How to properly Advertise a web based buisness?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DeathStar1, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    Here's something I don't have a clue as to how to go about [​IMG].
    I have a small web based server buisness. Mostly used as a hobby, but I would really like to expaned it into a real buisness, now that I've learned most of the ins and outs. Since we only have two customers, two friends of mine, I'm hoping they can help get the word out and draw in some customers.
    Since that dosn't seem to be working out well, here's the question. How does one advertise a web buisness properly? I'm very cautious about it, because I don't want it to be preceived as SPAM...
    Any advice will be appreciated [​IMG].
    Neil
     
  2. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    Start looking for advertising space at websites with related interests to the products you're selling.

    Also, depending on the product, its sometimes a good idea to give out free review samples.
     
  3. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    Sorry for taking a while to get back....
    Do advertising banners really work? 99.9% of the time, I just ignore them. I've spent money more than making it, so we can't afford to try stuff that dosn't work [​IMG].
    As for the latter part of the message...
    Hehe, It's a web hosting buisness, so I can't really give out free samples. As it is, I'm charging 20$'s a month for 500 MB's of space(Wich can be used as storage for people with no CDR Burners). Once I get more customers, that'll drop to $10's per month, and get even lower the more I draw in...
     
  4. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    Neil,

    Check out the prices for becoming a sponsored link on a few of the search engines. I believe Google charges by the search, so you may pay a few cents every time someone searches for web hosting, but that also means you are getting seen by a lot of people looking for services you provide.

    Also, make sure you have an EXCELLENT website that is professionally designed. Unless you are a serious graphic artist, don't rely on your own skills to design a site that is professional enough to attract customers. Your site should incite confidence in the visitors that they are dealing with a professional company, and not a person working out of their garage.

    DO NOT SEND E-MAIL ADVERTISEMENTS!
     
  5. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Yeah, good question. I am still working hard at trying to figure it out really.

    Banner adds do work to a certain extent I believe. However, they are becoming less effective from the stats I have read. People have gotten used to looking away.

    Also, regarding banner adds. They can be EXPENSIVE. Much more so than I would have ever thought. They can run into thousands a month. For instance, a popular DVD related site that many here visit once in a while charges $2,500 for a GIVEAWAY. Yes, you have to pay $2,500 just to give away one of your products to their members. Not too mention the $3000/month banner add price.

    Maybe you can contact the owners of a few of the smaller sites that educate browsers about services such as yours. Maybe it will be within your budget. Most likely they will still be in the $500/month range though. I would have never thought it, but it is true

    Jason gave some good advice. Deffinately look into that. Also, it costs $300 for businesses to become registered with Yahoo now. That can be a good idea. Also, you can look into banner exchange programs, but then you have to hav a banner on your site which does not look professional.

    Go ahead and register yourself with the search engines and make sure your site is optimized for those engines making sure your Meta tags and page copy will yield a favorable search for the keywords that are important for your business. Do this NOW rather than later. Even if you are not wanting to go big for the next few months, you gotta do it now. It can take up to four months for the larger search engines to get you posted. Hell, I still have not been registered with some of them after multiple attempts for a year now.

    If you email someone that has not asked you to email them something, many will perceive it as spam and hate you for it. There is a horrible stigma now and you have to be careful. Unfortunately, the stats say it is a lucrative way of advertising your business. MANY people buy what they are sent via email.

    It is a fine line that I have not yet crossed for fear of pissing people off - the last thing any business owner wants to do to their customer base. There are so many businesses now that email without having an opt-out feature that it is making customers take offense to a "legitimate" one-time email burst.

    Anyway, that is my take.

    C. Ryan
     
  6. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    >>Also, make sure you have an EXCELLENT website that is professionally designed. Unless you are a serious graphic artist, don't rely on your own skills to design a site that is professional enough to attract customers. Your site should incite confidence in the visitors that they are dealing with a professional company, and not a person working out of their garage. >>>
    The website. That is currently under construction. Right now, I'm trying different design schemes to see if I can find out something that I like. If not, I've got someone waiting in the wings who is just itching to give it a proffesional design. I'd much rather do things myself, but if that dosn't work, at least we have a backup option.
    http://www.entservers.com is the site. If you saw that site, would you try out the services? Keep in mind, it's no where near complete. I'm just toying around with a menu design before I go and rework the layout. I'm also trying to give it a more personal feel than most buisness sites tend to have.
    As far as working out of a garage, heh. We may not be out of a garage, but where not much more advanced. This company is so small, it's just me and a computer. Yes, it's a proffesional web based server bought off of Dell, and the server itself is directly connected to a T1 line at the online companies offices, but that's about it. We don't make enough yet to hire anyone.
    As it stands now, we only have two customers. That's not much to run a buisness on, but at least they seem happy with what they are getting, so that's good enough for me [​IMG].
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I keep thinking that your original plan was best: focus your efforts on generating business locally, via word-of-mouth, through professional contacts, and friends.
    As for "free samples" - you can do that, by giving away e.g. one month free trial period, or a "Baker's Dozen Pricing" (sign up for 12 months service, get a month free).
    I'd also make sure you are "known" by the various search engines, especially Google. When I was looking for a host for my personal (hobby) site, I did a search on Google, and started comparing prices and services. The site I use (http://servercentral.net) had a very simple website (recently revamped), and a very cheap, full-serviced, basic plan.
    Good luck!
     

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