Saturday, April 2, 2011

Free or Cheap Marketing Tools You Should Use

Did you know some marketing tools exist that cost either very little or nothing at all. Most small business owners in particular will whine they don't have a marketing budget (which I think is fool hearty no matter how much whining about lack of funds you insert into that conversation). What some of these folks don't know or don't take advantage of are the services that either don't cost much money or cost nothing at all. If you own a small business, at a minimum there is absolutely no reason you should use what is sometimes free to market or promote your business. Here are some of those inexpensive tools you should be using. Now your time is not free, but that is a whole other discussion. -- this blog is customized to blogger. It doesn't cost me a dime to have a blogspot. Other blog services such as Typepad cost a little extra and do have more bells and whistles such as built-in analytics; however, if you tie your blogspot site to google/analytics, it's free too and measures results. I do recommend you spent a few dollars on graphic design to customize your blogspot to match your brand.

Social media -- if you're not on social media building up your brand and image then you have missed the social media revolution all together. Facebook = free. Linked-In = free. Twitter = free. I suggest you pick your favorite social media (mine is Facebook) and then build your following. No, Facebook isn't your personal playground loaded with distractions. If you want to play on Facebook in the evenings and play Mafia Wars, I suggest you build a personal site away from your professional site. Again, your investment is time.

Constant Contact -- you can pay a very small amount to purchase some of their marketing tools including  their newsletter service and survey measurement tool. It's not that expensive and well worth the price, which runs between $35-$50 a month, depending on the service and contact numbers you purchase. I have my eZine First Word delivered through them, and I am very pleased with the results.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) -- three times a day (for free), public relations queries sent from editors, writers and producers land in my in-box. I make it a priority to answer relevant queries. Want to know how I got quoted in Redbook or Success Magazine? I use HARO and I actively respond. The key naturally is response. Actually, Success Magazine ran a profile on my company 3L Publishing, and that one article produced over $60,000 in business. Hmm ... five minutes of my time spent ... $60K in business -- that is some return on investment!

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