Bartering Tips For Online Business

Bartering Tips For Online BusinessBack in the early days of civilisation when there was no accepted form of currency, purchasing was based on the barter system. If the caveman down the way had a hunk of dinosaur meat you were interested in, you could offer him a pelt of fur in exchange for it. You got to eat, the other guy got to stay warm. It was a win-win situation.

Things have certainly changed in modern society but the barter system is still in use. Trading products, services, or promotional efforts provides an affordable way to extend your internet marketing reach.

Trading Services

You might be in need of professional services for your company. Often accounting or legal services, necessary for the growth and compliance of your e-commerce company, present prohibitive costs to the small business owner. Why not barter for these services?

Consider offering a free banner ad or a complimentary write-up on your blog in exchange for an initial consultation or a service from a professional who offers the services you need.

If your first offer doesn’t pique the interest of a professional provider don’t give up. Provide a list of things they can choose from. There is bound to be something you can offer that is of interest.

Promotional Bartering

You can really extend your marketing reach if you partner with others to help spread the word about your online business. This is a simple concept, usually offered in exchange for like promotional efforts.

Working with another online individual or company, you can offer to exchange banner ads, blog posts, a link in a blogroll, or even do-follow comments.

But you can also use other items to barter with. If your website sells products, consider giving something away in return for a posted review, a testimonial, or a referral on a social media site.

Planning an event? Whether it is an online or offline gathering, find the vendors who can supply the needed components, such as webinar software. Ask if you can exchange the necessary product or service for advertising spots on your website or a complete write-up of the event afterward that showcases the vendor’s offerings.

Need a logo for your start-up? Why not offer the graphics artist a direct link from your site in exchange for the design or a deep discount?

General Bartering Tips

Bartering works best if you attempt to exchange items or services of similar value. Offering a blog post in exchange for the complete legal setup of your business is probably not going to entice a lawyer to take you up on this deal. It is easier to make appropriate offers by first assigning a dollar value to the product or service you are using to barter.

If you don’t already have a relationship established with a vendor, provide them a show of good faith by giving something upfront. With so many scam artists on the internet these days, many people are leery of deals from an unknown source.

Bartering can save the internet marketer a lot of money while extending their marketing reach. Even if you don’t have cash, there are ways to attain the things you need by offering an even exchange.

About Sean Rasmussen

I am a passionate blogger and have been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When I'm not with my family, you will find me doing SEO, building websites for many of my clients, and creating products out of thin air! This is a cool gig and I love it!


  1. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    Bartering with others for the things you need and want is a really interesting concept. I think it would work really well if you have a site with a decent PageRank. Or, if you have some professional skills.

    I think you just need to make sure that it’s a fair exchange. And by fair, I mean making sure that you give more than is expected.

  2. Bartering online is a new concept for me. Farmers often barter goods and services such as helping the neighbour with something for the use of a piece of machinery but online bartering sounds like a great idea.

  3. Hi Sean,
    A bartering system, when handled correctly can be used as a great asset in the community. The system is in many ways trusted more than cash to do business. The value in bartering is secure also compared to the dollar. It can lose it’s value almost overnight.

    Bartering is a trusted system and there can’t be any hidden costs involved by dealing in this way. Another attractive drawcard to bartering for business is that people can put their own value on an item or service and this has the added value of building trust throughout the online community as a whole.

    Important info, Sean. Thank-you.

  4. Becca Nolan says:

    I think so, too. Bartering is back. I am actively using barterquest. Awesome page that facilitates the barter process.

  5. Tara McGhee says:

    Once again your message of giving value comes through. Don’t underestimate yourself and your power and the power of your internet presence. I love the idea of promotional bartering and I will be using that advice in the future. And I will be making sure that I act with utmost integrity – doing what I say I will do, and doing it first before receiving anything from them. Its fostering goodwill and leading by example.

  6. Hi Sean,

    Once again, something I had not considered so thankyou for writing this article.

    It comes down to integrity when bartering, especially, as Jazz mentioned, that we give more for what we expect to receive.

    What a wonderful way to give and receive goods and services and build up goodwill in any community. I am away to check out barterquest as Becca suggested as I would like to learn about it.


  7. Great Idea.

    Again something I had never thought of, until reading here.
    It shows the amount of (GOLD) information you give here Sean

  8. Thanks for the tips Sean.

    I have been trying to identify what I can offer or ‘barter’ more established sites to include my sites in their blogroll. Not really a link exchange, but rather a few blog posts about their site in exchange for them including my site in their blogroll. Once I actually have something of more value to offer, I’ll be on the hunt for some JVs.

  9. Bartering in internet marketing is an awesome idea! There is really no end to your creative marketing ideas. I can see why you have become so successful in such a short time. You think outside the box on everything!

  10. I can see how bartering can save an internet marketer a lof of money and gives a small business a better chance to compete with bigger ones with much bigger budgets!

  11. Bartering may also lead to other leads from the people who you barter with – such as referrals to their contacts. Sounds very Karmic to me!

  12. I’ve switched over to bartering recently for most of anything I can get without having to shell out cash. There are a couple sites out there to use, to connect with people who are looking to trade/swap items or even services (carpentry work for auto work, etc). One of the sites I use is

  13. Rose Kawe says:

    Thanks Sean, just thought I missed this post so came backwards to read & realised I’ve skipped and important lesson. Bartering is a tradition & came a long way in my culture. I never thought you could apply this the the e-commerce world today. So true you can barter something for something so its case to case. Thanks for this, gap filled!!..

    • Hi Rose,

      It sounds like you have a leg up on bartering. Since it’s a long standing tradition in your culture you may be able to take advantage of it to help get your business of the ground.

      You could use if for everything from setting up your site to advertising and gaining customers.

  14. Cathy and Trevor Howitt says:

    Bartering for online business.
    What a concept!
    I can definitely see the advantage for everyone concerned (as long as “integrity” is intact.)
    Now my job is building my sites so they have value for someone else.

  15. Hi Sean,

    This is a very good idea for those of us that may not have a very big marketing budget because you can use your time and effort or even your website or blog instead of money.

    There are a variety of banner exchange programs available also where you can swap your banner with other site owners to get a bit of extra exposure without it costing you money.

  16. Jody Chambers says:

    Bartering is still very alive around the rural area where I live but I had never given it a thought to apply it to an online scenario….BRILLIANT!

  17. Cheers Sean for bringing this long lost art back into people’s perception. My husband is an absolute legend at bartering, often wandering when I get home where he gets “stuff” from. I have to say I have increased the use of this technique when my cashflow has been low – but now feel I can increase this skill and use it all the time.

  18. Are you also referring to joint ventures? Last year I got sucked into a lot of promotional Ebook offers where I gave my email and got an ebook and on one website there were hundreds of these to sign up to. – Then came the offers to be involved with the next launch. You have written about guest blogging in previous posts as well. Bartering just seems like the next step up.

  19. Willem Broekers says:

    Hi Sean,

    I like the idea of bartering because I hate money!

    Probably because I don’t have any! 😉

    Thanks for the info Teach.