When you’re a small business starting out, you don’t have bundles of cash to spend on marketing, but you can find cheap and effective ways to promote your business online for free.
Long ago when there was no internet or social media, businesses found ways to promote their products and services through sponsoring small events or printing out fliers.
Don’t get me wrong, passing out business cards, sponsoring events and printing flyers are still relevant today. However, the marketing world has definitely changed dramatically in the last 10-15 years and digital online marketing has skyrocketed.
Today the internet is saturated with online platforms that don’t hardly cost a dime – all you need to do is search for the right ones.
I am going to discuss seven ways to promote your business online for free:
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Utilize Social Media
Honestly social media is an awesome resource for me and many businesses.
It’s a really great resource to build communities, get exposure, and go where people hang out the most.
You probably heard about all the platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Those are the places where you should be. It takes time to build a reputation like most things, but definitely worth it.
I’ll go into each one briefly.
Facebook – is where most adults hang out and still is the ultimate social media platform. It’s a really great resource to promote your business online for free.
They’re all pretty reasonable, have 24-hour tech support, is highly secure and completely reliable.
You want to choose a dependable source because other hosting companies don’t have the capacity or is not highly secured.
You should really consider having good security.
For example, I had a client that had one of those cheap hosting companies and her website got hacked. Some of her stuff on her homepage went blank and her images looked really distorted.
Yikes! Don’t get caught with unreliable hosting.
I will probably go in depth about these web hosts at another time.
Step 2: Set up a Blog with WordPress
Now some of you might have a website already and that’s good.
You’re almost set.
Content management systems like WordPress makes it very easy to add a blog.
A blog is simply a section of your website that you can easily write articles to.
After you get set up, you can start writing.
Step 3: Start blogging with interesting content
Now this is the fun part.
To start off you need to come up with topics that is relevant to your niche.
What do I mean?
If you own a tech startup, write about your recent project. You can also write about 7 tips to run a lean startup.
For example, if you own a doctor’s office you can write about 3 Ways to keep a healthy lifestyle for your family.
Here’s what I recommend:
I usually come up with 10-20 topics and write them all down in a notebook or spreadsheet then pick several really compelling topics that people will enjoy reading.
You will probably need to do some research in the meantime.
I would suggest to write a long thorough article that includes many details to keep people interested.
Inform people about your topic and go super in depth about it like what Neil Patel mentioned.
For example, if you talk about dating, go deep. As a result, talk about how to date the right person, what to bring on a date, how to behave on a date, what is your ideal partner on a date, where to bring your date, and so forth. In this way, people won’t deviate from your article. It will be the most popular article that will out rank every dating article out there.
I also recommend writing in a conversational style that flows, which people can connect to more often.
I believe the average person really don’t connect to complicated words or scholarly journal type of writing.
People identify with conversation.
Then after you have written your master piece, share your article with everyone. Promote your article and tell everyone about your amazing article to increase traffic to your website.
Then constantly update your article to make it more robust because Google will look at it as a reliable resource with fresh content.
Okay back to the real topic on ways to promote your business online for free.
The Hemingway app according to author and full-time blogger Shayla Price, improves your writing significantly by having more impact.
It’s a free online tool that you can copy and paste your blog post into that will highlight areas that need the most improvement. By utilizing this tool, it will remove passive voice, choose better adjectives and adapt to your readers ability. Really useful tool that I like to use myself and you should too.
Get on Directory Listings
The 3 major directory listings are Google Places, Yahoo and Bing.
You need to list your business on all three directories or more if you can find them.
Think of it as the yellow pages. But nobody hardly looks at the Yellow or White pages these days, although still relevant.
About 80% of people search for a business on the internet, so you want people to be looking for you when all possible.
It’s also a free resource that millions of businesses are on today.
I would also recommend on listing your business on your local and niche service directories.
For example, I’m a Web Designer, so I find Web Designer directories and list my business name in there, so people can find you.
It’s easy to do. You can Google directories for (your niche business) and all the directories will pull up.
Therefore, this is an excellent way to promote your business online for free.
Totally free and still necessary to announce your biggest promotions or events.
Press releases grab people’s attention in your local community.
It’s still appropriate after all these years.
Besides when there was no social media or internet there was newspapers and magazines.
I still actually read these publications because there’s nothing like seeing your article in a newspaper.
It wasn’t exactly a press release, but it was an article that I wrote.
I was over the moon happy. It made my whole day brighter even though I was feeling terrible the whole week.
Sometimes you can pitch an editor ideas for a story then if compelling enough they will publish it.
So never give up even though some editors might reject you.
Join your Niche Online Community
By joining a community online either on Reddit, Facebook or a support group, you can gain some momentum with getting yourself known in your local town.
By the way this is a great way to promote your business online for free.
There are tons of groups on Reddit I found.
For example, I’m in the Web design/web development service, so I joined a couple of groups.
You can leave a valuable comment to help a fellow developer, which is recommended you do. Then drop your website link in the comment section when talking about relevant topics.
Don’t spam the group, otherwise Reddit will automatically flag you.
Also, be extra careful when posting on Reddit because they prevent you from leaving too many comments and will put you on a timer until you can write another message.
In addition, Facebook lets you create groups pertaining to your niche. Therefore, I created several groups, such as the Conservative Tech (talks about tech news, gadgets, and reviews) and Developers Den, which is a resource group to help Web developers.
Therefore, create a group to build up an audience, so you will have leads in your pipeline.
Understand Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is also known as SEO.
This is a very highly recommended thing you do.
I have several articles on SEO, so I will link them in the article somewhere.
Basically, it’s having keywords in your blog post or content in your website that relates to your niche.
SEO helps you rank higher on Google.
That’s why I mentioned earlier to be very thorough while blogging.
The search engines use these algorithms to crawl through your website.
If Google thinks your article is excellent and people are reading it often, then you get ranked higher on the first page on Google.
Being on the first page is very hard, especially if older websites have been on the internet for many years.
It gets difficult each year for newer businesses, so sometimes they end up paying to be on the first page.
Being on the first page matters because people tend to contact businesses on the first page and they don’t bother looking past the second or third pages.
The first page is prime real estate just like a newspaper.
Create Videos on YouTube
This is also a relevant thing for your brand.
Creating videos on YouTube is an easy thing to do if you have the guts to do it.
Some people can’t stand being in the spotlight, so it’s hard for them just like me.
There are hundreds of video software that you can use to shoot videos.
Actually, YouTube has made it possible to record videos on your mobile phone.
In fact, any social media platform will allow you to record videos on your phone.
It’s just one or two clicks then you’re live.
You no longer need sophisticated software or cameras like the old days.
8. Craft an elevator pitch
According to Constant Contact, you should be marketing all the time – wherever you are. So craft an elevator pitch that you can tell people briefly.
How long should it be?
According to mindtools, an elevator should only last about 20-30 seconds, which is an average elevator ride. They also stated your pitch should be interesting, memorable and succinct. The elevator pitch should also explain your organization, product and uniqueness about your idea. Therefore, I find if you’re like everyone else it doesn’t seem appealing to the next person, so try to think of ways to be different.
For example, you’re a physician that only specializes in diabetes, people look to you as an expert rather than a generalist.
Not so fast – Why your pitch should be shorter than 20-30 seconds?
According to the Telegraph UK, researchers mention that humans have shorter attention spans thanks to smart phones and technology. Shorter than goldfish. Can you you imagine?
Scientists surveyed 2,000 volunteers in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 individuals using electroencephalograms.
The outcome showed the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds.
9. Contests and Giveaways
According to Chris W. Dunn Founder of Skill Incubator, mentioned everyone loves free gifts! It doesn’t even have to be expensive. It could be e-books, whitepapers, and checklists, which don’t cost a dime. It just takes some time to create it.
You can giveaway these gifts in your Facebook groups, on Instagram or on your website. It’s simple and it’s an excellent way to build an email list.
10. Create a Workshop
According to thatcleanlife, they recommended that you should choose a main topic, but don’t structure it too much. Make sure that your content has 3-5 actionable steps that people can implement right away.
I’ve learned that you should create an outline to cover the workshop, but don’t spend too much time presenting it. Get the people to participate to ask if they have any questions and be open and flexible if someone needs more information about a certain topic.
Also, some takeaways was not to over-rehearse. Instead, present with integrity and from your heart, not just conveying what you practiced. It might sound robotic and nobody connects to that sort of speaking. I find that stories work better and speaking in a conversational manner. Finally, you may mess up, but just go with the flow.