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?