Bootstrap Online Marketing
Right now, the most cost-effective techniques in online marketing are:
Focus your research on these at first.
Online Marketing Resources
The most popular places to read about marketing, including online marketing, are:
- Marketing Profs
- Marketing Vox
- Direct Marketing Association
- Double Click Reports
- Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com)
- Sally Falkow (http://falkow.blogsite.com)
- James Cherkoff (http://www.collaboratemarketing.com/modernmarketing)
- Brian Massey (http://customerchaos.blogspot.com)
- Adrants (http://www.adrants.com)
- Jen Blackert (http://www.thinkbignation.com)
- Cauvin (http://cauvin.blogspot.com)
- Search Engine Marketing (http://www.apogee-search.com/Blog/index.php)
Books and Manifestos
Don't do anything until you've read the ClueTrain Manifesto
Where to get ideas
Look at your competitor's online marketing. Don't assume it's good, but steal the ideas that seem good and try them yourself.
Choices for Internet Marketing
1. Web sites
Banner advertisements on complementary sites. CPM (Cost per thousand displays of your ad) can be costly for local advertising. Prices range between $5/CPM and $20/CPM for local advertising. The problem is that conversions can be as low as .1% (that's .001). That means that at a $5 CPM, you just spent $5 to get one person to your website. These forms of advertising are great for branding, but a little more difficult for direct sales.
Email is complicated with all of the laws surrounding this industry. Make sure that your email source has email addresses that are double opt-in. This means that not only did they sign up for the email, they also verified their account by clicking on a link in an email sent from the company that manages the list.
Do not attempt to email advertise people who have not asked to get your information. If you want to reach new customers, hire a company who has double-opt-in customers who are acceptable to receiving your email through that list company. An example of this service is through Postmaster Direct. This can be costly.
3. Search Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to earn some extra money from the sales of your product or service. SEO is difficult to do correctly unless you are BOTH technically AND marketing savvy. If you are, then go to some of SEO forums that exist. Remember that the major search engines don't really want you to create webpages specifically designed to make it into the "top 10" of the search results. Aggressive SEO can get your site banned from the search results. The most important piece of SEO is ensuring that Google can find your web content. The second most important piece is keyword selection. The third most important piece is your inbound link architecture (how the rest of the web is "voting" for your web pages). After that come things like age of domain, title tags, and things that used to matter a bunch pre-Google, but don't much anymore, like keyword density ratios.
4. Keyword Search Advertising
Google's Adwords and Yahoo's Overture have keyword search engine advertising programs. You can advertise using low dollar keywords. The problem with focusing solely on keyword advertising is that you might be surprised how limiting this form of advertising can be. The dollars spent here are well spent, but it's hard to spend a lot of them. To gain additional exposure (and therefore the opportunity to show you ad to more people), you might want to consider hiring a company that specializes in this. This service should be inexpensive, and a few quick modifications might double or triple the exposure of your ads.