The Internet makes it simpler than ever to create a low-cost, effective marketing program. There are a number of ways to save money on your online marketing program.
Tips to create low-cost online marketing programs
1. Know your customer
You can’t hit a target you can’t see, so define the target. Specify who you are trying to reach. Identify age, gender, and as many other characteristics that fit your ideal customer. Being armed with this information before starting your online marketing will simplify the process and help you find the best places to reach them.
2. Have a plan
The online world is a tangled web. Everything interrelates to everything else in one way or another. For this reason, it’s even more important to set goals and develop a plan for your online marketing effort. Doing online marketing in an “ad hoc” manner will definitely cost you more money and lower your performance.
3. Do it yourself
There are consultants who can help with all aspects of your online marketing program, but it’s quite possible for you to execute a professional and effective program on your own, or with just a little help. Areas to focus on:
- Create a website for your business
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Promote yourself as an expert
4. Select the right keywords
If you’ve defined your target market, you’ll be able to narrow down the keywords you want to focus on. Keywords are important for almost all aspects of marketing on the web and having them defined will keep you from promoting your business in ways that are not going to deliver a return. You’ll need them for search engine marketing and online display advertising, plus they’ll help you to write web and email content that’s most relevant and effective. Areas to focus on:
- Keyword research
- Write web pages for specific keywords
- Use the words your customers use
5. Use the free stuff
There’s a lot of it out there. Fortunately for us marketers there are a lot of free tools and resources available on the web. While they aren’t all the quality you might want for your business, there are some exceptional “free” opportunities.
There are templates for just about everything: websites, emails, ads, and more. A Google search for free templates will help you find them.
Google has set the standard for user-friendly free tools for keyword research, website building, website testing, and analytics.
6. Use Social Media Marketing
Set up and manage a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other relevant social media websites. Then use it for “free” market research to see what people are saying about your company and brand. You can also join in the conversation and encourage people to “share” your brand with their friends.
7. Take advantage of the 30- or 60-day free trials offered by most email service providers. You’ll end up paying eventually but you’ll have the opportunity to really learn the tool and refine your program before then. Just don’t add too much data because then you’ll have a high “switching cost” if you want to change vendors. This is why they offer these free trials.
8. Partner with other companies
Work with companies that offer complementary services or products. Leverage each other’s online marketing activities to extend your own. Send a co-branded email to both lists, promote each other’s websites, do a joint promotion.
9. Measure everything
Use the free Google Analytics application and the measurement tools provided by your email service provider to measure and refine everything you do. This will improve performance and reduce cost.
Want an online presence without a website?
Create a free listing for your business on sites like these:
Google, Yahoo and Bing
Yelp – with Yelp you’ll want to understand the pros and cons of this site and how to handle negative reviews.