Online Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
If you're reading this newsletter, chances are, you
already know that email marketing is one of the most cost
effective elements of your marketing mix. But, what about
other creative and profitable ways to promote your company
and its products and/or services?
If your tight marketing budget has you at the end of your
rope, try marketing on a shoestring with these suggestions
from our friend Hollis Thomases from WebAdvantage.net.
"Online Marketing on a Shoestring Budget"
by Hollis Thomases
Businesses large and small have embraced the Web as a
place to have a presence. Fewer, however, have really
figured out how to cost effectively market online. While
there are plenty of ways to spend your marketing
dollars, if you really know what you're doing, you can
do a lot of online marketing on a fairly limited budget.
Here's a handy list of "shoestring" marketing
initiatives you ought to consider:
Search Engine and Directory Submittals
Search engines are the #3 way people find websites and
are the source of up to 85% of all site traffic. Aside
from Yahoo & LookSmart, most search engines allow you to
submit your website at no charge.
Paid-For Search Engine Listings
Several search engines, the granddaddy of which is
Overture, now allow you to pay for top placements
through advertising and bidding programs. Costs vary by
Getting other websites to link to yours is not only
free, but can also help with your search engine
rankings, as many search engines now factor "link
popularity" in the relevancy of their search results.
Email Signature File
"Sig files," which automatically appear at the bottom of
every email you send out, are like little text
billboards, helping you promote your company.
Participating in Discussion Lists, Forums, Message
Boards, and Newsgroups
An excellent way to build your credibility and awareness
of your company. Don't forget to use your sig file!
These automated emails can be a very helpful (and dirt
cheap!) way to send out follow-up information and
customer communications. AWeber and GetResponse are
When users can subscribe to more than one email
publication at a time, this is called co-registration.
Use a co-registration service, or recruit your own
If you publish your own email newsletter, you can swap
ad space, content or other types of prominent placements
with other newsletter publishers.
Low-Cost Classified Advertising
Even if you don't publish a newsletter, you can still
buy relatively low-cost ad space which can work well
when placed in email newsletters targeted to your
Remnant Ad Buys
Websites that don't sell out all of their ad inventory
might be willing to sell you a mish-mash of locations,
sometimes called "remnant space," on the cheap. Ask!
Pay-Per-Performance Ad Buys
Pay only when you get a click (CPC) or a sale (CPA). Ad
networks like Advertising.com and ValueClick are
examples, but they still have minimums, so be prepared.
Re-use or write articles and content that you offer to
others to publish. You and your company get exposure
through your byline.
Contest & Sweepstakes
If you're trying to appeal to the masses, contests &
sweepstakes are a great way to attract people. You can
even give away something you already own, manufacture or
produce, that others will find valuable.
Work with other related websites to cross-promote one
another or share the cost of advertising and promotions.
A kind of partnering where one website compensates
another for traffic, leads or sales. There are
inexpensive do-it-yourself software programs as well as
outsourced services that can help.
Do you have REAL news? (by this I mean the kind that
journalists, not just you, find interesting and
relevant) Spread the word by writing and sending out a
press release. You can even use services like Bacon's,
Business Wire or PR Newswire to help select target areas
to send to. The website PRWeb even allows you to post
your press release for FREE!
Whew! This is some list, and I bet I even left out a
whole slew of ideas. Send them my way and I'll add them to
my list for next time!
© Hollis Thomases is president of WebAdvantage.net, an
emarketing agency that creates and implements
response-driven Internet advertising and promotional
strategies. Reach her at