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4. Spread The Word
SEO might not be the only effective tactic for your site. When competition is fierce or when SEO isn’t effective, another option is to purchase search terms that will place your ad or Web site at the top of the heap. The value of this service is that it practically guarantees that people who see your ad are already interested in what you offer.
For example, Google implements this advertising service as AdWords (google.com/adwords). AdWords requires no minimum overall spend, and lets you decide how much to spend per day and whether to pay per click or per 1,000 impressions. Google also offers great free tools to help determine which search terms will work best for traffic generation, and where to place your ads for the best possible competitive advantage. Google also offers Web hosting, site design templates and a pretty good Web form creator and back-end database, all completely free of charge.
And for people who use Google’s AdWords program, you might once again turn to Michael Wong, whose free marketing tools include helpful utilities such as a keyword wrapper for automatically adding the appropriate punctuation for the desired search type, a link popularity checker, and a new keyword tool that automates much of the editing that would otherwise be manual and laborious.
Purchasing keywords also has a distinct advantage over building a business based on search engine referrals through SEO. Search algorithms -- which are as heavily guarded as the recipes for Coke and Pepsi -- change constantly as search companies vie for competitive advantage. These changes can (and often do) leave companies that once feasted on a free flow of customers to flounder as they attempt to regain it.
Not all the spending has to come from your own budget. Many large manufacturers offer market development funds and co-op programs to help pay for advertising and other marketing efforts. And companies such as Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Oki Data and others supplement their MDF programs with allowances for in-house printing of collateral materials, and offer training, on-demand printing, personalization and other specialized programs to help market your products.
Digital signage can be another cost-effective marketing approach, but starting up can involve a steep learning curve and some potential costs. Unless you plan on maintaining each sign individually, you’ll need a system to push your ads (and/or those of your customers) to the signs, circulate them across your signage network and provide performance and demographic reports as well.
Fortunately, there’s an excellent content management service that does all these things at no cost. Started by NEC as a means of selling more of its digital signs, Vukunet.com lets signage administrators register their screens and the demographics associated with them, resulting in a large national network. Screen layouts are created using a point-and-click environment that includes templates and widgets for things like news and weather. With 90 percent of the heavy lifting done by Vukunet, the reseller only has to focus on sales.
NEXT: Social Media