There’s no doubting that the internet has changed the way we live. No longer do we visit the town center for Christmas presents – we head to Amazon and get everything delivered. We wouldn’t dream of calling a friend on the phone or sending them a letter – we click on Facebook Messenger send them a message to keep in touch. The internet has changed the way we manage our businesses, too, and the web can be used to promote your products and services without having to splash out on expensive newspaper adverts or radio slots. Here’s how you can spread the word about what you do without spending any money.
Start a blog
Sure, you’ll have to find the time and muster up the energy to write stuff for your website, but blogging doesn’t cost a penny. Plus, you probably installed blog functionality when you set up your website – if not, you can download the self-hosted version of WordPress and post whenever you want. Once a week should be your goal, but monthly is enough to start with.
There are a wide range of benefits of content marketing for small businesses – not only can you drive organic traffic to your website, but you give visitors a reason to keep coming back. Plus, you can add a call to action to your posts to push people through your sales funnel.
Use social networking sites
Social networking sites, like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram, if you use them the right way, can help you network with potential customers and expand the reach of your brand. Another benefit of using them? They’re completely free and give you access to unlimited potential customers.
You don’t have to spend all day on Twitter and Facebook to grow your audience, either. Use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer (both offer free accounts with enough functionality to keep you going) to schedule posts in advance. Do this once a month and your channels will be up-to-date every day of the week, without you even having to log on. Of course, you’ll increase the effectiveness of your social media campaigns if you interact with others, but scheduling can help you save time and keep your channels fresh.
Build a mailing list
Email marketing is another effective marketing strategy for small businesses – just capture the email addresses of potential leads and customers using a newsletter form, and send them to content on a regular basis that pushes them through the sales funnel and encourages them to come back to your website. It’s a tried and tested formula used by virtually every major business that operates online – including the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft.
If you don’t know what sort of content you should be sending to your subscribers, then think about running a limited-time promotion on your online store, update them with news on your new developments, or link them to your latest posts and tutorials.
Outreaching to bloggers, influencers and businesses in your niche is a great way to build links and improve the exposure of your brand – and the best part is, it’s free. You can send relevant bloggers and website owners an email, letting them know about your new content (that could be a blog post, a resource bundle, a tutorial, a free download or an eBook) and see whether or not they’ll link to you in their content. You don’t always be successful, but the more you do, the bigger your chances of success.
There you have it – four of the best ways to promote your small business online for free. Of course, these techniques require your time and attention, so there are some costs involved, but if you’re on a budget or don’t want to outsource to an agency, it’s worth the effort.
About the Author
Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a marketing agency specialising in content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimisation.