In the early stages of starting a business you may not be blessed with wads of cash to spend on marketing, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t effective ways to get your brand in front of the right people.
Before the invention of the internet, small and medium sized businesses only had a handful of ways to market their products or services, through methods like flyers or sponsoring local events. These days there are all kinds of opportunities on the web, you just need to know where to look.
Here are our seven ways to promote your business online for free:
- Local Business Listings
By registering your business with the three largest local listing services you are allowing potential customers to find you much easier. Google My Business, Yahoo Local and Bing Places are the three most popular search engines to get listed. All you have to do is fill out the form and register, then get your business verified through their confirmation process, which can be done either with a phone call or mail.
- Make Sure You’re Being Social
Social media isn’t just a tool to gain exposure, it is a place where you can communicate with your customers and promote any offers you might be running. Networking on LinkedIn – both at personal and company level – can be another way to help your business. Take a look at what other similar brands are doing who boast a high level of engagement, you might just pick up a few tricks along the way.
- Optimise Your Website For Search Engines
Or in short, SEO. I can’t tell you how important this is to any business that wants to grow. Optimising your website for search engines requires a lot of work and involves writing content, adding internal links, and sourcing external backlinks to name just a few. By making your site appealing to search engines, you will gain more visitors and you’ll see an increase in both enquiries and sales. We’ve actually published a book about how to get your website to rank on Google.
- Start Blogging
A blog can be about literally anything, but it is important to keep in mind that you want to add value to your visitor, so they gain trust from your brand. A blog not only helps your business get its name out there but is a way to connect with your consumers more directly. Remember that one of the major keys of blogging is to keep your stream as frequently as you can. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing.
- Think Multimedia
By this, we mean video content. YouTube provides a free way to distribute creative promotional videos, but in order to succeed you must put up content that people want to view and is relevant to your business. Having a YouTube feed to your website will not only help increase exposure, but also benefit SEO (because Google owns YouTube).
- Press Releases
They’re a powerful media tool to use to help generate publicity and having free distribution is just a bonus. Every time your business does something newsworthy, such as win an award or open an additional shop, don’t hesitate to shoot off a press release. There are quite literally hundreds of websites out there that you can use for press releases, such as PR Log, Press Box and Click Press.
- Join Online Communities
Every niche, sector and subject has communities online that you can get involved with. With a simple search on Google for things such as “dog walkers forum” will give you a long list of results relevant to your niche. But just signing up for a forum and posting every once in a while, about your business isn’t beneficial, nor is promoting your business every day. Instead, actively contribute and build a rapport with the community, while keeping your business out of it. Passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate.