Feb 042009
 

Marketing usually costs money.  But not always.

Thanks to the Web, we’ve got a few zero-cost options.  If you had to use only them for some reason, how would it work?  Would you get business?

I’m not saying you should try this.  (Especially nowadays!)  But it’s good to know about options that are currently available.

So let’s say I had a marketing budget of $0.  (Some of you will understand how this might feel!)  I need traffic, I need prospects.  How do I get them?  I can’t pay for direct mail or ads, so the Web is about all I can use.  And I need a plan.  I need places to promote, a schedule, and receptive audiences.

The plan I come up with might look like this.

1. Facebook/LinkedIn, For Networking
I prefer LinkedIn personally; the interface is better, and it’s business-focused.  Both these sites are huge resources for networking with people in your industry, people hiring in your industry, and people buying from your industry.  A couple hours per week should be all I need to scrounge up prospects and get my name out.
100+ Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn

2. Twitter, For Interaction/Announcements
Twitter costs nothing to sign up and use as many times a day as you like.  Lots of entrepreneurs and Web-savvy companies, large (@Comcast) to small (@blueferret), are on Twitter.  These are a couple quick guides to using Twitter for business:
How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business
101 Everyday Uses for Twitter
50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

3. Article Marketing, For Expert Branding
Putting articles on your site?  Linking to them through the above sites (especially Twitter)?  Talk about instant traffic!  (Make sure you have persuasive headlines though.)

4. Email Blasts, For Keeping in Contact
There’s still a huge number of people on the Web who don’t use the above services.  But they do use email.  An email blast to announce new deals, special offers, and general keeping-in-contact can make a lot of difference.  And if the emails are collected by your website (or Facebook/LinkedIn), that’s less time you have to spend doing it.

Some of the best things in life (at least when it comes to promoting your business) ARE free.  For now anyway – Facebook and Twitter may finalize business models this year.  Take advantage of them while you can!

Any more zero-budget promotion ideas you like?  Share them with us in the comments.

  2 Responses to “If You Had a $0 Marketing Budget, How Would You Promote?”

  1. I’d agree with all of the above, but believe stronger in getting known offline to drive attention and traffic online. The best way to do that? Speaking engagements – Chambers of Commerce, Rotary and other civic/business clubs; free seminars held at a local library (totally free when you agree not to charge attendees). They’re relatively easy to find with some calling around.

    • Excellent ideas, Barry! I’m ashamed to say I basically forgot about the giving-speeches part. I focused entirely on the Web for this one. Hey, have you written about speaking engagements on your blog? If so, link us up if you’d be so kind.

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