Marketing Your Website on a Tight Budget

This post was guest blogged by Steven York of SEOpher.

Let’s face it, marketing your website is one of the biggest barriers between you and success (whatever it’s size). Don’t forget that the best content in the world is seldom discovered naturally – it’s being deliberately pushed under your nose so that you’re aware of it, but how can you do this without spending a fortune?

All too often someone asks me how they should market their website and the same answers keep cropping up; PPC, competitions, promotions and the same replies keep cropping up too – “but I don’t want to spend much”. While some more hardcore marketers would tell you that without a decent budget and the associated risk you won’t get anywhere, I’m of a different school of thought. Sure having lots of money to burn helps, but 99% of us don’t want to do that, so here are ways for you to market yourself on a limited budget.

1 – Prizes that have monetary value to others, but not you

You’ll have seen this without realising; if you sell text links on your website for $50 a month then offering a 3 month text-link slot as a prize has an associated value of $150 to the winner, yet doesn’t result in you spending money. Are you a web designer? Then maybe offer a redesign of the winner’s website as a prize. Under the premise I charge $60 an hour for my web-development time, redesigning and implementing a winner’s blog could have an associated cost of $600-2000 and that’s a marketing figure you can take right to the bank.

Sure you’re spending time not money, but that’s what this is about – not emptying your wallet. It means you can say that the prize is worth $2,000 without actually outlaying $2,000 in cash.

2 – Spend a little but offer visitors

Using StumbleUpon you can drop a campaign on a competition winner’s website for as little as $0.05 per visitor. This means that you could promise 1,000 visitors to the winner and only outlay $50; which is a tiny amount yet 1,000 visitors is a good prize. I’ve been seeing this a lot over at Problogger and it’s had some pretty decent results too.

3 – Get involved with PPC using promotional vouchers

Google Adwords quite often has promotional vouchers that give you $50-100 of credit simply for signing up with them. This means that you could market your blog on Adwords without spending barely anything at all. If you’re smart with your keywords you could only be paying $0.05 a click; so 2,000 visitors could be attainable with a $100 voucher. Microsoft Adcenter often has vouchers too, so that could be two PPC networks you can leverage for (nearly) free.

4 – Bundles!

Why not offer a bundle of your services? A review (for $100), 2 months text links ($100) and an hour’s consultation ($60) gives you a prize of $260 without outlaying anything other than your time and resources. Yet it still makes quite a cool prize.

5 – All the other methods you already know about

Social news sites, forums, link-baiting, all of these are fine but I didn’t want to explain each of them because they’ve been done a hundred times before and the information wouldn’t be new. Most readers will already know how to leverage social news sites and niche forums so I’m skipping this bit entirely.

6 – Just be creative! Here’s my creative idea to get you started:

The best marketing stunts you could pull are ones that cost next-to-nothing. What about buying a teddy bear, get a blank (white) T-shirt for him and write your website’s domain on it. Then take the teddy and mail him to another blogger. Then that blogger does the same. Then hopefully you can get an A-lister involved (Darren Rowse, John, Shoe) and the campaign goes viral. The only outlay you have is the cost of a bear and shipping it to the first blogger. Before you know it you’ve got backlinks and a world of people talking about you – viral marketing is very powerful when done well and could give you success beyond your wildest dreams.

Sure you can spend an awful lot of money on advertising and marketing your website; banner adverts on high profile sites, paid reviews, extensive PPC campaigns… But if you really think hard about it you can digg up several ways to get things rolling – even if it means using your own time/resources as a prize (provided you can assign monetary value to them). Hell, with the right idea and a bit of luck you could find yourself on top of a viral craze that makes you famous. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again, the question is are you going to be the one to start it?


56 thoughts on “Marketing Your Website on a Tight Budget”

  1. This is perfect! I will begin a contest myself very soon. I particularly like the bundle idea.

    1. Seopher says:

      Yeah, obviously life is a lot easier if you can just offer $1000 as a prize rather than digging around trying to devise $1000 worth of resources to offer… Plus people like bundles because it feels like you win more.

    2. MR. NICE GUY says:

      This article is great. I will plan my own contest one of these days. Indeed most bloggers are on a tight budget and it’s real hard to get success in money blogging.

      1. DONE – I am up with a contest coming month – Resourse will be as given in Idea No. 1

    3. Bloggers are using Entrecard Credits as the β€œgive away prize”, which eventually cost nothing but can help you gain whatever you wish (It can be signing RSS Feed, e-mails or comments on certain posts)

  2. SeeThis says:

    well…i’m agreed with you john..very creative idea and brilliant..i take note on it..thanks

  3. Paolo Gaspar says:

    Being creative is one of the most important things that someone can do for their business. It doesn’t help when you don’t stand out, especially when it comes to marketing. Everyone should try sitting down for an hour with a pen and a paper and just try coming up with ideas. The most ridiculous sounding one could prove to be a gold mine.

    1. Drunker.com says:

      I agree with being creative but mailing a teddy bear to John or Darrin or Shoe? They will think that I am drunk or something!

  4. Hannah says:

    Very good post Steven, thank you for sharing it! I very much enjoy your writing style.

  5. James Wilcox says:

    Great post, John. All very cool ideas to market on the cheap. I think contests are one of the best ways to get visibility and you can do it without breaking your bank. Even if you give away something like an iPod…you can do it without it having to cost you a ton, you just have to be creative.

  6. Richard says:

    Interesting ideas… might consider them πŸ˜‰

  7. Luke says:

    These are some pretty good ideas. Things that cost me nothing but have a fairly decent market value can be used as prizes. I’m thinking maybe a static page with a review of their blog would do nicely. Thanks for the smart post, Steven.

  8. Abunza says:

    great advice, thanks!

  9. Patrick says:

    You have some error on your website:

    Warning: fopen(/home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/viewcron/2008-03-21120917-7080187240.txt) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/adgenmulti.php on line 44

    Warning: fwrite(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/adgenmulti.php on line 46

    Warning: fclose(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/adgenmulti.php on line 47

    Warning: fopen(shopzillaxml/1-459201284.xml) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 239

    Warning: fwrite(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 240

    Warning: fclose(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 241

    Warning: chmod() [function.chmod]: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 242

    Warning: fopen(shopzillaxml/1-591020360.xml) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 239

    Warning: fwrite(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 240

    Warning: fclose(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 241

    Warning: chmod() [function.chmod]: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 242

    Warning: fopen(shopzillaxml/1-591020360.xml) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 239

    Warning: fwrite(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 240

    Warning: fclose(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 241

    Warning: chmod() [function.chmod]: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/getxml2.php on line 242

    1. Not seeing any errors here

      1. But i notice the same here
        Warning: fopen(/home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/viewcron/2008-03-23070943-12216114788.txt) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/adgenmulti.php on line 44
        Warning: fwrite(): supplied argument is not a valid stream

    2. I agree with your comments….haha

  10. Pete says:

    Another great one from Steve, thanks for sharing. My favorite part is the web server error message:

    Warning: fopen(/home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/viewcron/2008-03-21120956-644731175.txt) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Read-only file system in /home/www/ttzmedia.com/affiliate/adgenmulti.php on line 44
    Warning: fwrite(): supplied argument is not a valid stream

    Haha, just kidding. In all seriousness, I think I’m going to try #1…

    1. Seopher says:

      Yeah #1 is a great way of gettings things done. UniqueBlogDesigns managed to gain some excellent exposure by offering a redesign as a competition prize – something that holds an attractive monetary value.

      And I’m not sure why John’s TTZ stuff is throwing so many errors (I can’t see them, but someone can!)

  11. Jake Cohen says:

    Very interesting. It’s true, you really have to be creative when it comes to marketing. While money can help you, it’s a variety things that will really draw in a crowd. You also want to make sure that you spread out your sources, to not only draw a lot, but many different kinds of people.

    This really takes a lot of motivation and self control. I wrote a post over at my blog today, about the Postponing Tasks at Hand. You guys should check it out, and tell me what you think of it if you like it.

    Thanks!
    Sincerely, Jake Cohen.
    TalkPrice.net

  12. natespost says:

    I’m thinking I could get major publicity by mailing a LIVE bear to someone. Really though, thanks for the great ideas!

    1. Robert says:

      Mail a polar bear and really blow them away!

  13. Internetsalsa says:

    Yes there is problem with TTZ Media.
    I thought it was happening to me only but its happening to their main page as well.
    I suffered yesterday as well.
    SO far the program had been going good…but…lets see how the future holds..

  14. Thats some valuable inputs as always

  15. Mike Huang says:

    Great guest post πŸ™‚

    -Mike

  16. John I read your e-book and you have inspired me to post more on my blog. Right articles that people will be interested in reading. Your methods of generating ad revenue are fantastic.

    Thanks for the boost and keep up the good work.

    MPC

  17. Great post. I am going to give a few of these a spin to test and see how they go.

  18. Jcyreus says:

    Great tips…I especially like the one with the viral teddy bear.

    1. Robert says:

      What about a sending someone a horse?

  19. This is really good information πŸ˜† Thanks for the heads up. I will be including these tactics with my seo program.

  20. Iconic says:

    Great advice!

  21. Like the viral craze idea with the teddy bear. I’ll have to modify and work on that a bit.

  22. Joseph says:

    Those are really good ways to get some exposure. Good post.

  23. Robert says:

    Are you saying that, if I send a teddy bear to someone, I will be able to market my blog?

    1. Seopher says:

      Why not? The world gets bored with conventional marketing techniques and going viral with mediums like Youtube is old hat now. So why not get a ‘blogging bear’ on the roll by sending him around the world and getting other bloggers to receive him, sign him, take a picture of them with the bear and send it on.

      Can’t hurt as an idea.

      1. Hannah says:

        Yes, though I’m sure we’ll be seeing hundreds of bears with blogger t-shirts going around the world now!!

  24. Syed Balkhi says:

    excellent guest blog post … thanks for getting it up john

  25. This is a great post Steven!

  26. David Chew says:

    Very useful tips for bloggers to increase visitor and also to make your blog to be more famous. πŸ˜€

  27. Simon says:

    Ever been to Hy’s?

  28. Nice post Steven, offering bundles of your services is a great way to save money and still provide a valuable prize.

  29. unnikuttan says:

    Great article john, but creativity is very important and that is the main reason why people do not start.

  30. I like the inspiration of this piece. Paolo is right about being ceative.

    I’ve actually bought traffic from the StumbleUpon program-but it’s been said here before, by people like Andrew I think, those guys have that high bounce rate. I’ve also been able to use coupons from MSN ad network, Yahoo, and Google. That Google one was hard to get, but once it kicked in I ended up using it for my Superhero Tshirt site, instead of my blog.

    But these days the BlogCarnival is being good for my traffic.

  31. Granny Smith says:

    There is another free and good method to, as Steven says, push your great content in front of peoples’ noses so it can be discovered. Free Banner Exchange services that specialize in blogs will advertise your 125 x 125 ad, and you don’t have to do anything like surf from blog to blog waiting for the timer. You just need a presentable ad, not homemade looking, and services like 125BlogExchange.com will display your ad thousands of times on related category blogs around the world at no cost to you.

  32. A contest where you can signup some sponsors is certainly an attractive way to go. Just look at Gyutae Park’s Winning the Web. The thing has now gone totally viral. On top of increased visitor exposure, I’m sure he’ll be able to sell some more advertising spots, and make a name for himself. Great!

  33. Hi, some good ideas, have tried many in the past…even thought about something similar to the Teddy Bear, but was concerned that someone would just keep the item. I’d love to hear more on this idea, because I didn’t really understand how you would get people to pass it on?? Would they add their URL to the t-shirt?? Sorry, I just didn’t get it much.

    There’s a great new thing you should check out, http://www.Spottt.com, you can do banner exchange with them to get free traffic to your site. It’s one of the best exchanges I’ve seen because it’s not using popups or anything obnoxious, just a small tile ad and you get credits every time someone views the Spottt ad on your site (and then your Spottt ad is shown on other sites). It’s run by Adbrite and it’s really working nicely so far!

    πŸ™‚

  34. LoonSport says:

    this article was great, hope i could earn more with my sport blog here…

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