8 Simple, Free (Or Inexpensive) Ways to Expand Your Reach to Internet Prospects
Your website is your main Internet marketing tool, but there are other tools in the toolbox that you should be taking advantage of if you want to drive traffic to your website. And the best part is they are either free or fairly inexpensive.
Make your traditional offline marketing tools do double duty with:
- Articles. Don't limit articles to print publications or mass mailings. Submit articles for free to online article directories such as ezinearticles.com or articlesbase.com. Once accepted, they will be indexed by the search engines - expanding your Internet presence - and made available for syndication – multiplying their reach and providing coveted links to your site. With one article you now have multiple new ways for online prospects to find you. Create an Articles section on your site and place them there as well for even greater visibility. Cost: Free.
- Press Releases. Thanks to the web, they are not just for the media anymore. Press releases are now powerful marketing tools. Put them to use by adding them to your site and submitting them to an online news release distribution service. There are both free and pay distribution services. Free services include www.prlog.org and www.free-press-release.com. If you are strapped for money, the free services are a good option; however there are limitations. For example, you may not be able to insert an active URL address or hyperlinks back to your site inside the body copy. You also will have advertisements and related releases on the same page as your release, which can serve as distractions for readers. I find prweb.com to be very effective and for about $200 you get everything you need and want for online distribution – social media, quotes, images, active links, own URL, reach to premium publishers and news groups – and a $75 Google AdWords Credit for new AdWords customers. Keep in mind the news does not have to be BIG. You can write about anything happening with your business:
New product or line
Attending a conference or tradeshow
Published an article, white paper or e-book
Added a new podcast
Doing a webinar
Won an award
Joined a professional organization
Signed up a new client
Cost: Free to $200.
3. White Papers. Similar to an article, you can write a White Paper defining a problem and offering a solution. Think of issues that consumers face in your field or industry and work from there. Publish it on your site and offer it for free upon submission of contact information to generate more leads. You can also submit White Papers to directories such as bnet.com. Cost: Free.
4. Newsletters. If you currently send out printed newsletters, create a Newsletter page on your website. Obtain the electronic version from your graphic designer and upload it to your site. If that is not available, scan it, save it as a PDF, then upload. Cost: Free because you already paid for the offline version. But don't limit yourself to printed newsletters sent via snail mail. Use a company such as Constant Contact to distribute online newsletters to customers and clients. Constant Contact has templates to make creating a newsletter easy. You can add images, your logo and links back to your site – you can also use the version your graphic designer created for your printed newsletter. These email newsletters also make it easy for clients and prospects for forward on to friends casting out your Internet marketing net even further. Monthly fees start at as little as $15 and you can try it for free for 60 days. If you use a distribution company's template, create a similar or duplicate and upload it to your site. Remember: don't focus on happenings, but tips or solutions that clients would appreciate. Cost: Free to $15 per month.
Two for the price of one, unbeatable deals, and free offers are always great finds - especially when they bring added value or benefits. Below are some more fantastic free or inexpensive tools to enhance your web presence.
5. E-books. These are a great way to provide useful information to your clients and prospects. Identify a problem or concern that your customers often ask about and supply an answer. Although similar to a white paper, they don't have to be as technical. E-books also don't have to be long - a few pages are fine. You can include graphics and other images that relate to your products, services and the topic you are addressing. Offer them on your site through email capture for leads. If you want to reach a wider audience, you can also submit them to free e-book libraries. Cost: Free.
6. Videos. Visuals always make powerful marketing tools. Create a video, upload it to YouTube and link to it on your site. You can video product demonstrations, interviews, speeches, events or whatever you think will interest your prospects and increase web traffic. Cost: the purchase of a video camera.
7. Podcasts. Audio is also influential. Create podcasts on topics your potential customers will find informative and interesting. Podcasts for Dummies can help get you started. Cost: one time investment in a mike, software, and book as well as possible hosting on an external server. Check with your hosting company to see if podcasts are included in your website or blog hosting fee.
8. Local Business Listings. Create local business listings on Google Maps, Yahoo Local and Bing Local. Be sure to include the categories you want to be found for and detailed information about your products, services and business. You can add pictures and even coupons. Cost: Free.
In addition to creating more ways for prospects to find you online, the fresh content these tools provide to your website, and the backlinks they generate, can enhance your website's rankings. It is very important, however, to optimize these tools with the appropriate search terms so that the search engines and prospects can find them.
There are books, websites, videos, blogs and forums that explain the search engine optimization process. You may, however, want to rely on a search engine optimization company that knows how to identify the search terms real people are using and where to place them in these tools and on your website. By letting a search engine optimization company take the reigns, you can rest assured you are in capable hands while you focus on the day-to-day operations of your business.