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Marketing Your Internet Business

A while back, Wendy Piersall, our Sparkplug CEO, wrote an amazingly popular post, Top 10 Internet Home Business Ideas You Can Start and Run in Your Underwear. Starting an internet business is one thing, but marketing it is a whole other animal. So I decided I’d piggyback Wendy’s post with some tips for marketing and promoting each type of internet home business.

1. Affiliate Marketing. As per Wendy’s definition, this is when you “Promote other company’s products and services on your website. When a sale is made, you get a commission.

  • Marketing Tip: Social networking. Make a name for yourself in your niche (and yes, have a niche as far as the products you sell as an affiliate), and establish yourself as an expert via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Link to your affiliate sites there without being obtrusive.
    • Also establish a strong contact list of people who will regularly buy from you. Develop an email campaign that will provide useful resources in addition to your affiliate products.

2. Blogging. You’re reading this blog, so I’m going to assume you know what a blog is. You should write at least 3 times a week (although Technorati says 10 times a day brings great success. I’ll just trust them on that)

  • Marketing Tip: I suggest a diverse approach:
    • Link to blog on your primary website, if you have one.
    • Create social networking accounts (see above). The key is developing conversations that will make people want to visit your blog to get more of your awesome advice.
    • Add link in your emails (in signature, in newsletters).
    • Add link on your business card.
    • Talk to people about your blog.
    • Get listed on blog networks.
    • Comment on other related blogs; include link in signature.

3. Ebay and Auction Selling. Wendy says this is, “Selling or reselling products via an online marketplace like Ebay, Amazon Auctions, or Craigslist. You can sell used goods, buy goods wholesale, or use a drop-shipping service.”

  • Marketing Tip: Within a given auction, link to your other products to increase sales amounts.
    • Include link to auctions in email signature.
    • Participate in forums and blog comments in industry you’re selling items for. Include link.
    • Develop contacts and send email notices when new products are selling.
    • Consider Google AdWords or other internet advertising to drive traffic to your auction.

4. Ecommerce. The difference between ecommerce and auctions is that you’re selling products on your website and getting all the money rather than sharing it.

  • Marketing Tip: I suggest a lot of the tips from the Ebay one as well as:
    • SEO. Make sure your site has descriptions and keywords behind the scenes and in the copy that will help search engines direct people there.
    • Get listed. Find directories for your product and get your link there.
    • Talk to bloggers. Ask for product or website reviews from bloggers in your industry. When they link to you, traffic will follow.

5. Arts and Crafts. I wish I had skills in this

  • Marketing Tip: Take photos of your handiwork and post on Flickr. Then network with other users, just like you would on Facebook. Make sure to include a link to your website where people can buy.
    • Ask bloggers to review the products or give them away in a contest.
    • Develop a blog to keep people that are interested in your crafts engaged. Link to selling site.

6. Internet Research. What? They pay for this? I do this for free every day!

  • Marketing Tip: list your services on Craigslist with an introductory price. Once the client is hooked, raise your rates!
    • Bid on jobs on Guru and Elance.
    • Get contacts at local law offices, etc. and call them offering your services.
    • Offer monthly specials via email to contacts with discounts on stuff you’ve already researched (if you’ve already developed a database of Florida lawyers, sell this over and over to whoever wants it for cheap!)

7. Freelance Services. Wendy says, “Providing professional services such as copywriting, design, photography, illustration, and programming usually billed on an hourly rate.”

  • Marketing Tip: first read Freelance Parent for great advice.
    • Become a Guru Vendor to increase jobs you’re awarded.
    • Post services on Craigslist in multiple cities.
    • Network locally and spread the word.
    • Develop AdWords ad for services.

8. Recruiting. It’s hard to stand out as a recruiter. It’s really all about relationships.

  • Marketing Tip: network online and locally. Develop relationships with people. Take them to lunch. Show your worth.
    • Write a blog or articles that show you as an expert. Include case studies of your successes.

9. Consulting. This is what I do, so I have a lot to say.

  • Marketing Tip: this, too, is about relationships. People hire my marketing firm because I’m the person they know in marketing.
    • Build those relationships in Facebook, Twitter, and local networking organizations.
    • Establish yourself as the expert (or in my case the Eggspert) everywhere.
    • Write books or ebooks.
    • Start a blog or write articles for online.
    • Get in the news.
    • Make sure you show up in search engine results.
    • Create an email campaign to stay in touch.
    • Ask for referrals from clients.
    • Attend conferences.

10. Virtual Assistant. Again, build relationships.

  • Marketing Tip: Post services on Craigslist.
    • Join VA associations. Affiliate with the well-known ones.
    • Educate people who don’t know the benefits of a VA.
    • Write a blog.
    • Post ad in local paper or on bulletin board announcing your services.
    • Post ad on AdWords.

Whew! What a list! And this is by no means exhaustive. Just a few tips to get you started. Want more ideas? Email me at susan at

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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