Andrew Milligan was stuck. He had spent $60,000 on trade-show exhibitions and magazine advertising for the bean-bag chairs made by his company, Los Angeles-based Sumo Lounge International, and sales were still languishing at a couple of bean bags a day.
So Mr. Milligan, like many small businesses looking to gain exposure and boost sales, turned to the blogosphere. He sent an email to the popular technology blog Engadget.com, asking the editors to review his product. While they declined that request, they agreed to trade three months of advertising on their site for 20 Sumo bean bags to outfit their new office.
Reaching out to bloggers and social-media sites can help small companies build buzz even when marketing budgets are small. These blogs and books can get you started, says Scott Monty, relationship director in Boston at Crayon, a marketing company.
Within 48 hours of the Sumo ad's appearance on Engadget.com, an editor from Playboy magazine clicked on the ad and liked what he saw. He featured the bean bags in the magazine, and within about a week, Sumo had sold 500 bean bags.
Most of the time the results will not be so dramatic. But the article makes an excellent point that blogs offer an economical way to build an online presence. Blogs have the added benefit of being search engine friendly, so a nice mention on even a small blog, will show up in search results.