How to Start an Online Marketing Campaign for Free

Getting started with online marketing can be a tall task considering the plethora of options. However, it can be a wealth of knowledge if you know what you’re looking for. So before you start making the rounds to gather tips, tools and vendor information – imperative that you determine internal benchmarks. This is important in any marketing campaign – whether online or offline:

To provide direction

That’s great if you want to begin an online marketing campaign without big costs. But if you’re willing to spend an affordable amount for big returns, you must hire right away. Now, if you want to try going free first, read on for valuable tips.

– What is the goal? What do you want to achieve?
– What is the time frame with which you want to achieve these goals?
– What is your allocated cost?

The following will closely link to your goals:

To provide creative
What are your company’s unique selling points?
– What are you willing to offer clients and prospects?
– What are your company’s SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats?

To provide tracking
– What will be your tracking mechanism?
– What are your available facilities to accommodate incoming clientele?

When the following has been established, then you will be well-armed to start researching externally for the right campaign online

  1. Start off with market research. You’ve already done a lot considering you’ve just completed SWOT analysis for internal use. This should have already illustrated items such as your company’s

– Industry knowledge and market potential
– Unique selling points
– Direct and indirect competitors
– Target market
– Product and feature comparisons

This is already a solid foundation but might as well take this research to the next level by incorporating keyword research. This will include having to determine the key terms used by industry leaders, competitors and most importantly, your target market. The internal research will fuel the creative back-end of your collateral generation, if in print, while the keyword compilation will support the meta information and content generation for your website – laying the groundwork for the much-publicized need for SEO (search engine optimization).

  1. If the general marketing strategy of your company is directed towards online efforts. No use building a website if you’re not planning to optimize it anyway. It will be like setting up your store but not telling anyone where it was. SEO (search engine marketing) is now a necessary evil – you’ll need to keep up if you’d like to be found on the world wide web. So best to expand the knowledge base in that area as well. Read up on the following:

– Keyword research and SEM strategies
– SEO (search engine optimization) and its related activities
– Link building
– Content generation
– Navigation and user experience enhancement

  1. Now we move into more active campaigns as a result of previously compiled research work. Eventually, the research will serve its purpose by providing you with a library of how-to guides. This step will move into campaign proposals now.
  • Get listed

– There are a lot of free directories still available i.e. DMOZ which is still considered the biggest and the best. Most new ones though are slowly moving into paid inclusion so significant research will still be required to determine which directories will be right for your business.

– Many basic listings on a majority of search engines are also still free. It will take longer to be reviewed and rank compared to paid or premium listings but it is still worth the effort. As long as you have built your website to be optimized, then moving forward the indexing will run smoothly once the listings are in place.

  • Get noticed

– More commonly known as advertising and promotion, getting noticed these days take on many different forms – especially online. One step is to establish an online presence through content generation via press release distribution and article/ resource compositions that are directed towards your target market and directly reflective of your core business. This can be done by writing blogs, participating forums, distributing press releases – all these basically enhancing branding and company awareness as well. Essentially you’ll be building yourself as an expert in your field.

– This is also closely related to social media optimization. currently a rising force for online marketing. This will involve meshing with online communities and enhancing participation and interests from social media sites.
– Key consideration here is to pinpoint your area of interest/ niche market. Becoming partners and building relationships with related sites online will build not only your page-rank thereby enhancing your SEO score but also create mutual benefits between your business and closely related directories and resource sites either by exchanging links or banners. Identify sites that are complementary to yours and have qualified traffic flow back and forth benefiting both sites in terms of visibility.

Of course, should you desire to sit back and have the experts handle it, this will come in costs amounting to the thousand dollar range. Most consultants charge $200 per hour.

Most if not all of the above-mentioned steps are FREE in terms of hard cost. However, in exchange for not having to shell out the cash will be significant investment of time and effort.

What do you think?

Stefan Smith

Written by Stefan Smith

Stefan Smith is currently the managing editor of Nfl Touch Down. She is the author of ‘Sweet Life’ and the recipient of Pen and Scroll award.

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