This article is an overview of the steps it takes to launch a successful online marketing campaign on a small budget.
Your Web Site
Your business needs a website to promote your services and communicate to clients and prospects. The web site can be relatively simple with a few pages describing the services provided the company. On each page there should be a simple one-click form that will encourage visitors to contact you, effectively generating a lead. The budget for the website development and hosting should not exceed $750.00
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Your website should be built on an open source or out-of-the-box Content Management software that will allow you to update pages, menus and forms and allow you to change the look and feel of your site.
For excellent hosting on a budget for a small website, we have found a few services that consistently perform well. Among these is a company called hostgator which has great customer service and a wide range options for your web hosting needs.
We have found that netfirms does not do everything with very good practices and we have detected a number of vulnerabilities in their service.
Godaddy.com offers a 10.00 / month small business package that included content management and professionally designed templates. It is also one of the biggest registrars online, so they are a safe bet.
Web Site Content
It is recommended by Search Engine Optimization guides*that all website content should be originally composed. Each section on the site will describe a service that the business provides. A description of the service and some interesting background info for each subject will be composed to engage visitors and give search engines some content to index. A professional web copy writing service should be used here since there are only 5 pages of content and it will only be a one time start up cost. Professional writing services could be found for a variety of prices, but we will invest in a good service since it will be the face of our company for online visitors. We will allocate $600 to the content writing.
Keyword research will be done to select a marketable, memorable and search engine friendly domain name in a reputable extension. Only one of the following will be considered:
.com .net .org .ca .us .to .tv
Web Marketing Campaign – No Cost
Research the top online message forums for your industry by searching on Google and Bing. Become a member of the top 3 message forums. Post regularly on these forums (at least 2 posts a week per forum, preferably more). Aim to become a trusted and known member of these forums within 1 or 2 years. This can be accomplished by answering legal questions posted by other members. The signature used by the forum accounts will be a link to the business website, leaving a history of advice linking back to the website. This will serve to both bring in natural traffic and to promote the website in search engines by linkback.
Social Marketing is the new standard in online advertising. As your online presence grows, so should your network of followers, customers, partners and friends. The Facebook allows you to create a page for your business and link yourself into the largest social network in the world. Facebook ads also let you target specific locations and demographics
Twitter is a tool that allows you to send short messages from your computer or mobile device. The messages are then sent out into the twitter network and read by your followers. This is a great way to keep your network up to date on your day-to-day activities.
Once your website is online, the next step is to spread the word to all the high ranking business directories. DMoZ submission are free, but can take as long as 2 years to get listed, so send your submission as soon as possible.
It is wise to avoid paid directories because many of them are blacklisted as link farms in search engines. However, there are a few that are tursted and well worth the investment.
- yahoo directory (starting at $300/year)
- Business.com (starting at $100/Year)
Some directories and paid advertising will be utilized to maximize online exposure.
Web Marketing Campaign – Paid Advertising
Google AdWords is google’s self serve advertising engine that allows you too bid on keywords and place your ad right in the google search results. With a Google Ad Campaign you can set your daily and monthly budget and your maximum bid on a keyword.
Some hosting plans offer a bonus $100 in Google Adwords.
Keyword research is the art of finding keywords that are highly searched in search engines but are not competed for at too high a level. When planning an Adwords campaign the primary goal is to achieve the maximum ROI, or expected value. For example, if you pay 1 dollar per click, and 2.5% of your clicks close a deal, then you are effectively paying 25 dollars per customer. So you have to determine if a lead to you in your business is worth 25 dollars.