5 Ideas for Free Website Promotion

5 Ideas for Free Website Promotion

In a world where getting and keeping visitor’s attention is money in your bank, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep people where you need them. On your site. You’re always up against big companies with a their big budgets, you’re also competing with many social media sites and a multitude of other distractions, such as other sites in the same niche for the attention of your readers.

But that doesn’t mean your advertising and marketing efforts have to cost a pilot’s pay-packet or that you have to be a drama queen in order to stand out from the wannabes and also rans. Here are five novel and inexpensive ways for free website promotion to make your business seen in an increasingly digital world:

1. Get an endorsement by a local celebrity.
Many business owners have the idea of having their product or service spoken of by a global celebrity, preferably on a popular chat show. But instead of getting the attention of a superstar to support your business (and the bad publicity that may come with a public fall from grace), try seeking out a local celebrity instead. One who has recently caught the public eye in a smaller way. ideal for your free website promotion efforts.

Who exactly are these local celebrities? They are people your local paper is writing about — perhaps an “unsung hero” such as someone who got onto the televised part of a talent show, gained an award somewhere or a resident who’s doing something newsworthy for their neighbours. Since they’re local to you, these people should be reasonably easy to track down and then contact by phone or e-mail. Let them know you’d like to send them a gift, namely your product or service.

The only catches: It needs to be something they would like to associate themselves with, which could be tricky in some niches. Also, you’d like to follow up with them after a few days to get their honest opinions. Their responses can make for useful blog or marketing content. It is also worth contacting the news outlet that originally put them in the spotlight to let them know you have the support of their new-found celebrity

2. Create a group on LinkedIn.
A LinkedIn group free to create and it can enable you to offer your professional associates a highly useful information resource and all the while driving extra visiting traffic to your site which should increase your sales. Whatever you do though, don’t use the group to hard sell to anyone. This is a bit more subtle method of free website promotion.

It will take some time and no little amount of effort to get a group going properly, but the aim here should be to help provide ideas and resources and to start discussions on various topics that can be of benefit your tribe. Groups should also be a place for all your members to network with other each other online. To this end you need open discussions to take place, so keep asking what others think.

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Product Creation on the Cheap–Part Two

Let’s get out there and create us some products. We have the ideas. We’re sure there’s a market. What we don’t have is a budget. So where do we start?

In the previous article I covered ebook and audio creation. In this article I’ll say something about video production.

Making video products seems to be all the rage. With many hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it seems to be the way to go for putting your message over to those who want to hear it. <rant start> In my personal opinion, I think it’s being over done, especially on sales pages where we’re expected to watch a 2 hour pitch for a $27 product. If you can’t tell me in 5 minutes then you’re hyping it up. <rant end>

There are many different types of video product, almost all of which you’ll have seen somewhere or another.

By far the easiest to produce is the PowerPoint slide show type. Rather than letting PowerPoint (or the free equivalents from Libre Office, Open Office, Kingston Office, etc.) control the flow, export each slide as a jpg image and join them together in video maker type program. Microsoft produces a free one for Windows called Windows Movie Maker and again, there are free equivalents for Linux and Mac. If the slides say everything you need then just put in some background music (make sure it’s royalty free or license agreed). Usually though you will need some voice over to explain a bit more depth. As for audio, make yourself up some guidance notes for reference and just speak freely. Just reading the slides is pointless and makes your video quite dull.

Related to the slideshow video is the screen capture video. Camtasia is the usual weapon of choice here but it costs big bucks. However, Cam Studio is free and does a great job. There are one or two other similar programs but these have limits on time or quality. Make sure you have as much set up beforehand as possible. If you’re doing web pages either have them  ready up as tabs or at least as shortcuts. Nothing shows more lack of preparation than someone saying “I’ll just cut the video here while this page loads” and then apologising for the missing 2 minutes of their life. The more professional you appear, the more you’ll be accepted as a professional marketer.

The next type of video is the talking head type using either a web cam whilst sat at your PC or laptop, using the camera built in to your mobile phone or tablet or a home video camera. The latter methods are best done using a tripod to hold the phone or camera steady. Incidentally, there are autocue type apps available for iPad and Android devices that allow you to put your notes in and have them scroll past at a controllable rate, which may be far more convenient than scrabbling for bits of paper. Whatever cue method you’re using, try to have it set up at eye height beside the camera lens so that it looks like you’re looking straight at the camera.

A popular type of video is one that probably requires external assistance. There are websites now that allow you to feed in a script and control some animations to speak it. I haven’t hunted any down yet, but a search on YouTube will show you what I mean. Some of them can be quite entertaining. Look up ‘Sounds Like A Pyramid Scheme’ to see what I mean. Related to this are the animated doodle type which can work very well. However, at this point we are walking into the ‘spending money’ territory. Something I’m trying to help you avoid.

The final type of video I’m going to mention today is the discussion type, where two or more people discuss a product or one is interviewing the other. You will certainly need a microphone or two as the camera would need to be further away to capture both people. You are definitely getting into professional territory here as you could always use multiple cameras and turn it all into a major production. It will look really great if you do it right, and you’re several steps up from the ‘recorded over Skype’ audio interview.

I can certainly recommend a site called Perfect Video Pro. It’s a WSO so it does cost money (I got in as a reviewer) but it’s been done by a professional director / producer and tells you all you need to know about making your own ‘real people’ videos.

So there you go. Plenty of ways to make products without spending a great deal of money. As always when you don’t spend money, you do put in more of your own time or you trade your time and pay someone else to do the tricky bits.

Once you have a raw product, it can always be restructured and reused. An ebook can be read out loud to become an audio. A video can be transcribed to an ebook, or the visual part stripped off to create an audio. An audio can be layered in with a slideshow to make a video. Although many people will try to teach you a preference, which end you start from and where you go with it is up to you.

Do you have any free tools worth a mention? Does the idea of product creation strike fear into you? Comment below and see where it takes us all. I read the comments and comment back where appropriate. All links are now ‘do-follow’, thanks to a new plugin I’ve just obtained so they’re even more value to you. Spammy links and comments though won’t make it through screening, so don’t bother trying! Join in. It’s all good fun.

Product Creation on the Cheap – Part One

Let’s get out there and create us some products. We have the ideas. We’re sure there’s a market. What we don’t have is a budget. So where do we start?

The first thought is what type of product? This boils down to a choice of 3 basically, although there are sub-divisions in each – ebooks, audio and video. Let’s examine each of these, starting with the easiest:-

Ebooks: It pretty much doesn’t matter what operating system you have or how old your computer is, it will be able to cope with the written word. Anything you can get your writing into an electronic format will do, including iPads and Android tablets. Some word processing software is more sophisticated but so long as you can (at some stage) underline, bold, italic, headline and paragraph neatly you’re off to a head start. There are even some free Office suites for all platforms and most of them have the advantage of being able to take our words to the protected and easily readable stage… the PDF. If your word processor doesn’t have an export to pdf capability, search around the web for a pdf printer or pdf driver. There’s plenty available for free for Windows and Linux. I expect there is for Mac too. Having your document as a PDF makes it harder for other people who might consider editing it and claiming it as their own.

Depending on your niche, your idea and the intention for the ebook, it could be as short as 500 words (a single page) and still have value to a reader, so it’s down to the quality of the content and the writing, not just the volume. Some people can say nothing in 10,000 words, and probably give a lot of refunds too! A cover is not essential, especially on a freebie, although I’ve seen a number of WSOs where the cover is little more than a title page. It does make the production look a bit more professional though. Whether you go down the graphics route and add a cover or get one made up for you, is down to your personal preference. There are free sites that will make up covers for you, as will Amazon, if you make an attempt to publish your work that way too. It doesn’t have to stay published on Amazon once your cover is made up, either! Make up your kindle book (or CreateSpace for a paperback version), download the cover graphics, then take it off of Amazon.

In fact, steal a march on your rivals. Use CreateSpace to make up a paperback version of your book. They work out quite cheap to buy for yourself. Offer a real book to your customers. Not so much in the IM niche, but in certain other niches a ‘real’ book will be snapped up quite readily! CreateSpace is ‘print on demand’ so you don’t need to hold any stock (and you set the price too). Since it’s owned by Amazon, it’s free to use and not every Kindle author knows or considers it as something to be done. Can’t think why not though. It’s free to the author, gives them a real product that can be sold at a premium (print has more kudos than electronic versions) and is another sales channel. Print books can get into libraries and could be seen as valuable give-aways or back of room sales at speeches and shows, if that’s your thing.

Audio is the next product creation. Again this can all be done for free and still produce a quality product. Again, any modern laptop has a built in microphone and recording capability as do tablets and mobile phones. If you can avoid being somewhere too noisy, then the quality will be more than acceptable for most markets. Any editing that needs to be done can be completed with a free software tool call Audacity which is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. There will be free or cheap apps for the different tablets types as well.

To make your audio work, speak freely rather than script it word-for-word. Jot down some outline notes to keep you on track. Speak reasonably slowly and clearly although there’s no need to drag every word and sentence out to a painful to listen to level. Listen to the playback and see if you can understand yourself. If you can’t then no one else will either. Unless you are a professional speaker (and not many of us are), there will be a certain amount of ‘um’, ‘err’ and ‘ah’ which will be forgiven if your content is good.

Rather than try to create a 20 to 30 minute speech all in one go, see if you can break it down into 3 to 5 minute chunks, then use Audacity to join them together, perhaps using some music if you can’t make the join clean. Making short chunks also means if one area is too bad for vocal trips or bad audio, it can easily be re-recorded and replaced.

This is turning out longer than I thought, so I’ll end it here and call it part one. Part two will follow shortly.