How to Promote Your Business for Free Online
Taking your business online is the best step to gain more potential customers while spreading the word about it. There are numerous ways to promote your business on the web without spending a dime.
The key is to look for opportunities that will best benefit your business in terms of gaining an audience and putting your brand or business out there through various channels. So, if you’re on the verge of looking for ways to promote your business for free oline, here are some of the best methods you can start with:
Today, more and more businesses use blogs as a means to promote products and services, and to reach more customers online. Blogs gain visitors when major search engines index your blog and your chosen keywords generate online traffic. Using carefully selected keywords, you can write relevant posts that can address your target audience’s specific needs or problems.
When people find your blog and continue to go back for more information, it has the potential to become an authority on the niche or topic you’re focused on. Of course, you need to stick with the most relevant topics that support and will nudge your products or services without being obstructive. This is quite different from “hard selling” because you’re not promoting your products/services directly via blog posts. Instead, you’re creating scenarios, providing guides or tips, or basically answering possible questions that your target audience have in mind.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing is another channel you can use to gain potential customers. It has become one of the necessities in running a business as it provides numerous benefits to both owner and customers.
If your business is fairly new, you’ll need to set-up and grow your social media accounts as soon as possible. Here are the top SMM sites you need to have initially:
- Facebook – Creating your Facebook page enables followers to like your updates, click on links to your blog posts and product pages, give their ratings to your products/services, and engage with you and other followers. You have control over the settings, admin responsibilities, and information you put on your Facebook page.
- Twitter – Many businesses have started building their following on Twitter many years ago. This social media network gives you the opportunity to update your followers regarding products/services and blog posts. Tweets that become viral are usually the result of re-tweets, and this happens when the subject matter is relevant, trending, and/or quite useful to the community. Make sure to use hashtags pertaining to your topic (e.g. ‘#webdevelopment’ or ‘#webdesign’) and shorten your links if needed in order to fit the 140-character limit.
- Instagram – You can build a following on Instagram by posting images with links to your website and blog posts, and by following people within the same niche or industry you’re in. You should also add your blog or website link onto your profile, so people will know where to find you elsewhere on the web. Don’t forget to add hashtags which are relevant to your images, so people who are looking for such terms (keywords/phrases) will be able to find you in the results.
- Google+ – Set up a Google+ page for your business and follow related businesses that are within your niche or industry. You can share links to your blog posts and a mix of informative posts from other relevant websites. Make sure to also engage by giving +1s and commenting on related posts.
- LinkedIn – If you want both personal and professional networking, LinkedIn is another social media channel you can benefit from. You can join communities or groups within your niche, post written content that’s relevant to your industry, and follow influencers within your niche as well. You can also create a page for your business with all the necessary details and you can add your team who are also in LinkedIn.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Optimizing your website content for the search engines is one of the best ways to be found by real people who are searching online. Focusing on your main keywords and narrowing to long-tail keywords/phrases should be your top priority if you aim to rank (and outrank bigger businesses) in the search engines. By being location-specific, you’ll also be able to leverage geographic locations where your niche/industry is highly searched.
Listing your business on local directories is very helpful especially if you are targeting a local audience. You can use Google Places if you want to be found easily on Google search results and your business will also be shown on Google maps.
However, if you run an online business that caters to a global clientele, it’s best to enlist on both global and local business directories. Make sure that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) are consistent across all directories you’ll use since major search engines (i.e. Google) regard this data when generating geo-targeted search results for businesses.
There are several more ways to promote your business online without cashing out. The key factor is finding the right channel or method that can put your business in front of a larger audience. But you also need to be active in order to keep track of the updates, conversations, and evolving needs of your business and customers.