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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Instead of asking what your best marketing strategy is I want to ask this:

    If you ONLY had $100, how would you market your site? I mean it, $100 is the LIMIT.

    We'll say that you have a new site and are not marketing it AT ALL. So, it's time to market. ALL you have to your name is $100. Where do you start?

    Please do not list any free strategies as we will consider they are going to be implemented at the same time.

    So, fire away. Use the $100 as you best see fit to generate more money to use on the site.

    [Edited by heavy on 09-20-2000 at 02:33 PM]

  2. #2
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    Interesting question.... See, my tendancy is to say, "Save the hundred and just use the free methods. Why spend the $100 if "free" will get better results?" But, OK, I've _gotta_ spend some money.... lets see -

    I guess I'd start at AskJeeves.com (or another search engine that allows it). I'd sponser a couple of search terms at a half-penny or so a pop. Figure words that get 1000-3000 searches a month. Deposit $25 in the account and let em run till your account is $zero.
    - Cost Estimate: 2-4 terms; $25

    Next I'd run over to Staples or OfficeMax and pick up some Avery blank post cards. I'd come home and print up some promotional cards, then hit the streets asking *targeted* businesses if I could post them on the store bulletin board, window, or near a pay phone. Not the best advertising, but at least you're building a home base
    - Cost Estimate: $25 (cards and printer ink)

    Last, I'd find a targeted newsletter and buy an add. You'll need to match your funds with the newsletters popularity as the more popular the newsletter the more the cost.
    - extimated cost: $50

    Total Cost=$100
    Estimated Audience=5000-25000

    But again, why spend the money on promotion? Sink it back into your business first! More months of hosting, buy a better ad rotator, etc. The *effective* free methods will get you the same or better audience for free.

    (If your going to spend money, promo campaigns are most effective at $500 and above... jus' my opinion)

    Exotic Hawaii: Live the life of your dreams!
    A Hawaii bikini model discusses life success and goal setting.
    http://exotichawaii.com

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    I'd do a lot of research and spend it on keyword rankings from GoTo.com...I can't think of anything more effective for your money really. $100 isn't enough for any kind of major campaign on any sites/newsletters of real consequence usually...

  4. #4
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Try Brainfox.com... Really cheap banner advertising.

  5. #5
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    This is interesting... I really would save the $100 bucks for some banner ads on a related site once your site is up, although that's not really needed. A web host, the domain fee, and vBulletin would be my fees.

  6. #6
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    DO NOT waste your money on brainfox... I have bids on about 40 search terms and have gotten less than 10 clicks this month.

    They simply do not have the volume that goto has.

    My 2cents worth..
    Patrick Weatherford
    www.BottomDollarDomains.com
    $12 Domain Name Registration

  7. #7
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    Here's another vote for spending it on goto.com!!

    Mark
    http://www.phillylist.com

  8. #8
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    I'd like to change my advice from an earlier post:

    I would NOT recommend using AskJeeves.com.

    Since signing up with them the problems have been too numerous to list. A few of the top ones:

    -Their stats are delayed by 3-5 days making it impossible to plan and monitor the effectiveness of add changes.

    -An equal bid, submitted _after_ mine somehow bumped me to a second place listing!

    -The click-thru ratio has been _less than_ 1 click through for every 1500 views (and you're charged by _view_)

    Goto.com seems to be recommended by others. I'll be trying them also.

    Exotic Hawaii: Live the life of your dreams!
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Columnist DanThies's Avatar
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    First thing I'd do is make sure my site was worth spending money to promote by having lots of friends, family and enemies look it over. And then....

    For $79 I'd get my site reviewed (using the "Basic Submit" option) by LookSmart. Looksmart feeds lots of search engines with directory results, and it only takes a few weeks to get reviewed even though they say 8 weeks.

    That leaves $21. You can spend it on e-zine advertising (or be smart and just submit articles to those ezines), or borrow another $4 from your mom and start a GoTo account.

    Once you've got your $25 GoTo account (or be even smarter and sign up through an affiliate link for the extra $5 bonus...) lay down one-cent bids on about 500-800 keywords/phrases that are relevant for your site. You can up the bid on a few high-popularity terms if you like (just bidding your way into the top 50 on GoTo for 'Pokemon' will get you 100+ hits a month easy.)

    Reinvest ALL of your profits in ezine marketing and buying clicks, until you have at least 300 subscribers to your own ezine/newsletter, then you can start taking profits.
    There. I started with $100, "leveraged" my mom, and I've got an online money machine going.

  10. #10
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    What great advice rtfmnews.

    I just don't understand the $79 on LookSmart. I understand they feed other engines, but is there something they give you for the $79??? It doens't guarantee a listing does it? And couldn't you just submit for free to the other big engines such as Yahoo!, etc.?

    I'm just curious what LookSmart does that would justify spending 80% of heavy's "advertising campaign" money.

    Exotic Hawaii
    Live the life of your dreams!
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Columnist DanThies's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mfarmerhi

    I just don't understand the $79 on LookSmart. I understand they feed other engines, but is there something they give you for the $79??? It doens't guarantee a listing does it? And couldn't you just submit for free to the other big engines such as Yahoo!, etc.?

    I'm just curious what LookSmart does that would justify spending 80% of heavy's "advertising campaign" money.
    Looksmart doesn't give you anything for the $79 except a guarantee that they'll review your site within 8 weeks. The reason I'd spend 80% of that microscopic budget on Looksmart is that there's not much else to do with less than $100. E-zine advertising is out for me at that small a level, so I'm buying my way into some extra search engine traffic up front, and Looksmart does generate hits.

    Once the money starts rolling in, obviously, I think the strategy changes. $199 to Yahoo! for them to review the site, start testing e-zines and e-zine ads, then ramp up to a full-on campaign, with some tweaking at GoTo to improve our ranking on any keywords that are generating traffic at a penny a click.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Thanks guys!!!

    While I DO have much, much more money to use for marketing my site, I used the $100 amount to find what everybody would do first. What you consider to be THE most important steps to beginning a marketing campaign. The most bang for the least buck if you will.

    You have given some excellent suggestions. Thanks for the input!

    ~heavy

  13. #13
    Idea Developer
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    goto.com is the best way to go.
    Professional PHP programing / Hosting
    aim: downtoi3iz icq: 74637813

  14. #14
    AdSpeed.com Son Nguyen's Avatar
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    Will self-promotion like banner exchange in the list?
    And try to get reciprocal links from other sites would def. increase your link pop. and that help with SEs.

    Anybody suggests going for a cheap CPM?
    - Son Nguyen
    AdSpeed.com - Ad Serving and Ad Management Made Easy

  15. #15
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    I'd go for $2 ads in Ezines so $100 would buy you 50 ads.Much more focused than banners. However I would not advertise my own site. I would hook up with a good multi-level trafic generator, and advertise that.
    Win a FREE book that's not an Ebook
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  16. #16
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    What is a multi-level traffic generator?

    I'm not quite sure what you are speaking of. Sounds good.

  17. #17
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    There is a big difference between AskJeeves/DirectHits/MSN/etc. and Goto/FindWhat/Sprinks/etc


    AskJeeves/DirectHits/MSN/etc. are pay for placement. You pay simply to have your link displayed. I have spoken to a lot of people about these while researching a book. The best I've heard yet is around $1/click-thru. The worst is around $100/click-thru.. (really)

    Goto/Findwhat/Sprinks are pay for clicks. You only pay for visits, not displays. These are much better value in my view. Goto is still the best of these IMHO. And if you can work at it, you can still get good traffic on 99% of topics for $0.01 per click

    Anyway if I had $100 budget, I'd spend it all on GoTo... if I had more than I might try other *major* per-click search engines, and/or setup a ClickBank a/c (to get the affiliate program) which is $50

    HTH

  18. #18
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    I have found that some of the best advertising I've ever done was by greating multiple domains that have some content, but are essentially in place to divert traffic to my main site.

    Each domain is index individually withn the search engines and each one has brought me thousands of click through clients in the end.

    I've also recently started using free e-mail branding services. I am using bigmailbox. Absolutely no cost, and you can brand it for the most part if you make a page with fames.

    You can view a review of this at my most recent site: Pit Bull Mail

    http://www.pitbullmail.com

    I set it up a week back and have almost 300 members on it at present. Each e-mail they send has a signature on the bottom both for the free e-mail and for my main site.

    I also use Link Exchange banners (free), List Bot opt-in mail service (free).

    My main site will see close to 500,000 visitors in a year. Not bad for a site that deals with one breed of dog.

    Additional domains cost me $17 dollars a year. The hosting comaopny I deal with is Softcomca. http://www.softcomca.com

    There basic service is $9.95 a month with no bandwidth usage limits, free setup and no minimum contracts. I've used them to host my main domain for almost three years in an about. I use only their basic plan as I have no need for fancy CGI or anything else, and I put through about 30 gigs of data transfer a month. I've never been warned, or told to upgrade, and it's all for $9.95

    These are personally some of the ways that I've been able to expand my client base. Everything is so compeditive now, that having an additional domain listed with most major search engines should be able to bring in a few thousand visitors a month if done right. That mean you will spend less money then you would with click through advertising.

    I sell dogs, host sites for others that sell dogs, and offer my own book for sale. I pull in just over $1,200 clear a month on my book alone. I use CCNOW for e-commerce. Higher fees per transaction, but no cost to set up or use. No need to upgrade your hosting plan or get a merchant account.

    I won't go into further details, but my site brings me in a very good income per year and has since 1996.

    I have tried GoTo recently and believe I could better use the money on developing another site that would gear traffic towards mine.

    Just my opinions, but quality indexing of pages are still the keys to success on the net at this time, and doing so by having additional domains will bring you more traffic then any other way at a cheaper cost per click then bidding on position. I'm also an editor with demoz.org and Infoseek. With Infoseek alone I have my own sites listed in key directories one after another. Demoz.com is harder to do that with.

    The last one I also use is free pages at AOL Homestead. I clone pages of my site and submit it there, and it's free and will send new folks to my site on regular basis.

    My per month costs for all domains including the $25 a month I will use with GoTo (max amount) advertising is still less than $100 dollars a month. The only extra is my time. I could cut out the $25 on GoTo and save a even more, but at this time I'm still evaluating it and trying to see if it will pay off more when they are fully listed with AOL search, and MSN.

    Take care;

    Tim



  19. #19
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    There is one more thing to consider. If you do a search on Yahoo for 'pit bull' you come up with 81 sites. Do another search for 'home business' and you get 30,050 or 370 times as many hits. It's a little harder to get a high position when you have common search words, whether you have multiple sites or not. If you want them to catch you out of 81 you can use a net, but out of 30K you need a laser point.
    Win a FREE book that's not an Ebook
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  20. #20
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    That is true. Some categories have more sites then others.

    With that said however. When I got on the net there were les than 10 sites promoting the services that I do. At last count there were over 500.

    Everey year at least half of those will disappear, and more will come to replace them.

    Trying to stay ahead of the game is key to being successful, and Yahoo is not the only search tool out there.

    I've found a fair amount of business from overseas, where indexing in search engines specific to countries has more value than Yahoo.

    With this all said. I can see the days are drawing to a close on the free submition area. The search engines are realizing how dependant most people and businesses are for being found on the net, so many more will be adopting pay per click as time goes on. It's unfortunate as this only gives bigger business the capacity to effectively advertise then. They have far deeper pockets and will drive up the pay per click costs for the most common key words.

    This is why I feel that opt-in services such as e-mail branding, mailing lists, messageboards, and so on are essential for sustained future growth of any online business. It's great if they find you, but you want them to come back, and to refer others at the same time.

    I used to use outside linking to other sites as a traffic generator, however when I reviewed what left my site for another, and what came to me from the links I was on the loosing end, so I stopped offering free linking (no point giving away traffic that you've worked hard to earn).

    The last one I'm woking on is a free classified ads site to be linked back to mine. I tried it out about a year back and it worked well. Now I have a bit more time and feel that this will be essential in marketing my services to the target audience that I'm looking for.

    The net has gotten to a point in my opinion that just finding your site now is not god enough. You have to offer something that keeps them coming back, or something that they opt-in to that you are able to market directly to them.

    I've tried to apply the strategies for my sector the same as those that are in the vastly more compeditive area are doing.

    Pay per clicks are the lazy mans way of trying to draw traffic. All you get is a visitor. If the person stays for 5 seconds, you paid for their visit. But if you had other services that they could sign up for for free, then you could continually market to them after there one click to your site has come and gone. You need to have that pool of clients that you can regularly work over and over. If they visited you site and signed up for a free service that you offer, then the sale is half way made. The other part comes from how you take that database and use it to make those visitors into buyers.

    My mailing list has approx. 7,000 subscribers on it. I get an average of about 5 new people to it everyday. That is also taking into account those that opt-out as well. That means that my mailing list should grow by around 1,800 new members a year.

    The other part is branded e-mail. I expect to see a client base of approx. 1,000 or more users by years end. They will check their mail approx. 2.2 times per day (this is the average that I've read about). I have banner advertising in place, and signatures on every piece of mail that goes out. Even with 300 visitors thus far I've seen an increase in traffic, so I epect that this will do more down the read.

    I still have a messageboard to install. I've used free boards in the past and they are good as well, however I purchased my own from Ultraboard and am working to set it up.

    There are so many different avenues to draw traffic to a site, but all take work. This in my opinion is what makes or breaks your site. Back 4 or 5 years ago you could just put up a page and they would find you. Now you have to work at making each visitor a client that relies on you site in way way or another. That applies to any business. Without it, your doomed.

    The difference between being around a few years back and being around today is work. You have to continually work on finding new things that will keep people coming back to your site on a regular basis, and having a database that you can market to as well. It's kind of a no pain no gain approach, but if you don't want to invest the time, you might as well close the doors now.

    Tim




    Again just my opinions

  21. #21
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    May I offer a special thanks to rtfmnews, fredzepplin and the others that have taken their valuable time and effort to post _long_ responses chock full of information. Posts like that are worth their weight in gold (just my opinion).

    I find the specific info, personal experiance, and openness in these posts incredibly helpful.


    ---------------------
    Live the life of your dreams!
    Exotic Hawaii.com
    A Hawaii bikini model's online gallery and success advice.
    http://exotichawaii.com

  22. #22
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    I agree! Thanks much guys.


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