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Promoting your business and helping the community

Posted By: Aidan Crawford (69.199.38.187)
Date: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, at 9:14 p.m.

Ever wonder why so many companies sponsor community organizations? Itís certainly not because of their big hearts and fat wallets. The truth is having a presence in the community is good for the bottom line.

But if you are like most small websites, with little or no advertising budget to work with, you might think the only sponsorship you can manage is to have your logo placed on some obscure links page well away from where users are likely to visit. And if you are really lucky that same logo might make its way to a photocopied brochure.

Does this sound familiar? Beyond the cost, there are serious problems with accurately measuring this type of sponsorship. Indeed for most businesses, an investment like this is simply a waste of good money they donít have. As a marketing strategy itís loser when you go in to anything knowing, youíll get nothing in return.

But as a web entrepreneur, you can leverage your existing skills and knowledge to, not only help community organizations, but also drive traffic to your business.

Visit a few local sites that you believe may have many visitors and quality inbound links.

Amateur sports teams are a great place to start. They often enjoy high traffic and need a fresh look.

Ask yourself the following questions:
ē Is this site any good?
ē Is it updated often?
ē Would it take much to make it better?

If the answer to all these questions is ďno,Ē and you know you could quickly and easily make the site better, it may be time to make a new contact.

Sending a note to the existing webmaster is a mugs game. He or she will probably not appreciate hearing that the site they manage is sub-par. Instead put together a proposal and send it to the person in charge of marketing the team or, failing that, the president of the organization.

Offer to rebuild and transfer the hosting at no charge in exchange for the opportunity to advertise your services. Itís that simple.

The benefits to you are obvious. You are seen as a partner in the community and your web property becomes the primary advertiser on a site with high traffic and quality inbound links.

Seem like a lot of work? Well itís not, when you consider the hours you might spend posting to Craigslist, MySpace and other forums for about the same kind of return on your investment.

How many organizations in your community have a built in audience and a poor website that you can leverage in the same way? Iíll bet there are lots.

My experience

I recently started a relationship with the Mississauga Ringette Association and the Southern Regional Ringette Association to rebuild and host their websites for free.

Ringette is an international sport for girls and women similar to hockey. Participants can be as young as 5 and as old as fifty. Not a bad demographic when you consider that these girls and women increasingly use the web to find news, arena locations, schedules and league standings.

The existing sites were overly complicated and filled with dated information and unused features (discussion forums, picture galleries, etc.), so they were very easy to outshine.

The deal I struck with each organization was different, but the increase in traffic was immediate. In addition to building these sites, I agreed to donate an hour or two each week doing updates.

In return I was given exclusive advertising rights to the SRRA site and dedicated real estate on every page of the Mississauga site to promote my web properties.

The time I spend is nominal and the traffic to my other sites has exploded. Itís a sound strategy that may work for you.

ShortCircuitMedia.com

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  • Promoting your business and helping the community
    Aidan Crawford (69.199.38.187) -- Tuesday, 10 October 2006, at 9:14 p.m.

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