22 Powerful Ways to Promote Your Business for Free
You are very excited!! You have finally created your own website!! But the trouble is customers aren’t knocking on your website door. Why? The most probable answer is that your customers don’t know about your website.
There is no magic Internet fairy who will knock on people’s door to announce your website’s arrival. Here are 22 great ways to promote your website and business for free.
For a quick reference, check out 22 Powerful Ways to Promote Your Business for Free Infographic.
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing has been a popular way to promote a business from the early days of the internet and remains one of the most powerful strategies to market your website and business.
Vast majority of customers will not buy from you the first time they meet you or visit your website. As such, it is critical that you capture your leads’ and prospects’ email addresses and keep in touch with them on a regular basis.
Statistics suggest it takes between 9-14 touch points for people to get to know you, like you and trust you before they buy from you.
If you communicate with your customers via social networks, that’s great, but you should be building a mailing list nevertheless, as you have no control over what happens with social networks.
For example, Google Plus had 198 million users and it shut down. So if your main communication was via that social network, you would have lost a lot of business.
Similarly, MySpace was once the most popular social network, but then Facebook came along and everyone started using that, leaving business owners on MySpace wondering what happened.
There are many other things that can go wrong including your social network being shut down temporarily or permanently or your account being hacked.
There are many automated systems that allow you to easily manage your email marketing. Some of these include:
Be aware that most people won’t subscribe to a newsletter anymore, so you have to offer them something in return for their email address. This can be
- A checklist or cheat sheet
- Discount coupon
- Mini training course
- Product sample
- Software / app demo / trial
Under no circumstance should you EVER send unsolicited email (spam) to people you either don’t know or who have not requested to receive your information.
2. Email Signature
Every email you send should have an email “signature.” This is text that is automatically attached to the bottom of your email message. You can include:
- your name
- business name
- email address
- street or postal address
- website address
- phone number
- company slogan
- your photo
- description of your company / products / services
You can set up different signatures for different purposes. If you are unsure how to set it up, check out your email program’s help index.
3. Search Engines
Getting your website to the top of the search engines can be costly and time consuming if you get a professional SEO company to do this for you, however, there are many things you can do yourself for free that will help you to rank well.
As Google has 90% of the searchable market, you want to concentrate your efforts to making Google happy. It is important to understand Google looks at 200 elements of your website before it ranks each page. Their priority is serving the most relevant information to their users, so give them great content and you stand a good chance.
It is important to understand if you have a brand new website, it can take 6-12 months for Google to start noticing you, so you will need to be patient
There are 3 key steps that go into search engine optimization
- Keyword / search intent research
- On page optimization
- Off page optimisation
Learn more about Search Engine Optimisation.
4. Google My Business / Bing Places for Business
As I mentioned previously, getting to the top of search engines, can be challenging and take time to show results, however, there is a way you can get to the top of Google or Bing, without paying a cent.
Want to know how?
Set up Google My Business or Bing Places for Business Account.
Your free Business Profile lets you easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps and Bing. This is particularly useful for local businesses.
Chances are Google and Bing has a listing for your business already. Claim an existing listing or add a new one. If your business has multiple locations you can add them in one go using the bulk upload tool.
5. Link Exchange
Link exchanges is a strategy whereby two websites link to each other.
The way it works is like this.
- Find websites whose business complements yours, eg. a business coach can exchange links with graphic designers, lawyers, website designers. etc
- Add the business website to your links/resource page.
- Contact the company, let them know you have added their link to your website and ask for a reciprocal link.
Make sure the websites you are linking to are of high quality, as your visitors will perceive that by linking to the website you are recommending the business.
Likewise, make sure your website is up to date and looks professional before you reach out to other website owners.
6. Feedback and Testimonials
When you come across a great product or service on or off the internet, send an email to the business owner telling him/her how the product/service helped you.
Like you, most business owners appreciate receiving positive feedback and they will most likely feature your testimonial on their website and place a link back to your site!
You may even suggest it to the owner by saying something like “you have my permission to feature this testimonial in your promotional material and/or on your website”.
7. Social Networks
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn lets you interact with your followers for free.
However, it is important that you are active on the right social network. Check out this Social Media Demographics Guide to find the best network for your business.
Remember social media is about being social, not just bombarding your visitors with sales information. If you want people to like, comment and share your content, you need to do the same for them.
If you want to know what to post on social media, check out 30 Day of Social Media Sharing Calendar.
Before you become active on a social network, make sure that you complete all the information about your business, including your photo / logo and a link to your website.
8. Online Forums
Online forums a virtual message boards where users come to discuss topics of mutual interest.
As a user you can start a thread (topic), post messages and respond to other postings.
There are tens of thousands of groups on every possible subject. Simply Google “topic forum”
The best way to find a suitable newsgroup is to use Google Search. Go to www.google.com. Then click on the “Groups” tag. Run a search using a keyword related to your on-line business that you would like to promote from the groups search page. You can use Newsgroups for conducting market surveys, get new clients, promote your site, get answers to your questions, make friends.
9. Social Groups
Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to set up groups for your business. These are different to social media business pages.
You can make your group private or public and after adding all your business information invite prospects and customers to join, then make sure you provide value by answering questions, educating, inspiring and helping members solve problems related to your products and services.
Having a group allows you to establish authority and prove your credibility.
Ideally you should encourage interaction between members by posting
To find out more about setting up a Facebook group, check out How to Create and Grow an Engaged Facebook Group.
For more details about LinkedIn Groups, check out The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Groups.
Alternatively, if you don’t wish to manage your own group, you can join other groups in your industry and become an active member, answering people’s questions and offering helpful suggestions. This gives you an opportunity to prove you are expert at your field and people will often check out your social media profile or click through to your website.
10. Articles and Guest Blog Posts
Writing articles is an excellent way for you to get free publicity. The publicity you receive by having your article published in a newspaper, magazine or website can be worth thousands of dollars in equivalent advertising space.
Well written articles yield better results than advertisements and earn you respect from customers, who see you as an expert in your field.
The best articles are “tips” or expert pieces. People are looking for guidance and will purchase from the experts who show them how to solve their problems.
You can publish the articles on your website, social page or group or offer them as guest blog posts to other websites who target the same customers as you.
For example, a marriage celebrant could write a “Wedding Checklist” and ask to publish it on wedding directory website or on a photographer’s website
For more information about guest blogging check out: Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging.
11. Media Releases
Having a story written about you and your business may not only bring you lots of new customers, but will also provide you massive credibility.
Stories about you in the media are far more believable, powerful and attractive than any ads you could possibly run.
A media release should provide enough details to be informative, but it should leave out just enough information to be tantalizing that the media person calls you to find out more.
For more information about media releases, check out How to Write a Press Release.
12. Local & Online Directories
A great way to improve visibility of your business and website is by listing it in online directories which target a specific location, niche or industry.
Most directories allow you to publish
- Company name
- Website address
- Phone number
- Product / Service description
- Photos / videos
Some directories you may want to consider:
13. Social Sharing and Bookmarking
Social sharing lets visitors share your pages with their social networks. If your website was created using WordPress, there are many plugins that allow you to easily share your content. Some of these include:
- Smash Balloon
The good thing is you don’t have to be a member of all the social networks, only your visitors do.
On the other hand Social Bookmarking allows users to store, search, manage and organize useful website content that they may wish to return to or share with others.
Social bookmarking tools are accessed via the web, which means you have access to them anywhere and anytime you are connected to the internet.
Most popular social bookmarking sites include
Social bookmarking can boost your brand awareness and website traffic by allowing users to easily access your content. If people bookmark your posts and vote for them, they will show up in searches and bring more traffic to your site.
14. Video Marketing – YouTube / Vimeo / TikTok
Video marketing has become an important marketing strategy for many small, medium and large businesses.
Videos allow you to promote your products and services, increase engagement on your social networks and educate your customers.
There are many options for the type of videos you can create
- Demo videos
- Expert interviews
- How to videos
- Explainer videos
- Testimonial videos
Learn more about video marketing in The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing.
15. Go Live on Social Networks
Going Live on platforms such as Facebook allows you to engage with your audiences in real time, giving you opportunity to answer any questions and educate your prospects on your products and services.
Some ideas for Live stream include
- Q&A Session or an interview with a well known personality in your industry
- Product demonstration
- Cooking lesson
- Painting / craft class
- Special event inside view
- Behind the scenes look
Seeing you live gives you immediate boost in credibility.
16. Create a Podcast
If creating videos makes you nervous, then you may want to consider growing your business through a podcast.
Podcast popularity is increasing and statistics show that one in five Americans listens to podcasts every month. The great thing about podcasts is that you can reach people on the go – while they are driving or exercising.
A podcast allows you to participate in conversations, share new insights and reach new audiences. Writing blogs is a lot more time consuming than talking, so having a podcast can save you a lot of time.
Setting up a partnership is one of the best ways to expand your brand, generate new leads and grow your business.
Creating a mutually beneficial partnership can take time to develop. Before you start approaching businesses to partner with you, sure you are clear on:
- What are the benefits for your partner
- How will you benefit
- What will your / their clients receive / achieve
- Who is your target audience
- What can you help your partner with
If you want to learn more about creating partnerships, check out 10 Steps to Attracting strategic Partnerships to Grow Your Business.
18. Social Influencers
Influencer marketing can help you reach new audiences and increase brand awareness through endorsements and product mentions by individuals who have a large following on social media. Influencers are perceived as experts in their industry and hence their recommendations can help to convert prospects into customers.
There are several types of influencers:
Nano influencers – 10,000 followers or less
Micro influencers – 10,000 to 100,000 followers
Macro influencers – 100,000 to 1 million followers
Mega influencers – 1 million+ followers
Before you reach out to any influencers make sure you fully understand your business, who your target audience is and what problems you solve.
Be also very clear on what you can offer the social influencer in return – eg. access to your social networks or mailing lists or perhaps free products or services.
If influencer marketing is something you’d like to pursue, read Influencer Marketing Guide: How to Work With Social Media Influencers.
19. Industry Conferences / Seminars / Networking Events
Many people avoid networking events because they feel uneasy selling themselves to others. But it doesn’t have to be scary if you approach it with the right attitude.
If you are naturally shy, practice your skills by networking with relatives and friends. Once you feel more confident, try attending events with only a few people.
There are many videos and guides that can help you make the most of a networking event.
20. Content Creation
By creating useful content you will attract new customers to your website and retain existing clients.
According to Hubspot, content marketing brings 3 x as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 62% less. SMBs that use content marketing get 126% more leads than those that don’t.
There are many types of content you can create including
- Podcasts / Audio
- Case Studies
- White Papers
The type of content you create depends on the type of audience you are trying to reach.
Plan your content creation strategy with The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation.
Many people enjoy attending webinars (a seminar conducted online) as they are one of the best sources of free, yet valuable information – they don’t have to go out to attend and many webinars are pre-recorded which means they are available at different time zones.
For business owners webinars are great for moving visitors and leads through the sales funnel and for increasing their credibility in the customers’ eyes.
There are many webinar platforms to choose from
- Webinar Jam
- Webinar Ninja
If Webinar marketing is for you, check out The Ultimate Guide to Creating Compelling Webinars.
22. Meetup Groups
MeetUp is a platform for finding and building local communities. People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zone and pursue their passions, together.
MeetUp allows you to promote, grow and scale your business by hosting your own MeetUp Group.
Learn more about MeetUp Groups.
by Ivana Katz
Websites 4 Small Business – www.web4business.com.au; Ivana makes it easy for you to get your business online very quickly. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, CLICK HERE and download your FREE copy of “Ultimate Website Design Secrets Blackbook – 10 Bulletproof Strategies for Designing an Outrageously Successful Website”