How to Market your Business for Free

Launching and promoting your business is cheaper than you think – often times you can do it for free. ReachMail, the home of free email marketing, offers these tips on cost-free ways to build a business.

Design your website for free. Jimdo.com has free web design templates, no technical expertise required. You can also build an online store as well. Webs.com also offers a similar package and also includes a mobile version as well. Add to your new website a signup page to allow new prospects to sign up for your email list.

Make sure to set up of course free company facebook and twitter accounts.

For twitter marketing, follow influential twitter accounts. If you have a great promo or idea consider direct messaging to them – they may retweet your tweet.

Post a funny video of a day in your office or maybe a sketch that includes a customer story. Add some humor but also include information about your services. Post it you YouTube.

Send out free press releases. Newsvine.com – as well as prlog.com allow you generate publicity and start getting your website linked on google

For a local brick and mortar business contact your local city hall. Cities and towns often include new businesses in their newsletter and/or websites. Contact the mayor and invite her or him to preside at your ribbon cutting for your grand opening..

Get free business contacts including phone numbers using local library card. Local library allows you to access Refrerence USA. You can search by business type, sales volume and geographic area and then you can download the results.

Pay only when you are paid. Consider paying commissions – popular sites bring traffic to your site and you pay them only when you complete a sale. Exampes include amazon.com and commissionjunction.com

A local twist on this idea is to provide a “charity night” especially good for restaurants where you pay a proceed of the sales to the charity. Again – you only pay if you get paid.

Make full use of all the google tools. Claim your Google Local Business listing, add google webmaster tools to your website to get insight and visibility to your site and set up a free Google+ site – google’s social media site.

Finally, don’t forget to setup a free for life email marketing account with ReachMail.  You can send up to 15,000 emails per month for life according to the company. They provide free templates and advanced tools like social media sharing and autoresponders as well. The paid account, $10 per month, includes a free custom template designed to echo the look and feel of your brand.

Reachmail and Google Analytics

There’s no denying that Google Analytics is popular. In fact, it’s the most widely used site traffic analysis software. So, it’s no surprise that we field a lot of queries about ways to combine email marketing and Google Analytics (GA).

While we’re still working on complete GA integration with our existing reporting tools, you’ll be happy to hear there are some things you can do now to put GA to work on your email campaigns. Adding GA tracking to your campaigns can give you great insight on what subscribers do after they’ve clicked on a campaign link and landed on your site. Combined with GA Goals, you’ll get a great perspective on just how effective your campaigns can be.

Getting started is simple in most cases, all you need is a GA account. Keep in mind that any page you want to track will need to include the analytics code, so if your email campaign landing pages don’t already include that code, add it before you start sending optimized traffic there.

Next, you’ll need to modify links in your mailing to include GA tracking codes. From here on, we’ll use a phony example to illustrate how your links change. Our dummy site is a1widgets.com, and this particular campaign is designed to drive traffic to /new_widget.html, a landing page with order form for the latest widget.

Normally, links in the campaign would look like http://a1widgets.com/new_widget.html. However, we’re going to add a few GA tracking codes, utm_campaign, utm_source, and utm_medium. There are other tracking codes available, but these three are sufficient to get started.

utm_campaign identifies the marketing campaign that this mailing is a part of. If it’s part of a larger strategy you may wish to align this value with that. In this example though, we’re going to say that the campaign is the monthly email ad, therefore utm_campaign=MonthlyEmailAd.

utm_medium describes how the message got to the site visitor. Simply using Email is usually enough. So utm_medium=Email.

utm_source is where things get interesting. Historically, “source” has always described “who” so this is a great place to push in any demographic information you have in your list, e.g. age, gender, geographic location. If you don’t have that information available to you (and why not?) it should suffice to use a general term. We’ll use ActiveCustomers, so we get utm_source=ActiveCustomers.

These three parameters need to be tacked on to our landing page URL as a query string. If you’re not familiar with query strings, they’re very simple, just extra information that you can add to a URL in the following format: ?parameter=value&parameter=value etc., etc. To keep things simple, don’t use spaces or special characters in your values unless you’re comfortable with URL encoding.

Ultimately, we get this as our new URL:
http://a1widgets.com/new_widget.html?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ActiveCustomers&utm_campaign=MonthlyEmailAd

And that’s that. At this point, assuming that you’ve got the GA tracking code in your landing page, you’re ready to send. Remember that GA statistics will be delayed about 24 hours.

Once you do start to see some statistics roll in, you’ll be pleased at the insight into your campaigns. The image blow is a sample traffic report indicating visits by campaign and source. Remember in our example, campaign identified the specific marketing effort and the source indicated the source of the subscribers.

Traffic report

Here we have goal conversions by source and medium.

GoalCompletions

Soon we’ll be integrating this data directly with our standard reporting as well as providing automatic campaign tagging but until them don’t hesitate to get started applying GA tracking to your mailings. If you have any questions, contact Reachmail support at support@reachmail.com and keep an eye on the blog for more advanced examples.

Yes you CAN send attachments with ReachMail

Unlike other ESPs, ReachMail allows you to send attachments with your marketing emails. We realize that our clients know best how to market to their recipients and we try to give them the freedom to do so. If you’ve ever needed to send Outlook events to your recipients, for instance, you may have been stopped from doing so at other ESPs. Well not at ReachMail. You can attach a file up to 150k in size with the click of a button. Other ESPs don’t even give you the option.

As noted above, while we do provide the ability to attach files to your email campaigns, we do limit the size of attachments for good reason. Some mail servers will block any messages with attachments. And while not all mail servers block all messages with attachments, many will still block attachments over 2MB because of the time it takes to process those files.

That’s why we’ve provided an alternative method for delivering files to your recipients. If you are using images in your email, you can upload them to your ReachMail image library and source them from our stored location. If you instead want to send a PDF file, you can upload that to our contents and assets area. We’ll host the document for you, and you can email your recipients a link to download it at their convenience.

A major advantage of storing and sending links to your documents instead of attaching them, is that we can then provide tracking information on who downloaded your file and when: giving you a detailed picture of the interest your email is generating. With an attachment, this is simply not possible.

While in some cases, attaching small files will be necessary for your marketing strategy, not attaching files to your mailing allows us to deliver your messages quicker and with a greater inbox rate. Giving your recipients the choice to download your files from our location is the safest and most effective way to deliver files to your recipients without having to deal with the pitfalls of sending attachments.