Cold calling is out. There’s a new marketing sheriff in town.
1. Free Publicity. Publications, both online and off, are always looking for interesting content. Send out press releases, or just make some calls. Try to arrange interviews with local papers and magazines, offer perspective to any media source covering your area of expertise in particular or small business in general, and gain exposure. Don’t forget radio and online podcasts.
2. Ask to be reviewed. Many article writers are eager to show their skill on review sites. Submit your company or service for review. This may entail exchanging your service, for example beefing up the website of a respected review blogger, but it’s an investment well worth your time.
3. Champion a cause means instant, positive exposure, especially if you’re using social media. As a bonus, you get to do something good for a worthy charity.
4. Work your blog. Working your blog has several components. If you’re championing a cause, use your blog to promote it. You can also start a contest and give something away, establish yourself as an expert by writing informative posts, or take a stand about an issue. (next tip)
5. Draw a line in the sand. Taking a stand can be pretty controversial, but if you can spark a heated discussion it’s great for driving traffic. Before tackling a hot button issue, however, know it inside and out. Arguing from a weak position could damage your credibility.
6. Get involved in local events. Host or help a charity golf event, a tweetup (twitter gathering) or join a local networking group.
7. Create an affiliate marketing plan. Offer a financial incentive for people to spread the word about your business –effectively hiring a free sales force. This can help put your web development business on the map by putting mentions and links to your site at numerous web locations.
8. Become a public speaker. Convention coming to town? Apply to be a presenter or speaker. Remember that it’s not a sales pitch. Offer expertise and share knowledge.
9. Make videos and release them into the wild. Share your knowledge online and hope it’s entertaining enough to be passed along.
10. Gather a mailing list and start a newsletter.
11. Start a link circle. Make an agreement with friends to disseminate links to your articles, blog and news, in exchange for the same.
12. Comment blogs – the best way to attract comments to your blog is by making interesting comments on other blogs (with a link to your website, of course). Be first and be witty. You may be able to earn (steal) other bloggers’ traffic.
13. Invite a guest blogger. Befriend someone with a big audience and ask them to contribute to your blog.
14. Find a niche. Become an expert in some aspect of the service you offer. Build sample websites that answer a specific need.
15. Trade ad space. Find related businesses and offer to exchange ads. Partner with a graphics or SEO company if your company does not offer those services. You may even find that pitching a bundled service contract will be attractive to potential clients.
16. Offer discounts and specials. "On sale now" might seem a little cheesy, but it works.
17. Get to know the locals. Every business needs a website, if only a static informational page. Not every business has one. Make a list of area businesses and find out. Go out in person, meet the owner and offer your services. Door-to-door is a low-tech way to put your web development business on the map, but it’s still effective.
18. Create a no-fold brochure and a business card to hand out. State what you do and how much it is on a good looking services card that you can leave with potential clients. Many people don’t shop for website services because they expect them to be pricey. They will be more comfortable making the call if they already know what the deal is.
19. Make news. Do something innovative that will beg news coverage. Given the number of news stories centering around skateboarding dogs, it should not be difficult to find some human interest angle that will make a good story. Find an independent animal shelter and build a website – then call the press.
20. Adopt effective SEO. Search Engine Optimization can work wonders for a small company, especially if you have a niche market focus. Of all the ways that exist to generate traffic, putting your web development business on the map and your website at the top of the search page is easily the most effective way to market your web development business online.