Every Saturday morning millions of kids all across the country lay on the floor watching cartoons. Usually they are so glued to the TV programming that they don’t even realize they are also seeing hundreds of commercials for toys, hamburgers, other TV programs and whatever else can be pushed at them.
Once in a while they remember the ads because they feature a character or person they recognize or the ad is funny or cool or something. And these ads work. They sell a ton of product and services. And all day long people are watching TV programs and seeing powerful ads that are funny or interesting, and once in a while a 30-second ad is so powerful that it can actually make people cry.
So why doesn’t everybody run TV spots for their product?
Because it’s really expensive, that’s why. For the most part, television is out of reach for most companies. Even using Spotrunner you have to pay for the airtime and anything on network is going to run you over $1000 per spot.
So how can someone reach the public, as though they were on tv, but without the budget of television?
Print advertising is more expensive than ever, even with its value plummeting, and with direct mail you have to catch attention and do it multiple times before it matters. Billboards are mostly for long term branding and radio has a higher cost-per-thousand than anything.
But the Internet…
The Internet makes us all equals. We all have the same amount of space on these monitors to get our message across. It’s what we do with that space that matters.
Some websites (YouTube, Google, eBay) have programming that make them great, but even those began with little money. Craigslist began with almost nothing but it filled a niche and is now one of the most-visited sites on the net.
With a free account on wordpress a blogger can go from nobody to having thousands of daily visitors within a few months. Some of the top watched people on YouTube don’t spend any money on their videos but get thousands of people subscribing to them daily.
Teenagers with no money can battle industry giants- and win!
Many sites that rank high on the search engines are actually really crappy sites with very bad user-interfaces because Google and other search engines can’t tell good ones (with good content and design that is visually appealing and fun) from bad ones. Instead they look at meta-tagging, links and keywords and other technical things to decide which sites are the best. So you have these template sites and link-farms that are the same as thousands of others ranking at the top of many search terms simply because they used that same amount of moniter space differently than other people did.
Some bloggers who are otherwise just regular people getting no real attention become quasi-celebrities in months. Some people are looked at as authorities because of their blogs. And usually we actually judge people/companies by the look and feel of their website.
We have worked with dozens of clients who decided to work with us before they ever met us because they liked our website best. Hopefully they got some value from the site and learned about us enough to make that decision, but it goes to show the power of utilizing that same amount of monitor space. One of my websites cost me a few thousand dollars to build (have built- I’m no programmer) and with some on-line marketing has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for our team of agents. Of course we need to do the work and earn the business, but we got the leads from the site.
And I’m the same- when I’m looking for a product or service I go to the internet and I look around for a site that looks like it represents people or a company that I want to work with. A company or person’s website tells me a lot about them and the image they are projecting. If a website offers me no value, but just wants to collect my information I usually go elsewhere and have a bad impression of that company or person. But if a company site gives me a lot of information and I enjoy being on their website I feel better about that company and want to work with them.
My first website was built in 2000 and cost me under $1000. Within a few months it had climbed to the #1 position on Yahoo (the dominant search engine at the time) for its relevant keywords and I sold it for many times my investment. I utilized that space better than others had. Today it is (sadly) almost the exact same site that I built and sold six years ago and still ranks in the top 5 organic results on Yahoo for many of its keywords.
With a few hundred dollars anybody can create a website and do minimal promotion which can result in a phenomenal ROI. Millions of people have websites and the ones that get the most traffic are not always the ones that cost the most or represent the biggest companies. NO other medium will allow someone to get the exposure of the Internet with a couple hundred bucks, or sometimes without any money.
The Internet is the great equalizer in marketing, promotion, and communication. Utilizing it properly can mean the difference between being a leader in your field and struggling to make an impact.