Most small green businesses need to operate on a tight budget and use their time as efficiently as possible. After all, those energy efficient light bulbs and eco-friendly sneakers won’t sell themselves!
Good news – we’ve got a great list of web marketing tools will help any green entrepreneur quickly set up shop on the Internet, starting with your logo and your website. Here’s how you do it:
Crowdsource Great, Professional Graphic Design on a Budget
In the Web 1.0 days, getting a professional logo and custom web design easily cost between $2,000-$5,000. Luckily for many small green start-ups, two Web 2.0 companies have now made it possible for companies to affordably crowdsource great design ideas from graphic designers all over the world through online design contests:
If you’re in the market for a new green logo, are looking for a fresh website design for your green blog, or want to have some business cards or brochures designed for your green business, crowdSPRING is a great option.
You set your budget and your deadline, define your green branding goals and design specifications. You can share examples of designs you like and indicate what you don’t want. After you post your project, your job goes out to Crowdspring’s worldwide community of thousands of designers (67,000+ at time of writing). Interested designers enter your design contest and evolve their designs based on your feedback. Typically, the more feedback you provide, the better results you will get. On average, it takes 2-3 weeks to arrive at a quality, winning design. If you are not thrilled with the results, Crowdspring offers a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee.
Working much the same way as crowdSPRING, 99designs is another web design tool that you can use to crowdsource great designs for almost anything. Some differences between the two design contest platforms are worth noting.
With crowdSPRING, you choose between Economy, Standard, and Pro projects and pay an up-front, non-refundable fee between $39 and $199. You also deposit the funds for the project before it goes live. When you award the project and pay the fees, they also add a 15% fee to the listing (they have a minimum award amount for each category). They offer Facebook and Twitter integration, and they also provide a custom contract if you so desire. 99designs has many similarities and a few differences. Like crowdSPRING, there are minimum rates per project (based on the type of project), and they charge a 15% fee when the prize is offered. However, their listing fee is $39 regardless of project type and you aren’t required to deposit the funds before the project goes live. 99designs also offers a 100% money-back guarantee within 60 days of payment.
Get Low-Cost Copywriting from Textbroker
While your design is being developed, now is a great time to get your copywriting done. Some of you won’t be interested in spending time word-smithing the company slogan, website content, unique blog posts, and brochure text. If you’re one of these people, then look to something like Textbroker, a low-cost source for all manner of green content development. Depending on your needs, Texbroker provides different levels of content rated by stars, from barely legible content from authors who are still learning English (2 stars) to high quality copy written by native English speaking college graduates and professional writers (5 stars). Just choose a category for your assignment, choose a budget, set a deadline, determine article word count, and explain your content requirements. All articles are proofread by Textbroker’s editorial staff, checked for copyright infringements, and then put in your client account where you review the articles, and then accept, refuse, or ask for revisions. It’s a great way to generate a lot of content, fast.
Use WordPress to Launch Your Green Business Website or Blog for Free
Nowadays, having a blog is considered to be an indispensable part of any business’s online marketing strategy. And one of the simplest and least expensive ways to get that done is to use WordPress, an open-source content management system. All you need is web hosting, and you can download & install WordPress for free. While WordPress is best known as free blogging software, you can use it just as easily to power a more traditional business website, if you don’t want to commit to blogging. Browse the vast repository of free WordPress themes, purchase an inexpensive premium theme, or upload your custom theme. If you’re looking for green blog post ideas or thoughts on how to create a green blog design, we’ve got those answers, too.
Start Analyzing Your Website Traffic Immediately with Google Analytics
Want to know how much traffic your organic granola bar pages receive, and how much of that traffic converts into sales? Interested in finding out which search engine keywords send the most traffic for to your reusable water bottle website? Google Analytics is a free website analytics tool that will help you understand your website traffic.
Using this simple tool, you can see demographics about your visitors, segment them into various subsets, create custom reports, and watch how they move throughout your website. Google Analytics can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. Though there are other analytics tools available for a fee, this one provides remarkably complex reporting and statistics – more than most small green businesses will need – for no cost at all.
With these 5 web marketing tools, small green business owners can quickly establish a brand identity, launch a website and or blog, get well-written, inexpensive content and start monitoring website traffic and conversions, all within a typical startup budget.
Do you have any favorite web marketing tools we haven’t covered? Please share with us the web marketing tools that are vital to your green business in your comments. Thanks for reading!
Main Image Via Flickr – Ed Yourdon