It isn't uncommon for a business to hit a period of low sales and lack of traffic in the twenty-first century.
In fact, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), poor sales is the #3 most important business problem that businesses experience. That being said, with lack of sales, it's often difficult to dump a lot of money into marketing. Here's 3 ways that your online business can still market itself on a shoestring budget.
Blogging is, undoubtedly, one of the most effective methods to generating more online sales. Nearly every business can tap into a niche online through blogging if approached properly--whether that be fitness, internet marketing, MLM, painting, biking, etc.
Everybody loves blogs. I do, my team does, my friends do, my parents do, and heck, my grandma does as well. The thing about blogging is that it's personal, informative, and often times inspiring. When I read blogs on web design or marketing, my mind begins spinning with great ideas and it makes me want to put them to use in my businesses.
Just like you're reading this blog, people will find it. It may not be an immediate traffic sensation, but over a period of consistently writing, tagging, and mastering Search Engine Optimization.
Basically, you will build up a volume of residual traffic, subscribers, RSS readers, and new visitors that will allow your business to boom. **The picture to the right was from the first massive traffic spikes we had after one of our posts got noticed by some big drummers.
Not only did it increase our daily traffic more than 200%, but it gained us 100+ email subscribers in 3 days. (Which after 2 months, was great.)
For example, let's say you're in the bicycle business. You own a bike shop called Big Boy Bikes and your foot traffic, along with website traffic is pretty low.
By creating a blog with a sexy Wordpress theme (like this one) and having an awesome email marketing service (like this,) you could blog about biking techniques, post bike reviews, talk about different worldwide bike events, interview popular bikers, etc., to begin building a subscriber list.
As the list grows, you could send weekly email broadcasts about recent blog posts, promote social media sites, and upsell current bike equipment deals at your bicycle shop. Over time, a relationship will be established with your list, your conversion rate will increase, and your sales will go up.
*Side-note: When we first launched our drumming company, Flight Drummers, we decided that it was going to take much more traffic volume to generate a decent-sized paying members base. To supplement that need, we launched Flight Drummers Magazine. (A drumming blog)
In the first three months, we were able to build a residual traffic of 2,000-2,500 monthly visitors and began building an email subscriber list. After building a decent list, I created and sent out newsletters every Monday to promote the previous week's articles and once per month, I would send out a newsletter that solely promoted our memberships. Jackpot.
The first membership promotional email I sent created $300+ in recurring revenue. From then on out, we gained sales from every broadcast.
Facebook works wonders when it comes to social media marketing. Currently, Facebook accounts for 64.5% of our referral traffic and roughly 51.1% of our entire traffic.
The best way to build a fanbase and traffic with a little startup cash is via Facebook pay-per-click (PPC.) Depending on your ad copy abilities, you can pay only a few dollars per day to gain a quick fanbase by running ads to your fanpage.
I was able to average 297 fans per day for only $5 on our Flight Drummers fanpage. (Keep in mind, this was after months of previous trial and error.) We set a simple daily budget to $5 and went from 3,553 to 5,325 (+1,772) fans in less than 2 weeks on about $70.
It's more expensive and click-through-rate is horrible.
We spent hundreds of dollars trying to run ads to landing pages on our website in hopes of building our list, but instead, cut our CTR by 80% and wasted time. When you run ads to your own fanpage, Facebook automatically optimizes your budget and instead of charging per click or per thousand impressions, they automatically optimize it at a cheaper rate.
Although it sounds more appealing to run ads to your site, Facebook likes to keep people on their own site, therefore, making it more costly to run ads externally. (Which makes sense from a business perspective. The primary goal is to keep people on your site! Traffic 101.) As you begin to advertise a few bucks per day on Facebook, here is a good 6-step system to follow.
Once you complete your first few rounds to step 6, it should become routine. You will begin to realize what your average conversion rate is and will be able to higher or lower your daily budget accordinly.
Example: If you begin averaging $50 per week from fans that turned into leads and bought something, then reinvest $50/ 7 days = $7.14 per day. (Daily budgets can be adjusted anytime.)
*Additional Tip: I would highly recommend changing your ad image and ad copy (text + title) every 1-2 weeks. As people begin to see your ad more, it becomes less effective. Altering images and ad copy boosts CTR and fan conversion. 8-)
If you have never interacted in a forum before, your in for some fun. Forums are addicting. Not only area forums a fun way to interact, learn, and give advice, but they are massive traffic machines.
Whether your an internet marketer, in MLM, a musician, or just a businessperson, forums such as WarriorForum or Drummerworld allow you to connect first-hand with people who have been in the industry, while also permitting you to drive crazy amounts of traffic back to your blog or site.
Here's we drove more than 300+ visitors to our site in the first week of forum marketing, spending only a few hours:
*Tip: when you first begin forum marketing, make sure you don't create threads promoting your products, articles, etc. People do not like this, especially when you're new. It makes you appear to be a spammer or person that isn't in the forum to help, but to pitch people on your business.
So, to recap all of these great marketing techniques, make sure you: