Inexpensive Ways To Market Your Small Business

It’s clear that Internet Marketing and Social Networking are here to stay. And all these new online tools offer an endless supply of highly effective and inexpensive ways to market your small business.

However, you may have noticed there’s more to it than just putting up a profile or sending a few Twitter Tweets. That’s why I’ve written this 3-part (maybe more) series of posts filled with simple tips and how-to’s for getting started with–and making the most of– your online marketing efforts.

This is the 2nd in the series, so we pick up with…

14 Keys to Effective Online Marketing Continued…

#5 – Twitter truth revealed! Twitter is just another tool for reaching out to large numbers of people, letting them know more about you, and providing links to other info that might be of interest.

Twitter by itself is NOT likely to grow your business or make sales. It’s simply a way to update people about your activities, blog posts, events or offers then send them back to your site or blog to learn more (If you don’t have a Website or blog yet, now’s the time to get one!).

A good rule of thumb is to make about 80% of your Tweets personal, or links to interesting info on other people’s sites, and 20% self-promotional. And don’t feel like you have to respond to every Tweet that comes across your desktop.

Instead, periodically pick one or two to comment on or reply to. Forwarding someone else’s tweet (IE re-tweeting) is another terrific way to provide valuable content, make connections and build your list of followers.

#6 – You need tools to manage all these online tools! One of my favorites is www.hellotxt.com. This micro-blogging aggregator lets you post Tweets/updates simultaneously to a wide variety of sites including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more with the click of your mouse.

Tweetdeck is the preferred tool for managing all those Twitter followers without getting overwhelmed. I also like and use www.Tweetlater.com to set up future Tweets and track when other people send me direct messages, or re-tweet my posts. Then I can reply or thank them in a timely fashion.

#7 – Online marketing is not about the hard sell. It’s about offering quality content people find helpful or interesting so they’re inspired to click back to your hub site to get more.

That said, it’s not enough to simply drive people to your hub Website or blog. You need to collect their contact information and develop your own community of followers who love what you have to say and happily buy your products or services.

The best way to do this is to offer something of value on your Website or blog at no charge so you can get their email address and keep in touch regularly. A free report, audio download, PDF, book excerpt, helpful checklist or anything else that is truly useful will do the trick.

You’re also going to need an email service at the very least.

For email only, AWeber is considered one of the best in terms of deliverability. Many people also like getresponse.com and constantcontact.com. However, if you’re thinking about selling your products or services online you should get an integrated email service and shopping cart.

I use and highly recommend 1 Shopping Cart http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?pr=1&id=98461. It handles email and ecommerce so you can segregate your list according to their past purchases and communicate differently with different groups of prospects and customers.

Because it’s industry standard, it’s easy to find people who know how to use it. And you can always start with their lower-priced, email-only service then upgrade later.

#8 – Once you start collecting email addresses, you need to stay in touch and keep offering value until they’re ready to buy or hire you. Otherwise your hot new prospects are going to forget all about you and what you do.

That means sending an email newsletter at least once a month (bi-weekly is better and weekly is best if you can manage it). Less than monthly and you’re just wasting everyone’s time.

Struggle with coming up with fresh content on a regular basis? You have a couple of options…

Option 1 – Hire a cheap content writer on elance.com. You’ll probably still have to do some editing, and/or even supply them with ideas or raw content, but this is a viable option.

Option 2 – Subscribe to a content service. Some are better than others so be sure to check samples before you subscribe. I like the content Jim Palmer delivers. It’s well-written, and each month’s installment covers enough topics that you can always find something appropriate. Check this service out here: http://www.kickstartcart.com/app/?Clk=3022883

Whew! I’ve already covered a ton of info and we’re just over half way through the 14 tips you need to know. More to come next week…

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