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Free Marketing = Effective Marketing By Brandon Milford
According to Google.com there are over three billion web pages online today. So what are you doing to separate yourself from the crowd? How are you targeting your customers? How much capital are you investing in marketing? Is it working? I hear many business owners complaining about the inability to successfully drive targeted customers to their website. I listen as they tell me about purchasing e-mail lists and buying advertising spaces on related websites. While these methods may work there are free and effective ways to drive targeted traffic to your site. The first is the ever popular search engines. There are a number of ways to successfully optimize your website for the search engines and subsequently receive better rankings. Search engine optimization is an enormous topic and there have been many books written on the subject and businesses specializing in this service, but I will give you a few important pointers on optimizing your website. First, be sure to have a great deal of relevant content on your website that is no more than three levels deep (the search engine’s crawler does not typically search more than three levels down). This content can include articles, white papers, case studies etc. Second, be sure to have a large number of websites linking to yours. Trade links with other website owners and place their links in a ‘Resources’ section on your website. One of the important variables, among many, that Google will use in your ranking is the number of relevant websites that are linking to yours. So be sure the majority of incoming links to your website are from businesses that provide similar offerings. Third, be sure to include accompanying text links to all of your pages if your current page links are buried within images. This is important because the crawler cannot see images, but it can find text links. The next way to drive free targeted traffic to your website is to include a link to your site and small ‘hook’ in your email signature. I’m surprised at how many business owners still do not do this. This hook will be one sentence that tells your audience what you do. This “small ad” of sorts will be on every email you send out. Example: --- John Smith President ABC Company “Providing communications solutions in a technology driven world”
Next, get involved with various online message boards/discussion forums that discuss topics that are relevant to your business and provide a link to your website in your signature. You’ll be surprised at its effectiveness. Be sure to participate in relevant discussion forums so that you can learn and contribute the most by participating in knowledgeable topics and at the same time receive targeted clicks. Do not spam any discussion forums, this is not effective and will kill all credibility in your business and your product/service. The next way to receive free targeted traffic is similar to exchanging links, but even more effective. Seek out partnerships with companies that offer complimentary product offerings and agree to place a prominent link to their site if they will do the same for you. You can set up a ‘Partners’ section on your homepage and display the company’s logo, link, and information. It is important that we not forget about marketing offline as well. If you are just starting and need customer referrals don’t be afraid to give away products/services for free or at least in exchange for another company’s services. For instance, let’s say that you design websites. Offer a lawyer a free website for their company if in return they will give you free legal advice for a limited time. Also, offer a limited number of businesses free products/services. After you have provided a few businesses with your products/services and they are happy ask them to write a testimonial for you and display this testimonial prominently on your website. Also, give them a few of your business cards and ask them to send any of their friends your way as well. You’ll be surprised at how many people will hear about your business via word-of-mouth through satisfied customers. I hope this condensed list of suggestions have helped you in formulating ideas on how to better market your website. Use your imagination and get creative in your marketing efforts. Get out there and tell the world about your website!
Brandon Milford is the President of Pimil.com, a web solutions company based in Georgia, and the Marketing Director for Email Marketing Software Center, a website devoted to providing knowledge and product recommendations on permission based email marketing.