Businesses working their way onto the Web should take notice that there are many different ways to approach digital marketing. The use of content, advertising, social media, contests, sponsorship, link building, and membership modules are all viable solutions to the problem of getting found, online.
The following list is a tailored set of solutions for those businesses running on a budget; they will provide you with the ideas and strategies for marketing the brand without the need of spending a great deal of money as you would in traditional advertising channels like television or print.
1. User Submitted Content
Major community-focused websites rely on user submitted content which not only gives them something to read/view and share but also keeps search engines happy because the site is continually updated with relevant information (especially if it can be curated based on categories and topics).
The usage of user submitted content means that you can market your business for free – the only “pay” you have to provide is some form of recognition for the efforts of those submitting content such as a byline with a link back to their website.
There are a couple ways of doing this:
· Allowing guest contributors to the blog through guidelines and submission forms
· Including RSS news feeds and displaying them on a page (including the ability to submit tips)
· Crowdsourcing comments and feedback which can become content
· Holding contests which require individuals to create and share content on the site
The only difficult part about this strategy is that you need to take the time to filter what comes through because there will be individuals that want to game the system but if you consider a few minutes of approving content versus hours of creating it on your own you can see the benefit in this solution to digital marketing.
2. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising such as PPC, CPA, CPM, and others are very do-able even when you’re on a relatively small budget. Clicks can cost mere pennies on the dollar if you are able to identify your market and use your business keywords to deliver a targeted advertisement. Likewise, you can go outside of the normal channels and find micro/niche networks that offer advertising options through software, sponsorship opportunities, direct advertising, and more. Everything is negotiable.
Desktop Lightning, a company that provides online traffic generation software, shares advice when it comes to the topic search traffic:
“Relying on traffic from search engines alone is a risky move because you’ll be putting all your eggs in one basket. When it comes to traffic sources, diversification is key.”
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, all offer the ability to advertise on the platform. Doing so will allow you to create double placement within search results:
· They will see the organic listing
· They will see the paid listing
Even if it costs your business money when they click the paid listing it’s still worthwhile if they chose to skip the organic listing.
Paid advertising through these search engine platforms also extend to the content networks such as when blogs and websites display Google or Yahoo/Bing ads which gives you the opportunity to display graphical advertisement (if you so wish).
3. Social “Locking”
A growing online marketing trend that hasn’t been fully utilized by businesses is the idea of social “locking”; in this approach your business will create a great resource, coupon code, or some form of valuable item that visitors and leads may receive if and when they share content hence the “locking”.
The idea of social “locking” has been very active since brands first became aware that they could encourage visitors to like a Facebook page or follow one of their other social accounts which only display certain content, on the platform, after a user submits the request.
Now there are website scripts and plugins which allow you to “lock” part of the content which requires a visitor to take one of these social actions before the rest is displayed; it only takes a moment for the user to which they gain something of value and your business gains the benefit of the share or follows.
· Creating a coupon code but only giving access to those following your Facebook fan page
· Publishing an extensive white paper about the industry only available to Twitter followers
· Holding a contest where individuals are required to share on a social platform
You can do a search on marketplaces like CodeCanyon.net for “social lockers” which will provide you with a host of affordable scripts and plugins for this strategy (running around $10 – $25). Once installed you are ready to get locking.