Most online entrepreneurs struggling with their first business make one crucial mistake. The first thing they do when overheads are high and their costs exceed their revenues is to cut back on marketing. The reason for this is because advertising can be expensive and it’s a variable, rather than a fixed, expense.
However, no matter how tight your budget, marketing should be the last thing you cut. This remains true for whatever type of online business you have, whether you are dropshipping tangible products to customers or selling an information-based business that instantly delivers digital products without shipping expenses.
Here are some ways to keep your marketing alive and well in tough times when Google PPC ads, Facebook ads, solo ads, and banner advertising appears to be too expensive to buy.
Paid Marketing Strategies
Before we discuss free ways to market your business, there is one paid marketing strategy that you can’t afford to discontinue. This is because the ROI is higher than anything else you could do in your business, free or paid. In fact, it’s estimated that for every dollar you spend through this channel, you will receive $38 back.
By now you’ve probably guessed that we’re talking about email marketing. It’s a proven method to succeed with your online business. In fact, some businesses are so successful with it that they don’t even bother to use any other marketing strategy.
In order to run a profitable email marketing campaign you need the following things in place:
- A landing page to capture visitors, persuading them to sign up in exchange for an irresistible free report or video tutorial.
- One or more opt-in boxes on your website. The most effective ones are still pop-up opt-in boxes.
- A scheduled series of email newsletters, which are a mixture of high content emails and sales pitches. The ratio of content to pitches depends on your audience.
- A high-level of copywriting on your landing page, opt-in boxes, and emails.
If email works so well, why do many entrepreneurs give up on it?
Usually, one of two reasons:
- They don’t have these four elements in place and as a result, they don’t have an effective way of capturing emails.
- They don’t have an effective lead generating strategy to drive traffic to their landing page or to visit their website and sign up at an opt-in box there. Fortunately, this problem is not as serious as it seems. A service like HorizonEmailAdvertising can help you generate more than enough subscribers to quickly build your email list.
Free Marketing Strategies
Here are 5 free marketing strategies to try
- Social media marketing.
Create a profile on some of the top social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Start with these and then add a few more if you like.
- Forum marketing.
Join a forum in your niche and offer valuable advice that establishes you as an expert in your niche. Your post will have a signature line at the bottom, where people can click through to find out more about your business. When creating your signature line, don’t add multiple links, be cryptic, make unrealistic promises, use flashing graphics to attract attention, or make it seem too casual. Instead, use one link, be clear in your message, avoid gimmicks and hype to get attention, and stay professional. While forum signatures will generate traffic from forum visitors, it’s not a good SEO strategy.
- YouTube Videos.
You can attract a lot of visitors by creating a video channel and sharing valuable tips and advice. Talking head videos do very well, as do those that use animation.
- Article writing.
Article writing on article directories used to be an excellent way to establish authority and get backlinks to your website. Today, it does not work as well because Google’s Panda and Penguin don’t rank articles high on their search engine results, but you can still get great results from article marketing by focusing on guest blogging or using a hub site directory.
- Blog commenting.
This is an excellent SEO tactic, and Matt Cutts, Google’s search engine optimization expert, explains how he uses it himself: “I leave topically relevant comments on topically relevant sites all the time. So somebody posts an SEO conspiracy theory and I’m like, “No, that’s not right,” I’ll show up and a leave a comment that says, “Here is the pointer that shows this is not correct,” or, “Here’s the official word,” or something like that. And I’ll just leave a comment with my name, and often even point to my blog rather than Google’s webmaster blog, because I’m just representing myself. So lots of people do that all the time and it is completely fine.”
Balancing Free and Paid Marketing Strategies
Marketing your business is something you can’t afford not to do. While it might be tempting to eliminate all paid traffic, just focusing on only free traffic can be too time-intensive and results are often slow. It takes time to build momentum. So, try to use at least one paid traffic method to generate fast traffic. Also, only test out one free traffic strategy at a time so that you have a better idea of how well it’s working and how to tweak it if it’s not working.