My Local Marketing Experience. I Made Money and Did Not Spend a Cent.
This is not about a hosting company but I hope you don't mind...
I recently started a small business in Melbourne Australia, which does design and marketing for small businesses / charities / sole traders / etc.
I am starting a major promotion soon which has taken time and money to get started. (More about that in another post - it has not happened yet)
As prep, I started looking for local blogs, sites etc about small businesses (based where I live) that I could either contribute articles to or comment on posts whatever. I found a local small business forum that seemed quite active.
Wow, just what I was looking for. I signed up, pimped by profile (always include a real pic IMHO) and started posting.
Just with 30 posts, I was recommended, talked about, quoted, argued with, agreed with, and typos were pointed out. All good stuff. All Free. I made my post very high quality, it really look a little time to think and research the posts, but they were all about trying to help people and be friendly.
With just 30 posts I now have 1 paying customer (local just what I wanted)A marketing cross promotion setting up with a local business I know offline, and one I met online - with me in the middle.
A incredible lead, one I was dreaming off popped up. This could lead to a huge amount of work and really help my brand new business take off!!. As it is still a lead I can't really take about it.
Facebook pages fan and two comments on my blog.
Not bad considering this is all free and only takes your time. As a professional you should be out answering peoples questions and trying to help them, that is my advice.
In the hosting niche, get local and help them. I don't care how, help them and even if they don't buy, your service will stand out from the crowd and they may recommend you or buy from you in the future. Go out of your way - Find their Facebook fan page and join, comment on their blog, point out a typo on her page, anything!
It's all about connecting with your customers. Remember - Barely anybody but you your friends and a few others have heard of your business. The big boys have had 10 years to build brand awareness. You can be the minnow on the whales back!
All this in the 'preparation' for the main marketing effort (You know - the one I will actually spend money on.
Oh, if any body would like to talk about content for their own page, I give me a yell...My own blog posts, comments, and forums posts are getting great CTR.
p.s I have been highly active on other forums, mainly sitepoint and <eh> other marketing forums. Please connect with me on Social Networking say you are from here and mention this codeword 'Haberdashery' (Haha -just kidding), and I will connect back.