13 Marketing Activities You Can Do For Less Than $20 A Day

October 18, 2011

All businesses need marketing to create a brand, sales – and hopefully – profits.  A marketing campaign can be expensive and not in a home or small business budget.  Other ways exist though, to market your business for less than $20 per day as described by Ivana Taylor.  Some of these activities need only time and effort such as blogging or commenting on other blogs.  Others require hiring an SEO professional or designer for a logo or image.  All are solid suggestions describing inexpensive ways of promoting your business.


13 Marketing Activities You Can Do For Less Than $20 A Day

By Ivana Taylor

There really is no better, easier and more fun time to market your business than today. Granted, the economy isn’t participating, and dollars are tight, but that shouldn’t stop you from creating a marketing plan that will start generating new business.

I’ve pulled together some marketing activities that you can do when you have more time than money, and then as your business grows, I’ve got marketing activities you can do when you’ve got more money than time!

When you have time

1. Develop your message and an offering

Resist the temptation to get out there and sell without having a clear marketing message and an offer. You will look desperate and people will run away from you instead of running toward you. Take time to identify specifically who your ideal customers are, what’s important to them, and the frustrations that they encounter when they are thinking about what you’re selling. Then create an offer based on solving their specific frustrations.

If it helps, create a marketing kit that serves as a new customers’ startup kit. Once your offer is more concrete and exists outside your head, you will feel more confident and your customers will be able to experience what it will be like to work with you and buy from you.

2. Write a blog article at least twice a week

I’m not advocating writing a blog because it’s hip and cool. I’m encouraging you to do it because it’s a full page, keyword-rich advertisement for your product or service. Tip: Be sure to have a place for readers to give you their e-mail addresses in exchange for information that will help them be better consumers.

3. Comment on blog articles written by your customers or industry experts

Take the time to visit industry sites and blogs and leave intelligent and informed comments on their posts. Leaving a comment is like a mini blog post and encourages interaction and communication. Ask a question of the author or contact them via e-mail. Get a conversation started about your industry, product or service. Look for ways to help the author.

4. Write endorsements for customers, suppliers and experts on LinkedIn

Reciprocity is a powerful trigger. Leave endorsements and testimonials on the profiles of customers and suppliers. This will prompt them to do the same for you. Use the opportunity to start a conversation about them and what they have been up to. Always lead with asking how you can help—they will respond in kind. And this is when it pays to reference the offer you developed earlier.

5. Answer questions on Quora and Focus.com

Everyone is familiar with LinkedIn questions and answers, but I love Quora and Focus.com as well. Simply click over to either of these sites and search on a topic of your interest. Take the time to form a great answer and follow up with the person asking the question. These sites are also a wonderful source of content that you can use on your blog. Simply collect the answers to a question and include them in your article along with links to the people who answered the question. They will be honored that you referred to them.

6. Look for industry sites, magazines or blogs where you can become a contributor

This is an ideal activity when you have more time than dollars. You will reap the benefits after you are busy with clients. In the meantime, connect with editors and journalists from industry press and see what ways you can contribute and help. Most publishers are starving for good content and will be open to chatting with you. Once your business grows, they will be a valuable PR asset.

7. Get listed on outsourcing sites

If you are in a service business, consider putting your company on oDeskeLanceGuru—or if your business is a retail location consider the new site, Thumbtack.com. These sites aren’t just for individual freelancers, a wide variety of organizations and teams participate as service providers. These sites serve as referring directories who match you and your company with customers who are looking for someone just like you.

When you have money

8. Conduct webinars/teleseminars

Leverage your connections to create an audience and a referral stream for webinars and teleseminars. You can provide free content and use the Webinars as a lead generator or actually charge for content and make it a revenue generator. If you’ve ever given a speech or presentation—or trained someone how to do something—then you have all the skills you need to do webinars.

9. Do Pay Per Click advertising

Most SEO experts will tell you that generating leads and traffic comes from a balanced approach between organic search (that you create with your blog) and pay per click advertising that targets and attracts customers that are most interested in what you have to offer.

10. Get Pro versions of automation tools

If you’re already using tools like HootSuiteMarketMe Suite or SocialOomph, then now might be the time to invest in the professional versions of these tools to help you manage your social media accounts in one place.

11. Invest in image and design

Design and image matter. Customers will form opinions about your company based on how professional you look. (Check out 99Designs.) For a fixed price, you post your projects and designers submit their design concepts.

12. Hire SEO professional

If you have less than 5 percent of your audience signing up for whatever you’re offering, it’s time for getting help from an SEO professional. Before you talk to a pro, be sure to have a clear call to action on your site that leads to a sale so that you can get the most from their advice.

13. Outsource the administration and management

If you’ve used the outsourcing sites to get customers, now you can use them to keep customers. If you’ve followed this checklist, you will have developed a system for getting it done right. Now you can transform these tasks into instructions and delegate them to virtual assistants, writers and SEO experts.

Don’t be afraid to invest in the time intensive activities. It’s the old “sharpen the saw” philosophy. By investing the effort up front, you’ll gather data and experience what strategies and tactics are most effective for your business. In the end, both your time and your money will be well spent.

Ivana Taylor is the president of the strategic marketing firm, Third Force and the publisher DIYMarketers.com. Ivana is the Book editor and contributing marketing expert for Small Business Trends (www.smallbiztrends.com). She writes the popular blog Strategy Stew (www.strategystew.com).

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5 Ways to Sell Your Expertise Online

November 29, 2010

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, the lessons you learn are valuable. Not only will those lessons help you succeed in your core business, but that expertise has value for your peers. Sharing your expertise and becoming a thought leader in your industry can help you to attract new customers and develop lucrative, long-term business relationships.

Beyond that, however, your expertise can also be utilized as a separate revenue stream in its own right. In 2008, the folks at software company 37signals announced that they had turned their expertise into revenue streams worth more than three quarters of a million dollars in just a couple of years. Here are five ways that you can follow in their footsteps and leverage your existing expertise too.

1. Newsletters

You may already have an email newsletter, and it’s probably a great tool for customer retention. There’s a lot of value in being able to reach out to customers with news about your products or services, offer discounts and provide value-added content that keeps people interested. But have you considered offering a more premium, paid newsletter? Whatever your business, you likely have expertise that people will be willing to pay for. Restaurants could offer a monthly newsletter with recipes using seasonal foods, for example, or a gym could offer a weekly newsletter with exercises and tips on staying healthy.

TinyLetter and letter.ly are two new services that allow you to quickly and easily create and sell subscription-based e-mail newsletter.

2. Consulting

The lessons and skills you’ve acquired over the course of building a successful business have immense value to your peers. People will pay for that knowledge if you offer it via a consulting service. While many startups are bootstrapped using funds raised by consulting gigs, it’s unlikely that as a busy small business owner you’ll have the time to put hours into consulting. Still, by setting aside a few hours each week or taking on a couple of consulting clients, you can build a healthy secondary revenue stream and potentially be introduced to unique investment opportunities.

One easy way to sell your advice is Ether. Ether is a web app that provides users with a toll-free 888 telephone number that forwards to your existing phone line. You set when the number is available and how much you want to charge, then you just open for business during your “office hours.”

3. E-Books

E-books are old school and they take a little more upfront investment, but they’re potentially very lucrative. 37signals pulled in $350,000 by selling downloads of its first business advice e-book, Getting Real. People could be willing to pay for your expertise, as well. A mechanic, for example, could sell a series of e-books on do-it-yourself auto and motorcycle repair. If you’re a pet groomer, what about an email about caring for dogs? Think about what you know and about how it could be expanded into a 40- or 50-page book.

Once you’ve created your book, you can sell it as a PDF download using a service like DPD or PayLoadz. For a more complete, end-to-end solution, try TradeBit, which offers a marketplace, or Lulu, which can also turn your e-book into a printed book.

4. Webinars

Webinars might be the ultimate way to sell your expertise. By holding a paid webinar, you’re literally charging people to watch you talk about and demonstrate whatever it is that you have to share. Because you’re offering people access directly to you (the expert), webinars are worth the money to your peers. Software like WebEx can allow you to stream presentations, audio and video to up to 3,000 participants. You can take questions from your audience in real-time and the platform offers built-in e-commerce, so you can charge for access.

Also check out solutions from GoToMeeting and Adobe, though you’ll have to handle payment yourself.

5. Online Courses
If live events aren’t your cup of tea and static e-books don’t convey your message clearly enough, another way to sell your expertise is by offering an online course. Using an app like Litmos, Odijoo or WiZiQ, you can create and sell web-based classes that not only share your expertise but teach it step-by-step. You can include multimedia in your courses, additional reading material (maybe you could even include your e-book as required reading), and provide tests so that participants can assess their progress.
* * * * *

By Josh Catone

Josh Catone is the Features Editor at Mashable. Before joining Mashable in May 2009, Josh was the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, the Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID. He’s written about technology since 1998 for magazines, newspapers, and web sites, and he is the co-founder of Rails Forum, the web’s largest community for Ruby on Rails developers. He attended the University of Rhode Island and Ithaca College.

Source:  http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/5-ways-to-sell-your-expertise-online-josh-catone

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