Are you looking for ways to market your brand or business with a limited budget?
Whether it’s with established sites such as Google and Facebook, or newer outlets like Pinterest, there are plenty of options available to promote your business.
There are at least 15 ways to market your business with a time investment and no credit card required. Some of these are oldies but goodies, while others are newer and exciting avenues you may not have tried out yet.
Here are 15 things you can do today to get started marketing your business for free.
1. Claim, verify, and update your Google Local Business listing. This is extremely important. Google Local Listings have been absorbed into Google+, so be sure to learn how to manage your Google Local Listing.
2. Find a niche social media site that pertains to your exact business and participate. Be helpful, provide relevant and useful information, and your word of mouth advertising will grow from that engagement. Examples:
- Travel or hospitality business – Tripadvisor.com forums
- Photography store – Photo.net or RockTheShotForum.com
- Wedding Planning or Favor site – Brides.com or Project Wedding forums
- Search your niche or service plus forums to find ideas. If there isn’t a forum out there, consider starting one.
3. Build a Google+ page for your business and follow businesses that are related to your product or service niche. Share informative and relative content and link to your profile from your website. You should also consider allowing users to +1 your content on a page by page basis.
4. Set up and verify a Webmaster Central Account at Google.
5. Install Google Analytics if you don’t have any tracking software. The program is pretty amazing and it’s free. You need to do this if you haven’t already. It’s that important. Review your Google Analytics In-Page insights regularly and take note of how users are interacting with your page. Where to they click, what is getting ignored. Make changes based on this knowledge.
6. Set up a Bing Webmaster Tools account and verify it. Use your Bing Webmaster Tools account to look at your incoming links. How do they look? Are all of the sites relevant and on-topic? If not, reevaluate your link building practices and start contacting any of the irrelevant sites you can and ask them to take down your link. A clean and relevant incoming link profile is important; cleaning up bad links is a necessity until we can tell Google and Bing which links we want them to ignore.
7. Start Twittering or start doing it much better than you are now – it’s a great way to network with like-minded individuals. Create a new list in Twitter and follow profiles of industry experts you know and trust. Use this as your modern feed reader.
8. Write a “how-to” article that addresses your niche for Wikihow.com or Answers.com. This is kind of fun and a good resource for getting mentions and links. Looking at your product or service in a step-by-step manner is often enlightening in several ways. It can help you better explain your products and services on your own website
9. Share your photos at Pinterest – get a profile, write descriptions, and link to your website. Don’t share photos you don’t own or have permission to use. First read: How to Create a Pinterest Board And Grow Your Following
10. Start a blog. There’s nothing wrong with getting the basics of blogging down by using a free service from Blogger or WordPress. Do pay attention to SEO for Blogging: How to Push Your Content to the Top
11. Make sure your Bing and Yahoo Local listings are up to date.
12. Make a slideshow of your products or record an original how-to video and upload to YouTube. Be sure to optimize your title and descriptions. Once it’s uploaded, write a new page and embed the video on your own Web site. Add a transcription of the video if possible.
13. Build a Facebook Page and work to engage those that are interested in your product or service. Facebook is so much more robust than it ever was! Create groups, events, and photo albums. Link to your Facebook profile from your site and allow visitors to your site to like and share your content.
14. Instagram is hot right now. If you have visually stimulating content that is relevant to the site’s demographic, you can find great success right now. Be sure you’re using solid practices for Your Instagram Marketing Success as you get started.
15. Build a map at Google Maps and add descriptions for your storefront, locations, and nearby useful points of interest. Make your map public and embed it on your own website. Add links back to relevant content on your site if possible to each point of interest.
There you have it – 15 free ways to market your business online. Do you still think you need a huge advertising budget? What marketing advice would you give to a small company or a start up?
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