do this is to publish the good word and opinions on as many sites as possible. The key is to find sites that allow you to publish for FREE and allow you to link back to your site. Here are a few sites we found that allow you to do this.
    • Blogging – is a website that allows users to blog about anything for FREE and allows you to link back to your own site in the blogs.
    • Writing Articles – is a website that allows you to write articles about topics you and they think may interest their readers. They do allow you to write a quick blurb about yourself and company in the article.
    • Writing Press Releases – If you ever wanted the world to know what is happening in your business but do not want to pay, use You can publish anything you deem note worth in your blog including links back to your own site.
  3. Use Social Media Sites:  This is the media of the new age. Social Media websites have done a great job accumulating large number of users. These users use these sites to connect with new friends, long lost friends, family, play games, share content and much more. This is equivalent to a group of people meeting in the park, a stadium, or any large venue where people congregate. Using these social media sites allows you to drop a virtual billboard with your ad among them.
    • Facebook – website that allows you to share general information about yourself with “friends”
    • Twitter – website that allows short messages to be sent to “Followers”
    • YouTube Channel – website that allows you to share videos with anyone.

Now that I have set the ground work for internet marketing, I will use the next two monthly blog installments to discuss the best ways to use each of the methods I introduced in this blog. Remember although the advice in this and the upcoming two months of blogs is FREE, it will not be easy. You will have to work to effectively market your business. Once you do both, you will be able to see the results.

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