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Internet Marketing 101: Running a Business on a Shoestring Budget

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The Internet is an awesome electronic world where the possibilities are endless. What started out as a tool for sharing ideas has become a vast electronic network where customers and companies can do business.

Most importantly, the Internet has leveled the playing field for big and small businesses.

While establishing and running a business online is a lot easier than ever before, sustaining it remains a challenge.

The staggering amount of information available online and the incredible degree of control users have over what information they choose to see, can make it difficult to get your ideas, products, and services in front of your target customers. Online marketing has necessarily become its own legitimate business, requiring effort and considerable amounts of time to get things right.

That means that those with incredible resources may still have the upper hand. But if you are on a tight budget and fear that online marketing isn’t for you, I can offer some tips on how to establish an online business on a shoestring budget.

Familiarize yourself with your market
Your online marketing campaign has got to be based on a clear idea of who your target audience is. Before setting out to market your business online, you must determine your precise market. The good news is, with the tools available online, you don’t have to spend huge amounts of money to do market research.

If you are just starting out, one of the best tools that comes highly recommended by online marketers is Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool. It’s a keyword research tool that offers a peek at which keywords customers are using to find information online.

Once you’ve profiled your target customers and determined the right keywords to use for your business, you are set to start your marketing activities.

Know your objectives
As they say, begin with the end in mind. Everything should start with a solid objective.

What’s your goal for your business? What do you hope to achieve by establishing an online operation? Is it to establish a strong brand recall? Are you looking to increase your revenue?

Whatever your goals are, stick to them. And when you do reach your goals, don’t be complacent. Set new goals to keep your business growing.

Determine how much you’re willing to spend
One of the great aspects of doing business online is that you can get started with very little budget. Lots of tools are available to get you up to speed for free.

There are free blogging tools complete with e-commerce features such as payment processors and analytics tools. While you may gain moderate success with free tools, you can get premium results with premium tools.

Create a strong brand for yourself
The online marketplace is a mature marketplace. In fact, for a lot of industries, the online world is already a cutthroat arena with thousands of small companies competing for that precious spot on Google’s first page.

But that shouldn’t cool you off. You can outsmart the competition by setting yourself apart from them. You should think of clever ways to create a strong brand for your business. You need to make yourself unforgettable.

Start with your website. You site’s name should always bear your company’s name and logo. Your domain name should also repeat the name of your company.

Remember, the key to successful branding is to use your brand consistently. Include your brand with nearly everything you do online. Images should include your logo. Online videos should open with a strong intro that features your brand’s name and logo.

As for the logo, there are a lot of designers out there who can create amazing brand logos for your business. Most of them offer their services at very reasonable prices.

Employ effective SEO
Statistics show that most Internet users find information online via the search engines. That’s why you need to achieve a strong ranking in search. Otherwise, your customers will find your competitors when they look for the products or services that you are offering.

Here is where keyword research is essential. You can choose to do SEO on your own. But that can be a time-consuming endeavor. That’s why, if your budget allows it, you can choose to hire affordable SEO companies to help you rank higher on Google.

For tips on SEO, click here.

For tips on finding the right SEO company for your needs, click here.

Blog regularly
Over the years, blogging has grown to become an essential business tool. It’s a great way to keep your audience engaged and in the loop. It’s also an effective SEO activity, because Google notices and rewards fresh content. The more often you publish on your blog, the more you will gain better rankings in search.

What should you blog about?

You can blog about your business, the products you offer, and events that your business may be hosting. You can also blog about new developments in your industry. You might also occasionally tackle how-do discussions on your blog.

Get involved in social media
Social media isn’t just a fad. It’s a crucial marketing channel. That’s why it’s very important these days for businesses to establish a strong social media presence.

In fact, the lines that divide SEO from social media are already blurring. Social media plays a growing role in how well sites get ranked by search engines.

Start creating social media profiles for your business on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Doing so will make it much easier for customers to find you online.

I can vouch for the effectiveness of online marketing as a way to establish a business on a shoestring budget. Thanks to the Internet, we no longer have to raise thousands of dollars in capital just to get a business launched.

How has the Internet helped you in running your business? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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Charlie Solanor

I am a Content Writer, SEO and Social Media Marketing Specialist and a full-time coffee lover.

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