Pay Per Click Ads, or Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
For prices ranging from $.01 to $.10 or more per ad impression or ad click you can "buy" keywords.
"Pay per impression" means that you pay every time your ad appears in search results, whether it gets clicked or not.
"Pay per click" means that you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad.
Buying keywords and managing campaigns can seem confusing and overwhelming. Just start small and keep it simple at first. Try buying one keyword on one search engine.
Google AdWords: http://www.google.com/intl/en_us/ads/ads_3.html
Feedback is very fast, so you can test your ads and keep testing until you hit that buyer hot button that generates the sales you need. Search providers provide easy, free analytics tools to help you track the response to your ads and calculate your return on investment.
4. Go offline.
The Web is big, but its audience remains small compared to traditional media. You still need to physically get your brand in front of people. It's a proven fact that people prefer to buy from someone they "know" - and if your ad appears in something they are holding in their hands, this fosters a feeling of security, of knowing you, and lends you credibility.
Your URL should appear on every bit of marketing material that your company produces, from business cards to brochures to sales receipts.
There are also many small local papers and magazines that have very reasonable ad rates, and these are definitely worth looking into. Many times these small publications are working hard to meet their ad purchase requirements and can work out deals or discounts if you ask.
Need business cards, hang tags, brochures, etc?
Boutique Graphics does custom design and can professionally print t...
5. Keep your site fresh.
Search engines give higher rankings to sites that grow and change. Add new pages and kinds of content to your site as often as once a week, and no less often than once every couple of months. Photos and video, if appropriate, are good ways to enrich your site and to get the notice of search engines.
I recommend Carla as a top-notch SEO expert.
6. Get out there and Network!
The more people who know about your site, the more traffic you're going to see. Online business networks, Facebook, Twitter, and others are very popular and can be very effective too. There are hundreds of online networking sites you can join, but don't stop there. Join your local business association, the Chamber of Commerce, networking groups online, local MOPS or other groups in your area.
Talk about your business, and make sure your pride in it comes across. You should be proud of what you've accomplished, and if you are impressed with it, other people will sense this and be intrigued! Do everything you can think of to get people's attention... even if it means going outside your comfort zone. The more unique you are, the more people will remember and talk about you! You could even end up in the local paper as free publicity!
Ask local merchants if you can leave your cards or brochures near their register - think of an incentive for the store owner such as an exclusive discount for their customers.
Local events like town festivals or trade shows are often a great value - it will cost you usually about $50-100 for a "booth", then the cost of your marketing materials to pass out. This is worth every penny, because it means exposure to hundreds of people in a few hours. Make sure you have something fun going on at your booth to draw people in. A great idea is to have them sign up for a prize drawing (can be anything, a $25 gift card to your store, etc) with their name, email and phone number. Make sure you have a yes/no for them to sign up for your newsletter if they want. Then hand them your card and tell them winners will be announced early on your website, then notified by phone or email a few days later.
Host a seminar at the public library - they are always happy to have something new going on to bring people in, and they will usually let you plaster flyers all over their building and the town. A seminar, you're thinking - about what? ANYTHING you are knowledgeable or passionate about... a seminar about Cloth Diapering/Organic Baby Food/Kids' Fashion/Pet Grooming, sponsored by Your Boutique (http://www.yourboutique.com/).
Ask your local coffee shop if they will let you do a raffle. Buy some cheap raffle tickets, and have them for sale near the register. PUT YOUR URL ON EVERY TICKET! People pay $1 per ticket, and are entered into a drawing for day, a pound of their favorite coffee. Offer to pre-pay for the pound of coffee, and to donate all raffle ticket sales to a charity of the merchant's choice. Put on the tickets that the sales are going to charity! Are you going to make money selling the tickets? Nope. Are you going to get an unreal amount of exposure for your business? Absolutely. What you've got is a Charity Raffle sponsored by Your Company, and that is good stuff.
Any time that you host an event of any kind, big or small, submit a press release - you never know who might pick it up!
Content ©2009 Maggie Phillips
Feel free to share this article, but please keep the copyright in place, and give credit where credit is due!