28 Ways to Market Your Small Business Online for Free

A lot of smart business owners are intrigued about how the internet can help them market their products and services better. Thanks to technology, there are now unlimited opportunities for small business owners to efficiently promote their business online. While there are both paid and free ways to do it, we suggest you get started with the free resources first. These will help you get an initial audience and will also help you understand how various online platforms work.

Here are 28 ways you can promote your small business online. All of these free and well proven methods to getting noticed online.

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Doing Twitter Contests Right

dealsforgeeks

Of course, I hate Twitter contests.

I hate them because they pollute my timeline, force me to do stuff I normally wouldn’t, and result in a terrible user experience for me and my followers. But as I said earlier, there’s got to be a right way to do it.

The primary reason why Twitter contests, or for that matter any typical contest on a social platform, has now turned out to be as irritating as a character on a daily soap is because agencies like to show off big numbers to their shiny clients. From, “look we got you trending” to “oh mah god a million RTs bro”, they’re doing it all.

But let’s not talk about the dark side.

For DealsForGeeks we wanted to do something lighter, cleaner and more rewarding. All in such a way that it doesn’t hamper the user experience. For our first giveaway (a small one), we wanted user feedback so we planned a small contest where users would just fill up a form to give us some feedback, and that’s it.

For our second giveaway, and our first major contest, we wanted to follow the same principles.

1. Not necessary to follow/like our social accounts.
2. No RTs/likes required.
3. We wouldn’t RT any participant’s entry (tweet) from our official count. This is probably the most irritating thing in the world when I see brands doing it.

So we rolled out the red carpet, kept the terms and conditions to the bare minimum and simple to understand tone. All that the participants needed to do was interact with us, share feedback if they like, a joke maybe, or even a simple hello.

We decided to keep the Motorola Moto G (8GB) as the top prize because we thought it’s something we could afford, and something users would want. So the next couple of days we waited, as responses started pouring in. In the middle of the week-long contest we realized it’s going to get bigger.

Each interaction a user shared with us was treated as an entry. So every tweet became an entry. Since interacting on Twitter and Facebook was optional (user could do either of these), it would eventually become harder to track entries. But we got around with a bunch of handy analytics tools available in the market.

Here’s a little something we learned now that the contest is over.

1. People will ultimately follow you, if they participate in a contest even if you don’t make it compulsory.

2. Making RTs mandatory sucks. It may give you slightly bigger numbers in terms of interactions but in some way or the other it defeats the purpose for the product.

3. Stick to the goal — in our case it was spreading the word around. Our visitor count increased by 400% since the contest was launched. We’re still seeing a consistent visitor base, not only on the contest page but also on deals.

4. Don’t stick words in users’ mouth. I personally hate brands that want you to tweet in a specific format or use a stupid hashtag. We didn’t use any. What we saw was positive feedback in the best way anyone would normally express themselves. I do understand for bigger campaigns it becomes easier to track tweets using a hashtag, but it can be done in nicer ways. Also, not re-tweeting users’ tweets helps.

5. Do you want eyeballs for the contest or real users? It’s pretty easy to bump up your follower count — be it Twitter or Facebook — but the real question is – wouldn’t you rather have real users? At DealsForGeeks we might just have a little over 300 followers, but they’re genuinely interested users. We’d rather have 300 real followers on Twitter than 30,000 egg-head profiles that lead to nowhere.

In the future we plan on sticking to our mantra of no-nonsense contests on various social platforms.

Twitter Contests Are Irritating

I hate them. I hate contests on Twitter.

There, I said it. This is coming from someone who used to be neck deep into social media – both as a user and as a marketer. Well I still am a fan of the social web, I just hate the way brands are throwing in some of their marketing into it. While some brands get it, most don’t. They’re flooding my timeline with contests of some sort and it’s happening every single day.
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Facebook Starts Sponsored Search Ads

facebook ads

I get this weird sense that Facebook is going to put up ads all over the site now. They looked pretty decent on the side where they sat in a lonely corner and it was easy to ignore them. Now they’re going to come straight at your face, like a lizard preys on an insect, suck you into liking, clicking for pages and links, and what not.

You can’t hate Facebook for making love to advertisers now, this was bound to happen. They need their bread and butter. And now with their share prices behaving like a malfunctioning yo-yo the last thing on their mind is a bungee jump without a string.