I have my business on the net, now what?
Out of the blue, apparently having seen a posting of mine on a discussion list, I received an email from a desperate new Net businessman. He had built his web site and, after 6 months, knowing that the Internet was for him, asked, "where to go now?".
How do you stand out of the crowd, enough to make your product work and without going broke doing so, with expensive and often useless advertising. VC's and Investors can stoke your growth's fires, but they only provide the capital, one must still find the most effective uses for it.
Below is the email and response, I hope this helps a few people, it is an account of what we do regularly, and it works.
Here is the email from Edward S. I have taken out anything that can directly identify him.
My name is Edward. I'm a co-owner of a start up internet company. I've read your article at http://www.smallbusinessloans.com/ and thought that maybe there's anything that I can learn from your experience at starting a new internet business. Our games website has been in business only 6 months so far. We don't have any employees yet and do everything
ourselves, me and my colleague. The biggest problem we've faced so far is promoting our site, letting people know about us. The advertisement costs money and our budget is very low at this time. We've been looking for some venture capitals/investors but have been unsuccessful so far. I would be interested to hear any suggestions or ideas from you.
My reply to Edward S.
This sounds very familiar to us, when we started. We tried out ALL the methods that were available three and a half years ago... but to try them today would be very dangerous. That is why we had to change our way of promotion. The main form of promotion that we use now, which is JUST as effective as what we used in the past and definitely Internet accepted, is a
little bit of extra work.
1. Write some articles, first, about your experiences so far, or lack of; or difficulties you are facing, etc. Anything that can give you a few interesting words that you can use. I write my own but we do use writers too, we use university students for most of our jobs, they are fresh, open minded, and very trainable... plus cheap! If they get good, then you employ them fully later.
2. Employ a writer part-time, 1 session of 4 hours a week, if you can; and a promoter for the same to be increased later. The promoter is actually the most important, if your articles are grammatical enough.
3. Get the promoter to go to Newsgroups (i.e. http://www.Dejanews.com and use the Power Search, to search on words that closely relate to your product i.e. games, online games, board games, etc) use the search to find people playing games or trading games etc, then talk to them.... suggest to them that you have a site that would suit their visit. They will come and check out who you are! Become the GURU, comment on their own games (NOT BAD COMMENTS always good!!!)
4. Go to Discussion groups, (i.e. http://www.lsoft.com/lists/listref.html a huge list of Discussion groups, which may have GAMES lists), and join in on the discussions, become
a GURU here too. DON'T answer everything though... be HELPFUL, and show all your links ... people are very curious and will click on to your links.
5. Ezines... make an Ezine and tell all the ABOVE about it. When you have an Ezine (which is easy to make, just a web page of links like ours http://www.gblast.com/mnews/mnews8.htm which we copy and paste into an mail and tidy abit, then send out using "BCC" only NOT "CC" or people will have your email address list), then you offer to show peoples articles, ads, softwares and programs etc.... this will result in a place for like-minded Net users to come to.
6. Once you have an Ezine use this... I put it together for my own use and now have hundreds of people using it http://www.gblast.com/mnews/promostuff.htm Ignore the articles they
are Marketing and promotion articles, you can use them if you wish of course, but further down the page there are links to Ezines, Ezine directories, article placement places, and article announce sites, etc.... I go through this regularly, and we employ promoters and writers to do the same.
7. One of our OWN products..... use this it is EXCELLENT (if I might say so myself!!) 2bpop - http://www.2bpop.com Use it to contact people and keep information as you browse the net. You can catalogue your links in a database list; set up template messages that can be changed just before they are sent; use it as a browser only, or use it as an ordering tool. There are many ways 2bpop is usefull but the most usefull is as a tool to search, browse, contact and catalogue new avenues of promotion.
8. Last one.... go to site review directories and put good reviews up about your particular products, then others will follow, BUT make sure you correct the bad reviews if you have any.... by searching the web using http://www.altavista.com this was the ex-CIA search engine and is the best for penetration.
I hope all this helps for now.... we haven't spent ANYTHING on advertising AT ALL... not a thing... and we live off the Internet, and our next product should see us into the next millennium... very nicely. Good luck... try the writing side it works!
Glopro Network - www.glopro.com
AllnetCities News - www.allnetcities.com
M6.net web hosting - www.m6.net
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