Saturday, October 20, 2007

Marketing on a Shoestring for Non-Profits

You have a great product or service. The best in its field, without a doubt. You get a great new website, open your doors, and…..

Wait. And wait.

You see, developing a great product is only half of the equation, maybe less. If no one knows about it, you won’t have any customers. How do you get people to find you and buy what you are offering?

It is very difficult to stand out in the marketplace today. Everyone is clamoring for attention, information overload is prevalent, and consumers have little time or money to spend looking for you. Unless you pop up on the first page of an internet search, very few customers will find you, but it is next to impossible to get on that first page without a lot of volume on your site! Classic Catch 22.

The key is for you to go out and find customers, don’t wait for them to find you!

Marketing campaigns and Search Engine Optimization providers can cost a lot of money, but here are some things you can try without breaking the bank:

1. What, you don’t have a website? You have to have a website to sell anything these days. Search around, there are many companies that will design your website for free if you host with them on a monthly basis. You might not get the most customized one, but at least it gets you out there. Or maybe you can barter one for a service that you provide.

2. Analyze your website. That’s right, not all websites are equal in the mechanical eyes of the search engines. You need to make sure that your website has the right key words, that the density of those key words is high in your site, and that your links work, etc. Type in “Search Engine Optimization” on Google or another search engine, and you will get a list of companies that provide services to improve the rank of your website. Just reading these sites will give you a wealth of information, but using some of the free tools on these sites can greatly improve your website and how traffic gets there. Of course if you can afford it, give them some business and let them analyze your site and redesign it for you!

3. Put the word out! Write letters, articles, email your friends and ask them to email their friends. Your local business section in the newspaper probably has a new businesses feature. Submit news about your product or service to ezines. All of this is free!

4. List on Its amazing how popular craigslist has become, and listings are free.

5. For a little more money, sell on ebay or Amazon. They have a variety of services for small businesses. Their customer service workers are knowledgeable and polite, so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know how to get your product up and running. Some services cost a monthly fee, some are one time, so make sure to read the fine print.

Get ready to start making sales!