I went to a conference about a year ago to try to meet more people in the internet marketing industry. I wanted to meet some more joint venture partners and the only way to do that is to ask.
As someone with a well-established business conferences have been hit or miss for me over the last few years. There are a lot of people I meet who are in the earlier stages of running their own business. When I meet these people I always seem to have the same conversation with them. Here is how the conversation usually goes:
Me: I love your idea for a new business. How do you plan to market your idea?
Conference attendee: Oh that won’t be a problem. This is such a cool idea that everybody will want it.
… And it usually goes downhill from there.
I am absolutely amazed at how many great entrepreneurs have no marketing plan, no testing budget, not even a clue that they NEED marketing.
Let me assure you, as an entrepreneur who has started and run not one, not two, but three online businesses that you absolutely need to market your business. No matter how good of an idea you have or how passionate you are about your business, it’s not enough. All the passion in the world isn’t going to make you a dime without doing something to get the message out about your new business.
When I started each of my businesses I knew I needed a strong marketing campaign to bring in customers. I used six different marketing techniques. Even now, after years of being in business I primarily use these same six ideas.
I’m a strong believer in media buying. Media buying is where you buy advertisement space on other sites to promote your product. You find lists you like and send out an offer to their list for a fee. You can make serious money and bring in thousands of new customers this way. This was the first thing I did to start one of my businesses. One day I had no customers, the next day I had twenty thousand and five grand in my bank account. Not a bad day’s work. If you’ve never done this before I suggest you work with a broker to find lists for you. Or you can check out Hidden Secrets to Internet Wealth. It’s cheaper than working with a broker and it gives you the names of a bunch of proven lists. All of which I’ve used in the past.
Whenever a person wants to start a business, but doesn’t have any products of their own to sell yet I encourage them not to wait until they are ready. Instead I tell them to try affiliate marketing. This is when you sell other people’s products. You sign up for another businesses affiliate program; they send you all the links and materials you need to start selling for them. I love affiliate marketing because of how easy it is. The other company takes care of fulfilling the order, answering customers questions, taking payment, etc. basically all of the hum drum parts of running a business. You just sell the stuff and sit back and collect checks! This is a good way to make extra cash even if you already have an established business. I still do affiliate marketing in my own business!
One of the most important things to do when running a business is to create content. Content provides a wealth of marketing opportunities. In the internet marketing industry this is mostly referred to as article marketing. Article marketing is the act of providing content, usually a one page article on a timely topic (such as an article on tax tips during tax season) to various outlets that then publish the work. The article contains your business’ name and website address. I have submitted content to submityourarticle.com and freearticlesubmission.org in the past with good results. Good articles can bring in lots of traffic. Content accounts for nearly 2/3 of the traffic I get from the three biggest search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. It’s cheap to create and converts leads to customers better than search.
Another cheap way to get your business’ name out there and find customers is to book speeches at industry events. Create a calendar of all industry events for the next year and contact the organizers about speaking at their event for free. Doing this for free is necessary to get your foot in the door. You want to develop speech materials around the theme of your business. For example I speak at internet marketing conferences across the country on making money online and media buying. I don’t charge a fee for speaking, but I do ask the audience if they’d like to hear more from me by signing up at my website. Or I sell a product at the end of my speech that goes into more detail about the topic I’m speaking on. It’s a great way to make some quick money by selling a product, accumulate new customers and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
A totally free marketing method to get your business’ name out there is to write a press release. You can easily find a template online to show you how to write one. If your press release is timely and uses good keywords for current events it can get picked up by a reporter from the news media or by other online news outlets. This can open the door for more publicity in the form of radio or television interviews, quoting of your copy in newspaper articles, and other public relations activity. And whenever the media needs someone to comment on a story related to your industry, you will be the one they call on. When people search for your company’s name, the press releases will show up in a search. Every press release that is written will get posted on multiple sites. Most of these sites will link back to your website which, in turn, helps your SEO and page ranking results.
I’ve saved my favorite marketing method for last on purpose. It’s a tactic I use all the time in my own business to get new customers and make a lot of money. Joint Ventures. A lot of times those words scare business owners, it sounds like a tedious, difficult process. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In its most basic form, joint venture marketing can be as simple as swapping ads with another business. It’s great because it garners sales and new customers for both sides. A win-win situation. Look for complimentary businesses with similar list sizes as you and ask to do a joint venture with them. The worst they can say is No and you move on to the next guy! This is a great marketing technique for a business no matter what stage it’s in.
Make your own list of marketing ideas for your business. Include some of the ideas on the list above and ideas of your own. Include marketing ideas you’ve used before and those that you haven’t. Add marketing strategies you’ve seen other companies use. Then start putting them into practice one by one. Aim to try one new marketing idea a week. Keep using the ones that work, discard the ones that don’t and watch your business grow.