Shel Horowitz is a profitability expert for green/socially conscious businesses, the author of eight books including the best-selling Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, and can often be found analyzing how to get the most out of your marketing dollar on He recently spoke with us about what works in marketing, especially online.

Hey, Shel! So tell us, what do you mean by “frugal marketing”? It’s an interesting name for a business!

FrugalMarketing was the first site I put up that was just about marketing. It’s the idea that there are plenty of ways to get the word out besides spending a fortune on advertising – and many of the best cost little or no money, just time. is an example of a site set up just to promote a book – and even that one is rich in content.

What are some common misconceptions about marketing you see online?

More and more people seem to think that spam, scams, article spinning, link farming, black-hat SEO and other deceptive practices are the way to go – I have to wonder what planet they’re on. They think they can get away with putting up a static brochure. Or they think they can get by with just social media and no website of their own. “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t work.

What should every business know about marketing?

It’s about adding value, creating relationships, being there for others. If done smartly, these lead to income, community and positive reputation, which in turn leads to referrals, JV partnerships, media coverage and more.

Where does social media fit in a marketing strategy?

It’s a great way to interact directly with fans, get to influencers who are walled off in other channels – and get people spreading your message to their networks. But they won’t spread raw commercial messages; they will spread useful information, engaged dialogue, funny, beautiful, enraging, etc.

One very overlooked part of social media is discussion groups, which I love because they put you in front of the same group of people, focused on YOUR topic, over and over again. I like LinkedIn and Yahoo discussion groups. I don’t like Facebook’s. And of course, you need to monitor what others say about you on social media and respond quickly and appropriately.

What should a website do for a business?

  • Represent the business to the world
  • Be a resource for anyone researching the company
  • Capture names and emails for follow-up contact
  • Provide opportunities for engagement
  • Cement the brand’s reputation
  • Be easy to navigate
  • Archive information about the company
  • Offer resources to reporters
  • Reduce costs by automating big portions of customer service, collection, sales cycle, etc.
  • Provide opportunities for collaboration, revenue and other benefits

For the latest insights from Shel, follow him on Twitter!