You’ve got a growing business that offers services or products that you know other people would love. But how do you get the word out about the great things you have to offer? There are plenty of marketing companies that will change you hundreds or thousands to get the word out. While you might want to use those if your business scales way up in the coming years, for now, you can cut costs by choosing marketing options that are completely free. Here are some of the best ways to promote your business online without spending a dime.
Build a Website
It used to cost thousands to hire a graphic designer to create a professional-looking business website, but those days are long gone. Now, even those who don’t consider themselves very gifted technologically can create absolutely beautiful business websites – for free. Just use one of the many free website builders available (top options include Wix and Weebly) to build an intuitive site for your current and potential customers. There are plenty of pre-made templates from which to choose, so you basically just have to plug in your own info and hit publish.
Bonus tip: If you don’t want to upgrade to a paid monthly subscription to get your own domain name (aka yourbusiness.com instead of yourbusiness.wix.com), just buy the domain name (usually less than $10 per year) and have it redirect to your website. This essentially means that people can type in yourbusiness.com, but it will send them to yourbusiness.wix.com. That way, you can still use your domain name for marketing purposes without having to pay a high monthly fee.
Register Your Business Online
Did you know that you need to register your business with listing services in order to be found easily on the web? This also makes it possible for your business to show up on online maps. All you have to do is submit your business website link directly to the major search engines. Then, your customers will have a much easier time finding you on the web, and you might even show up in search results when someone searches for the products or services you provide. The sites you should sign up for are:
Take Advantage of Social Media
Many internet users are spending more and more time on social media. Businesses used to be mainly use Twitter and Facebook, but now, many companies are embracing newer social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare and Snapchat. Create a profile for your business on each of these social media sites and start interacting with potential customers.
Using social media adds a personal touch to your business since people can quickly and directly interact with you. Plus, it makes for more opportunities for potential customers to discover your business online. Best of all, it costs nothing to create a social media profile.
Create Useful Content
If you offer helpful information for people online, they’re more likely to start viewing you as more than just another company trying to market to them. Instead, you can become a trusted resource, which increases the chances that they’ll want to spend money on your services or products.
So how can you create useful content? One option is to start a blog that’s associated with your website. Instead of just talking about your company and what you have to offer, help solve a problem that someone visiting your site might be experiencing. For example, maybe your company sells home furniture. In that case, you could write blog posts about decorating tips, how to arrange furniture and the differences between furniture styles. This is information that people will be searching for online, so it can potentially lead them to your website and expose them to your products.
Email Your Customers
Hopefully, you’ve been collecting email addresses from your customers. If not, start doing it now! Once you have some email addresses, it’s time to plan some email marketing campaigns. As long as you don’t fill up your customers’ inboxes with loads of advertising for your business, it’s a great idea to reach out to your customers every once in a while. Free services like MailChimp make it easy to create targeted campaigns for your customers.
If you’re not sure where to start with email marketing, here are some ideas:
- Send a promo code. Include a promo code in your email message that gives customers a discount when they make a purchase. Be sure to include sale details in the email subject line so customers are more likely to open the message.
- Announce events. If you’re having an upcoming in-store sale or you’re hosting any kind of classes, workshops or other events, use an email campaign to inform customers.
- Feature products. If you have a new line of products or you want to showcase a popular item, you can do so in an email campaign.
With these free online tools and strategies, your business will be well on its way to a successful year ahead.