The US economy is suffering; unemployment is high; the stock market is down. As a result, many people are starting their own businesses. Unfortunately, 4 out of 5 small businesses fail within their first year because of the overwhelming workload of being the boss, employee, receptionist, bookkeeper, marketer, etc…Real estate agents and investors wear all the hats unless they can afford to outsource some services.
Marketing and advertising can be one of the largest operating expenses of a business; yet, necessary to get the public interested in your products or services. How will you market your business? Will you use Billboards, TV, Magazines or Yellow Pages, Google Ads, and Classifieds? These can be very expensive; but are they effective? Do you really read the billboards and jot down the contact information? Do you watch commercials on TV or pay much attention to magazine ads? Maybe, if they are advertising something that you are interested in at that particular time.
Why the Internet is so Effective for Marketing
You run to the refrigerator or the bathroom during TV commercials; you change stations on the radio when they break for advertisements; you don’t even pay attention. This type of marketing is outdated and ineffective, for the most part.
When you are looking for a certain product or service, you go to the internet and Google Search something like “real estate agent ” and you will find companies who provide listing and selling services. This is effective marketing that reaches out to those who are in need of a product or service.
If your business, product, or service shows on page one of Google Search results, you will likely attract the attention of someone who is looking for what you have to offer.
You can do a lot of internet marketing without spending any money. There are a lot of free submission sites where you can have articles, press releases, and classifieds published. Activerain is a good example. Here are some ways to use the internet to market your business:
A press release is a newsworthy report announcing something about your business that will spark interest in the reader. For example, you lease or sell an empty building that has been an eyesore in town and the topic of nearby business owners’ complaints. Kids hang out there, the building is in disrepair and surrounded by litter and debris. This is newsworthy, so write a press release informing the community that you have resolved an issue. This is a great way to make friends in the community and introduce your new business.
Like with newspaper articles, the headline is important. Yours would say something like, “Realtor makes a Difference in Town, Providing a Safe Hang-out for Teens” or “Downtown Eyesore Cleaned up; Teens Enjoy Ice Cream Socials” Avoid making the mistake of writing a press release that sounds too much like advertising and promotion, or the site administrator might reject the material. Press releases are for announcing news; classifieds are for advertising.
A well-written press release will introduce your business at the beginning and contain newsworthy information in the next few short paragraphs. It’s not overly long and detailed; just enough to gain the interest of the reader. Your contact information is listed at the end; if you have a website, include a hyperlink somewhere in the press release.
Write articles to show that you are an expert in your field of business. Write something interesting about ice cream and give it an interesting headline, like “Ice Cream: This year’s top 10 “Items to make a house more saleable.” Begin with an introduction paragraph that grabs the reader’s interest and tells a little about what the article is about.
Since articles are educational; some are written for entertainment purposes, they are not about you or your businesses. They do help you establish credibility and demonstrate that you are an expert in your field of business. Articles that are written purely to advertise and promote your business may be rejected.
Keep the article short and maintain the reader’s interest to the very important resource box at the end of your article. This is where you get to shine! The resource box is the “about the author” section, where you mention your name and your accomplishments and most importantly, a hyperlink to your website. For example:
This article was written by Mr. Writer, owner, and operator of Your Town Realty. Mr. Writer has been in business for over 15 years, providing the best housing service. visit http://www.yourwebsite.com to learn more.
Keep the article short and interesting; be sure your hyperlink is formatted as shown above, with the http://www. With a little practice, you will find that you can write a great article.
There are many free classified sites on the internet where you can advertise your business. Internet classifieds are not like the one or two-liners that you have seen in newspapers. They can be much longer; different sites have different requirements. Some allow a limited number of characters or words in the headline and body of the ad; they all have different rules. Some people actually copy/paste their articles and press releases to classified sites. I like to write classifieds with bullet points so the best of what I have to offer stands out. Keywords are very important in classified ads.
Blogging and Social Networking
A blog is simply a weblog or an online journal. Social networking can be just for fun or it can be a great marketing tool. Facebook is another example of a social networking site. ActiveRain is a popular site used by people in the real estate business.
Using Google Places and Bing Maps is very effective. They are free and come to the top in searches.
Internet marketing is one of the most effective marketing and advertising tools available to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and large corporations. You can find virtually anything by searching the internet. It is free to advertise on the internet and market your business, products, and services to the consumers who are looking for you. Online marketing is a great way to advertise on a shoestring when you are opening a new business.
Get Online! Be Creative, Start Blogging, Socialize and Network, Learn and Grow
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