Cheapest Trumpet

By Asfaq Tapia Published Date
01 - Sep - 2007
| Last Updated
01 - Sep - 2007
Cheapest Trumpet

Advertising your business used to be a costly affair; now, however, if you have a small business and want to advertise it without spending too much, there is a range of methods by which you can effectively reach your target audience-thanks to the Internet. Read on: we'll show you the best ways to build your brand on the Internet, with just a yearly kitty of a lakh!

Search Engine Marketing
Before you do anything, get your Web site up and running (domain names for your site can be bought for as little as Rs 500 a year). If it's pretty and professional-looking, so much the better. Your site can act as a brochure of services your business offers. These days, most new business is facilitated by searches conducted on search engines, predominantly Google. If you are a small business, it is hardly likely for customers to search for your company name-the industry you work in will likely be searched for. Hence search engine marketing.

It is important to create content with your target audience in mind in order to make their experience of visiting your site relevant and useful. It is also essential to have your Web site built by a professional who will optimise it so that your name appears among the top search results for a search query relating to your industry. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) comprises two methods: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing. We've mentioned SEO in The Future of Search (August 2005) and The First Page (November 2005). PPC refers to paid search results that appear at the top and in the right-hand columns on Google, Yahoo!, and Live Search when most searches are conducted.

The SEM strategy for your Web site could revolve around the following factors:

Time frame: Since SEO relies on the Web site first being indexed by the search engines, it takes longer to start working for you than does PPC. Search engine "spiders" need to index the changes to your site made by the SEO before you see improvement in your site ranking. If a business owner wants to see his site ranking higher in search results over a longer period, SEO is the way to go. However, if you need to market for a specific occasion, like selling fireworks during the Diwali season, and plan to advertise this in September, PPC marketing would work better-it can be implemented in a very short span of time. PPC means you bid for an ad spot and you pay the search engine each time someone clicks on your listing. You could end up paying Rs 1,500 a month (our estimate for this example) by "targeting" four keywords. (To explain the idea a little, you could target the keywords "[your city]", "fireworks", "crackers", and "discount". When any of these keywords are searched for, your ad will appear in the search engine).
Keywords being targeted: It is difficult for a business with a new Web site to rank high for very generic keywords like "laptop" or "car". Here you need to take a call on the geographical area you want to do business in, and then work on specific keywords, keeping budget in mind. Again, it is possible to target a specific city using PPC by using the city name as a keyword, which is not possible with SEO.

Age of the site: It is easier and quicker to rank an older Web site with more unique content pages compared to a brand new Web site. A call therefore needs to be taken for the marketing strategy keeping the age of the site in mind.

A search for "Search engine optimisation India" will bring up some of the top companies that provide that service. SEO is not cheap; it can take you anywhere between Rs 30 to 40 thousand to SEO your Web site for six months. Going with a PPC campaign depends on the number of keywords you target, and the duration of the campaign.

It is better to optimise a site using SEO, which will ensure a steady flow of traffic over a longer period of time, rather than go in for PPC"
Vishal Sampat,
CEO,Convonix Inc.                                                        

Corporate Blogging
According to Jupiter Research, a leading authority on the impact of the Internet and emerging consumer technologies on business, 35 per cent of large companies plan to start corporate blogs this year. The idea behind corporate blogging is to form a direct and lasting impression on your customer, and to build trust, which translates to more business.

A corporate blog should aim to highlight the issues, concerns, successes, and future strategies of the company, and can be used as an effective tool to target the right audience. It can also be used to announce new services or products. Once your blog is ready, you can advertise its presence by adding it to online wikis-these are freely modifiable, so you can include your blog. Sites like NewPR (,  BlogFlux ( tag/corporate), and Bloggeries ( allow you to index your blog in directories related to your field. The blog can then be used to quickly gather feedback about new and existing products and issues.

Creating a blog is relatively inexpensive. We'd suggest WordPress ('s free, and gives you detailed instructions on how to set up a blog. All you really have to do is host it on your Web space. However, maintaining a blog-as in keeping it up-to-date-is time-consuming. Remember a blog doesn't help much if your business is not directed towards the end user.

A negative with corporate blogging is that there could be negative comments and feedback on the blog. Still, companies like WATConsult (, RelevantNoise (, and Cymfony ( specialise in "Blog Monitoring and Crisis Management," and for about Rs 8,000, will advise you on the right course of action if and when things go sour.

It is very important to read the profile of those on social networks to make sure you are targeting your prospective audience"
Rajiv Dingra, Founder,


A fast-emerging medium for advertising your online presence are social networking sites. These sites allow users to create micro-communities amongst themselves based around user interests. This gives you the opportunity to advertise your products to the correct audience. So if you are a dog-food manufacturer, just go to a dog lover's community and post on the forums there! You can create excitement by offering discounts. You could mass e-mail the entire community, but that is risky. People just might not like unsolicited e-mail… it might seem like you're being too pushy.

Mobile Marketing
This medium is fast catching the fancy of many advertisers. Currently, all methods to advertise on mobile phones remain invasive, as in annoying SMSes and phone calls. There is, however, a fast-increasing list of Web sites that pay users to receive SMSes. Sites like Adginger ( and YouMint ( allow users to list their likes and preferences when they sign up, so you advertise to a select target audience.

One of the most compelling reasons to use this form of marketing is that the user has requested to receive ads of a specific nature. This is one of the most personal mediums to advertise on-people carry their mobiles with them. This therefore has the fastest time-to-market. There is also a small component of viral marketing involved: a user could forward your message to others who might be interested.

Costs vary from site to site. However, approximate costs per SMS go like this:
Number of SMSes                   Cost per SMS (Rs)
1 to 5,000                                       2.00
5,001 to 10,000                              1.75
10,001 to 25,000                            1.50
>25,000                                          Negotiable
Since these are the initial days of mobile advertising, the database of registered users is not very large; it's a good idea to advertise in the 1 to 5000 band.

Viral Marketing
This term is often defined as a technique that uses existing networks to produce increased brand awareness by word of mouth. PR companies manage portfolios of small businesses in the manner of press releases for new products or services, and profiling corporate stories for submission to news Web sites as well as magazines and newspapers. These can be handled for approximately Rs 15,000 per year.

This technique could involve, for example, the creation of eye-catching Web promotions in the form of Flash animations and videos that can be viewed at YouTube ( and similar sites. If you are in the consumer goods, entertainment, or foods industry, you could collaborate with sites like Hungama ( or Contests2Win ( to create promotional games around your products. With prizes as an incentive, you can engage in brand-building-customers might recommend interesting games to their friends, for example.

According to Sandeep Krishnamurthy, associate professor of marketing and e-commerce at the University of Washington, firms planning to implement viral marketing must understand its negative aspects:

Brand control: There is no control over the branding of your products. You can't predict who an individual will contact after seeing your message. There is no control over what may be added to your original message-and that can affect your product branding.

Uncharted growth: Since viral marketing depends so much on users to advertise your product, it might lead to unwanted growth paths for the brand. You might look at Hotmail, which grew to be one of the leading Web mail providers in India. Thanks to the Hotmail ad appended to the bottom of every outgoing mail, quite a few users out of India signed up for the service. This worked well for Hotmail, but it could be a negative for a small business if the advertising is not done correctly. If users perceive the "viral ad" negatively, a damage control exercise will take up more time and money than originally allocated.

Lack of measurement: You can't always track who viewed your promotions and what actions they took thereafter. In most cases, it is not possible to gauge if new business was generated due to your viral marketing efforts.

Spam Threats: Especially when there are incentives to promote a product to a friend, an unscrupulous individual may resort to spamming, which could ruin your reputation.

Having said that, there are several instances where viral marketing has been used to good effect. Take for example, India's largest gaming site, who recently partnered with St Xavier's College in Mumbai to host their college fest, Malhar. They become their "Official Internet Partner." They generated a buzz about their services by hosting games and events at the fest. More recently, Ogilvy, large PR company, handled a viral marketing campaign for Cadbury, which aimed at highlighting the idea that contamination in their chocolates was caused not during manufacture but in storage.

The PR industry has started creating a digital influence at a budget well below 1 lakh rupees"
Meenakshi Bhalla, President, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (India)

Business Directories
Registering your business under the myriad of B2B directories is one of the surest bets for getting new business. There are tons of Web sites, free and paid, that allow you to catalogue your business.

Advertising in prominent international B2B directories is important. Directories like allow you to buy a yearly listing for $199 (Rs 8,100). Closer to home, some of the most prominent B2B directories are IndiaMART (, IndianYellowPages (, Yahoo! Directories (, and EIndiaBusiness ( Several testimonials from these sites suggest that a lot of business can be generated from them. All these directories are free to list in.

Niche B2B directories are another option. For example, there are sites like MagicBricks (, on which you can put up information about all your properties on sale, lease, or rent, and RentACoder ( from where one can choose to take up programming projects.
Other Methods
There are quite a few other ways to promote your brand on the Internet; quite a few of which don't require you to spend a rupee.

Content Participation: These days, it is not only important to have a Web site, but also to participate in creating information. Sites like Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia .org) and Yahoo! Answers (http://in.answers. attract a lot of traffic and can be a great place to advertise. The idea is, you participate in building the content at these sites. Just having a small link to your site in the References section of Wikipedia-or among the answers at Yahoo! Answers-can drive traffic to your site. Another avenue is social news sites like Digg ( and Reddit ( which display content on their front page based on the number of times that content has been voted for by its users.

It is important to contribute meaningful content. Spam-posting your site's link all across such sites will cause your brand more harm than good. Post intelligently and mention your company only when required or under a relevant topic. Also take up membership at various Internet forums and add those links to your signature. Then, whenever you post in the forums, your signature with your company URL will appear below every post in that forum.

E-mail signatures: Add your Web site URL to your e-mail signature.

Adding links to Google Talk and your e-mail signature is the cheapest way to market yourself online"
Rajesh Lalwani, CEO,

Affiliate Marketing: This involves your placing ads and links on a Web site in exchange for having their links and ads on yours. Then there are high-traffic sites that unknowingly facilitate affiliate marketing, such as eBay ( These have a large number of users who advertise their Web sites within their store pages or at the end of every item up for sale.

Link Building: This is a grey area in SEO; the ranking of your Web site in a search result depends on how many URLs on the Internet link back to your site. To increase the number of links that link back, you can have many links on a page that cross-link to various sections of your own site. When a search engine crawler indexes your page, it will see a large number of links, thereby increasing your site's ranking in a search result.

For short-term advertising, it is best to go with PPC marketing coupled with a viral campaign in the form of discounts offered at social networking communities. You could also create a buzz around it by posting the information on Digg and Reddit. For recurring, long-term returns, however, it is best to SEO your site and participate in content-building activities on the Internet.

Naturally, not everything we've talked above will work for you. We do hope some of it does, though.

Asfaq TapiaAsfaq Tapia