Now we are ready to get to the juicy stuff: Websites, Blogging, e-mail marketing, and social media. Many of these tools are free or very low cost.
Initially your website should just be a simple site, and contain basic information about your company, products, and services. Your website will validate your company. It is important to keep your costs low in the start-up phase. Keep in mind that you will likely want to make several changes within the first year, so do not spend too much time or money on the initial design. If your business and brand are established, it makes sense to put more resources into your website and to focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Many business owners steer clear of blogging because they feel they cannot make the time commitment. Blogging is an effective way to grow your business and build your brand. Start with a weekly post and recruit guest bloggers to ad value and take some of the pressure off.
E-mail Marketing still offeres tremendous return on investment. Some programs are even available for free. start with a monthly e-newsletter. Focus on great content - with teasers to drive traffic to your blog and your website.
Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Foursquare, Flicker, Digg, and the list goes on........ If you are new to social media, start with a personal profile and a business page on facebook, as well as a LinkedIn profile. Use these tools to build your business connections, improve relationships, and engage your customers. Let your network get to know you on a more personal level, while focusing on your business.
Keep in mind that there is a cost to using any of these tools. Everytime you blog, post, or e-mail you risk your "friends and followers" losing interest. Everyone is overloaded with information these days. Keep the content interesting and relevant --and you will keep your audience.
Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.