Millions of businesses, both big and small, compete for online dollars, and large companies have even dedicated entire marketing departments to promoting their websites. It’s not uncommon for companies to hire agencies to help claim shares of the lucrative global market available over the Internet. Thousands of SEO experts offer services to help businesses attract that all-important website traffic. However, many methods of attracting viewers cost little or no money. Small business owners can spend a little time on promotion and get the same results as the big companies who outsource their internet marketing without spending fortunes on advertising.
Websites Alone Fail to Attract Viewers
Online marketing generates billions of dollars in revenue, and even local mom-and-pop businesses feel the pressure to build a solid web presence or risk losing local customers who search online for goods and services. Many entrepreneurs spend thousands of dollars on site development and wait for orders to arrive. Usually, these marketing beginners experience shock when they discover that nobody can find their sites.
Customers find websites through paid advertising, generic searches, referrals, and direct links, which come from many sources, both online and in traditional media or promotional materials. Large marketers spend millions targeting audiences, and the competition for shares of the online pie becomes intense. Minnows thrown into the pool with sharks and piranhas stand little chance of eating tuna.
Free Ways to Target Customers
Small marketers have some things in their favor, however. Minnows can maneuver with extraordinary agility, and their size causes bigger fish to overlook them. Minnows need less food to grow, so they often stand better chances of success in crowded ponds when food supplies grow scarce.
Large companies with huge budgets must make millions to stay afloat. Small businesses need fewer orders to make profits. Business owners can get part of the action without spending their advertising dollars. Five excellent ways to draw traffic include the following ideas.
1. Join the Blogosphere.
Professional networking takes time, but the rewards could prove substantial.
- Study the market and find blogs that touch on subjects related to your business. Make relevant comments and avoid using generalities, or viewers will identify the comments as spam.
- Target owners of small, medium and large sites where you can post comments. Find bloggers who speak with authority and comment in a similar style.
- Stay professional, relevant and friendly. Disagree politely when appropriate.
- When viewers post blog comments, they can include site links. Many blog viewers will click on these links if they find the comments interesting or relevant.
2. Social Media and Guest Posting.
Social media offers forums to post blogs without cost. Marketers can spend some time learning to promote through social media, which includes active, engaged viewers who willingly trade links and visit sites of interest. Create funny, entertaining, or useful content to share, but avoid promoting too obviously.
- Expert commentary will convince other bloggers and websites to offer guest posting opportunities. If business owners cannot write well, they can outsource the job to employees or inexpensive writing services that only cost a few dollars.
- Social networking allows owners to trade links with other site owners in barter arrangements.
- Videos on YouTube offer extraordinary exposure and linkage opportunities. Simple phone videos can sometimes go viral when they hit a nerve with the public. Owners can post videos from their site or produce useful how-to videos very inexpensively.
- The key is to write about things that people find topical, useful, or simply entertaining. Devote some time to writing each week and post a calendar of topics to keep viewers interested.
3. Classified Websites Offer Free Posting.
Whether selling products or services, free classified websites reach millions of viewers. Several sites offer sections where companies can post free listings. The best-known site is Craigslist.org. The site has become so popular that few businesses advertise in their local newspapers’ classified sections anymore. Other sites include the following sources that offer free listings:
4. Article Marketing.
In addition to social media, owners can post articles that link to their websites on free services such as www.goarticles.com and www.ezinearticles.com. The articles can link directly to owners’ websites, and the use of keywords helps improve the rankings that search engines give businesses in generic searches. NOTE: this is about traffic not linkbuilding as this technique has decreased rapidly in popularity with the release of the Google Penguin update. You should consider that before doing article marketing and make sure there is a strong editorial process at the sites you use.
5. The Classic Press Release.
The classic press release lets viewers know what companies are doing, promotes new products, offers valuable maintenance or energy-saving tips, and announces special promotions.
- Owners can learn how to write in press release format online.
- Press releases go to online magazines, news organizations, bloggers, and search engines.
- Businesses can also target their releases to specific audiences by email or send them to traditional media sources.
- Google “free press releases” to find services that distribute them free of charge.
Creative strategies help owners find ways to attract traffic without cost. Most involve some sort of writing or posting, which owners can do personally or outsource to writers. Concentrate on solving consumer problems, helping viewers reach goals, or getting some laughs. Use these methods to get part of the lucrative online market.
This article was first posted on Longhorn Leads.