Marketing on a Budget, Your Free Business Plan

Start a new website with no-cost marketing techniques and get results fast with this plan! Marketing on a budget is always possible with determination.

1. Define purpose.
What is the goal of your new website? Try to define it in one clear sentence. This will help you focus. After you’ve got your sentence, ask yourselves these questions:

  • What kind of website should I create: a static HTML site, a blog or forum?
  • Do I absolutely need to hire someone to make a design, or can I start out without spending money?
  • How will I attract people to my website/service?
  • How will I communicate with my visitors? Is there a medium that my unique audience would prefer (email updates, phone, Twitter, etc.)?

With the answers to those questions in mind, read on.

2. Use free website designs.
Browse through a site like OpenDesigns and find a look suitable for your needs. By the time you are done editing the CSS files and adding images, the site will really start to come together. In the end it may not even look the way it started. This takes patience though, a free night or two, and a lot of coffee. But if you want to do it bad enough, you will!

And if you’ve worked with free templates before but never found something good, take a look again. In the past year especially, free designs have improved by leaps and bounds. One of my favorites from OpenDesigns is this blue and black template. It could be used for many different website categories.

The run-down:

  • If you choose to make a static HTML site, there are many websites that offer free or low cost templates. Choose something simple that is easy to edit. Remember to make your brand and your service stand out.
  • The best choice for a blog is definitely WordPress. With the largest user community out there, the amount of free WordPress templates is comparable to a tiny kingdom. But depending on what your website is about, a blog might look unprofessional. If you don’t foresee yourself getting a lot of comments and making good use out of a blog, opt for a static site.
  • A forum is a great way to get your visitors talking. Their posts can even drive in search engine traffic. A good choice to start with is from the makers of WordPress: bbPress
  • Do not forget to list any statistics you have on how many people you have helped and the results they’ve had from using your service. Design isn’t everything – results, stats and proof are.
  • If you do not know how to edit a website template, it is not an issue to just use your Facebook profile in the beginning. You can post your services, examples and even pricing on your profile. Some people may even view this as a more professional and serious way to connect. Post a link to your profile whenever you leave comments on blogs or participate in forums.

3. Need additional help? Barter.
Don’t know how you’re going to pay for a logo but know someone who is great with graphic design? Make a proposal to them. If they create a logo for you, you’ll offer them your service for free. Maybe you’re a writer or a cook, give them a good incentive to help you. And even if you think they may say no, try anyway – you could be surprised.

Remember, if you don’t know someone that has what you need, sites like BarterQuest actually connect people who prefer bartering, so check that out.

4. Use free website tools.
Use Twitter and Facebook to build the first visitors to your site. Leave thoughtful comments on blogs and profiles. Make sure before you do this that you have posted your own site and any articles you’ve written to your own profiles. When others come to reply to you, they’ll see your links and click them.

5. Communicate!
Whether your visitors have added you on Facebook, Twitter or are leaving you blog comments, always reply to every single one. Never leave anyone feeling ignored. You worked too hard to get them to listen, now don’t let them get away.

6. Contests.
Once your site is up and you have some steady visitors, announce a contest. Give away something for free, such as your own service. The best way to get word out about how good you are is to give others an example. It will be hard work at first, but anything helps to get your “word of mouth” level up.

If you have any other ideas that I’ve missed, please leave them in the comments below!


One Comment

  1. kerstin

    Thank you for these tips! Bartering seems to me like a good deal. I just had a look on the Website you recommend. There are a lot of users offering their knowledge and skills in Web Design, Graphic Design, Web Development, and so forth. I already registered (it’s really easy) and searched through all the different features. As far as I saw, there is a good matching system, which helps you find appropriate trading partners. I’m pretty excited!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I'm a photographer and business owner in Portland, Oregon. Yes, we moved here because we watched Portlandia, and because, mountains. My background includes web hosting and marketing. Feel free to ask me any questions about the articles on this website by using the contact page. Also please visit our sponsor: Unlimited VPN Service to increase your online privacy for as low as $5 a month!

14 views1 comment