Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

25 Kickass Ways To Market Your Idea

I have been learning, yesterday and today, how important it is to have multiple streams of marketing to your business. This bascally is a fancy way of saying that you need to have multiple ways that people can find your site.

Sharon Tieman (MadameMarketing.com.au) relates each business to a chair. Imagine if the chair you were sitting on right now had only one leg (not like a computer chair that splays out at the end but just one thin leg all the way down), how stable would that chair be?not very stable. If your business has only one method of getting customers then it is like a one legged chair…it is unstable. If that form of getting customers was to dry up then your business would collapse.

In order to market my new business I have been using one major forum to get traffic to my site. I was the one legged chair, my traffic was based on one source of income. Yesterday and today that traffic has been almost completely dried up and I have been flagged as a spammer. I’m not deleted from the forum but I have to really take a step back and remove all links to my website. Thus my regular stream of customers has almost dried up.

Luckily I have been building a list of leads by using Aweber. This has been a lifesaver for me, instead of having to go out and get traffic, I now have ways I can reach people. I would recommend Aweber (which is a service that collects and manages email databases) to every online business offer. It is a great idea to use Aweber to collect names and emails of potential customers so if your marketing does dry up, then you have a list of customers that you can approach directly to sell your services.

Being temporarily marked as a spammer on the forums has actually been really good for my business. It has forced me to look at other methods of marketing and create multiple legs for my chair. I did a brainstorming session and came up with around 20 different ways I could market my business. Some are harder than others, some cost more money than others, some are small scale and some are larger scale but it was a good exercise for me to know that if my traffic from one source suddenly dies I will have 19 or more other ways to get customers.

Here is a list of some of the ideas I had

1. Forum Marketing
This is currently the only leg of my marketing campaign. Well it is not the only leg…but it is the major leg. Basically it involves being active and helpful in forums and leaving a signature with a link back to your website. Unfortunately I have been TOO active, and have written some spammy posts I shouldn’t have, so this is on hold for a little while.

2. Business Cards
I have had 250 made up for a cost of around $40. I got these made up for networking opportunities that might pop up. When you meet someone new and they ask you what you do you can tell them, then if they are interested I can give them a business card so they can remember what my site is and what my business does.

3. Email Signatures
I send quite a few emails each day to a lot of different people. Instead of just having my name and email address at the bottom of each email I could have a signature linking to my site and a quick 1-2 line spiel about about what my site it. Not the best form of marketing, but could definately drive a few customers over the long term. Once the signature is set up you can just forget about it and go on with your normal emailing, so it doesn’t take any extra effort.

4. Networking at Conferences
I have been going to a few investing/business conferences with friends. So far I have only attended free conferences. But these have proven a great place to get out of my comfort zone and network with people and tell people what I do. I had a good response at a conference a couple of weeks ago, and with the use of business cards and other handouts I could possibly convert these networking opportunities into sales. I was debating on going to Steve McKnight’s mega conference in May. But it will cost $500 for the ticket and probably another $500 for flights and accommodation, so I would need to make a few sales to make up for it. At the moment I will keep my eye out for free conferences.

5. Magazine Publications
There are quite a few print magazines in my niche and I could place advertising in these magazines. I don’t know how effective this advertising would be, after all I never look at the ads when I flick through magazines. But if I could get an ad for cheap, then it might be a worthwhile investment…or at least something fun to try.

6. PPC Marketing
This is how I started microtesting my business idea. PPC can drive a lot of traffic fast and give you a lot of sales. My only problem is that my marketing budget is effectively $0, until I start making money, that I can’t afford to blow a lot of money on $1-$2 clicks. Because of this I have set up campaigns with a maximum Pay Per Click of 10 cents. With everyone else paying dollars this makes it hard for me to get much traffic. But the more I learn about PPC and try and test PPC the more effective I will get.

7. Holding a Property Investing Group
As I have been looking through the forums I have seen a lot of people holding investment groups (generally in other states….not NSW) and I had the idea of starting my own investment group. I could have a focus on investing in positive cash flow property and I could have guest speakers come every once and a while. It would be a great place to network and a great place for myself (and other’s) to pitch their businesses. I think I will do this further down the track when my network is bigger than it is now.

8. Email Marketing
Over the years I have built up an email list of over 1,500 people. I could use this list and email the details of my site to this list and the benefits of joining. Also, I send out weekly teaching emails to this list and I could simply include some banner ads/signatures in the emails linking to my site. The only problem is that my business is for Australians only at the moment and my list contains people from all over the world.

9. Article Marketing
I have had some success with article marketing when it came to building my email list. When I was actively writing articles and submitting them to directories such as Ezinearticles.com I was getting 5-10 signup per day (people signing up to join my free newsletter). Now that I have all but forgotten about my article marketing campaign I am still getting around 1-2 signups per day. If I could do this, but specialise for keywords in the field of my business and try to target Australians this could be a great source of new leads.

10. Trade Shows
Ever been to trade shows and seen people with stands advertising their business? Maybe I could set up a stall at conferences or property investing trade shows to market my business.

11. Newspapers
I could advertise in the the classifieds in the paper. I could try the local paper, or try a big paper like the Sunday Telegraph. With a strong call to action and reason to act I could get a few responses from this.

12. Yellow Pages
This one I am not sure about. It’s free to list your business with the yellow pages so this could be a good form of passive advertising. If I put a catchy ad in a relevant section I could get a few leads per year. Not the best form of advertising, but this is not about having one method that generates HEAPS of leads, but having lots of different sources of marketing. Each method is like a small stream that flows into one big river that makes your business profitable.

13. Run a Blog
As well as article marketing I could run a blog on my site. I don’t think I could be bothered to run a blog without using the articles for article marketing. It is just too much effort without enough return. The advantage of using the same articles for a blog is that you can engage readers, get some search engine traffic (though most will go to ezinearticles) and hopefully get some social media traffic from places like digg, facebook and twitter. Running a blog is a lot of effort, so whether or not I can be bothered will determine how much traffic I get from this.

14. Comment on Blogs
Instead of trying to create a successful blog of my own, I could just piggyback off other people’s successful blogs. I am sure there are some big blogs out there in my niche market that I can target and comment on. Each comment leaves a link back to my site, and thus traffic is created and leads can be captured. Another method that can create a small amount of traffic.

15. Write Guest Articles for Blogs, Magazines and Newspapers
Again this is another way to piggyback off someone else’s success. As an owner of a blog (this blog) and as a previous owner of a finance/make money online blog (which I updated daily), I know that a blogger is stoked when someone else offers to guest post on their blog. For a blogger this means free content and a day off work. For me as a guest poster it means free traffic for a small amount of effort. If I can not just guest post once, but create a relationship with the bloggers then this could lead to joint ventures down the track. Magazines would be harder to get articles into as they generally pay professionals full time to create their magazines, and newspapers would probably be even harder, but once you get in the door once I am sure the second time would be easier.

16. Letterbox Flyers
There are over 200,000 people in the shire and over 4 million people in Sydney, all of which can be accessed by doing giving out flyers into people’s letterboxes. Now with access to that many people I am sure I can generate a few leads by doing some letterbox drops and it could get me some exercise too. All I need to do is find a cost effective way of creating flyers that convert people into sales, and a way (apart from myself) of getting them delivered to everyone in Sydney for cheap.

17. Private Ads Online
Many websites (such as blog) run private ad space. I could pay to get ads on Australian websites. Usually this is expensive for the leads you can get, but maybe I can strike a deal with some of the blog owners. If I can get a really good deal then I will definately consider this.

18. Write a Book
This sounds like a bit of a random idea but a book can actually be an excellent marketing tool. When I was 18 I went to the library and I read a book called “The One Minute Millionaire” by Robert Allen. It was free to read, because it was from the library, so Robert Allen made no money from me reading that book. But in his book he gave links to his website, links to get free extra bonus material. I went and got the free bonus material and eventually ended up paying $6,000 for his course. Simply reading his book I was drawn to buy what he was offering. A book seems to be moving away from a way to make money, and instead is more a method of marketing a building credibility than anything else.

19. Affiliate Sales
This is probably the option I am considering the most. Getting affiliate to market my service for me. That way I don’t have to focus as much on marketing, and I only have to pay for it when a sale is made. Affiliates only make money once a sale is made. I could either offer a one off payment, or a monthly payment for as long as the customer stays with me. It is heavily on my mind and I think I will need to do this if I eventually want to grow my business exponentially.

20. Other People’s Email Lists
Just as I have an email list of 1,500 people, other people also have email lists. If I could find someone with an email list of people from Australia, and people who are interested in what I am offering then this could be a great way to get new customers. Basically you pay the owner of the list for them to send out an email on your behalf, or write an email recommending you. The bigger and more targeted the list, the more money you have to pay in order to market your product to your list. Just writing this I am now realising there is huge business potential just in creating targeted lists and selling advertising emails to businesses.

21. Joint Ventures
Instead of paying to market to other people’s email lists I can instead do a joint venture. I could let them market to my list if I can market to their, or I can offer them an affiliate commission on all the leads/sales that are made through their email list. Instead of opening up an affiliate program for every man and their dog to join, I could be specific and only offer affiliate commissions to people with a larger reach. People with large lists, or large blogs that can drive a lot of sales. That way I don’t have to manage the small timers and can focus more on the people who will create the most profit for me.

22. Search Engine Optimisation
I guess this really goes hand in hand with a Blog, Article Marking and PPC. In order to drive significant amounts of traffic and sales you need to use SEO. I will focus on specific terms to attract the right sort of people to my site, and hopefully this will create sales.

23. Use RyanMcLean.net To Market My Business
This website is already getting a decent amount of traffic. Not a lot (around 1,500 visitors per month), but I could use this traffic to create some traffic for my product.

24. Set Up a Twitter Account or a Facebook Account
Every man and his dog is using twitter these days. I could set up a twitter account to help build a following and market my product. Like a blog this takes ongoing effort, less so than a blog as it is only 130 characters, but it still takes daily input. You can set up automated accounts with twitter, to trawl the net and find relevant posts and tweet them for you…but twitter is starting to crack down on this, and I just don’t think it is my style. If I set up a blog I will definately set up a twitter account. Research has actually shown that twitter is an incredible way to drive traffic and to create sales.

25. Word of Mouth
Eventually as my company grows then my customer database will grow by word of mouth. If people like my service they will tell their friends who might try my service and tell their friends. This doesn’t happen right off the bat, but with time this is the ultimate form of marketing. Because people trust their friends and they WANT to buy what their friends are buying a recommending. Studies have been done that show a lot of people RELY of their friend recommendations before spending money.

All in all I say this to bring home the idea that I need to have multiple methods of marketing my business. Just relying on one method will not suffice, it is too risky and you can lose your business overnight if your one marketing method falls to the floor. By creating multiple methods of marketing you are ensuring that your business gets a steady flow of new customers and survives the test of time.

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