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.
1. Start with a website
Having a website is absolutely essential to promote your small business online. The general idea that small business owners have is that creating a powerful website can be both costly and time consuming. You’ll be surprised that it’s not the case anymore. You can create your own website for free on the internet that can include basic information about your small business and your contact details. Use free website builder software like Wix, Moonfruit, Weebly, and WordPress. These tools enable you to create your own website that feature rich content and can be customized based on your requirements.
2. Get social
Once you have a great website ready, it’s time to create profiles on all relevant social media platforms. They’re probably the biggest and most valuable assets when it comes to promoting your small business online. They have become necessary tools of the trade for both small and large companies over the last decade. You can start by creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These platforms have a massive audience that will help you build a following very quickly. Free website builder software can also help you create banners and logos for your social profiles.
3. List your small business online
People are always on the look out for companies offering various services and products. The quickest way to ensure people can find you is to list your small business on all the top local listing services. These include Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing local places. A listing on Google Places is a definite way to make sure your business shows up every time someone searches the web using a relevant keyword. These listing services are free and your business is added once it gets verified by the company. If you use free website builder software, you can quickly list your small business on these services at the click of a button.
4. Add a blog to your website
Creating and maintaining a blog is one way to ensure your company’s website gets a good amount of traffic. You’ll be able to convert this traffic into customers using various methods like creating a landing page or a call-to-action button to initiate a customer’s response. Once you decide to start a blog, you have to make sure you keep it updated regularly otherwise you will lose visitors very quickly. Adding a blog is now necessary after creating your own website.
5. Press Releases
These may be old but they’re still definitely very relevant to promote your business online. A lot of independent writers, journalists or even bloggers may pick up your press release if it sounds interesting to them. It eventually become a part of a much larger story. There are a large number of PR services that can help you distribute your press release to various demographics.
6. Create a contest
Contests are a great way to promote your small business online. Once you have built a decent following on your social channels you could start a contest or a challenge and offer people prizes to keep them excited about participating. Create multimedia contests using free website builder software. Contests, if done right, can serve a number of purposes like promoting your small business as well as helping people understand what exactly you offer with your products and services.
7. Write guest posts on other blogs
Pick relevant blogs that can be associated with your products and services. Reach out to these blog owners and ask them you want to write a guest post for them. Bloggers are open to guest posts from other writers which are well written. It will help you promote your small business using links to your website which can be posted as credits with the guest post.
8. Use a link in your e-mail signature
You probably send out e-mails multiple times during a day. Adding a small yet effective signature to your e-mails can help you promote your small business. When Hotmail started out that’s what they used to go viral.
9. Get on YouTube
Social platforms like YouTube are currently the biggest, most happening platforms online. With a growing number of broadband users across the globe, videos are the most efficient way to get a message out. You don’t have to focus on ads initially. You can create videos about your small business or even general videos which users might appreciate. There’s a lot of things you can do on YouTube.
10. Write a newsletter
E-mail is an important communication tool that users use multiple times during a day. Your prospective customers might be looking for relevant information that you can serve them in the form of e-mail newsletters. Build a list of users using your website and social profiles. Send out regular e-mail newsletters with valuable content that users and potential customers would appreciate.
11. Optimize your website for search engines
You may create your own website for a small business but it’s not valuable enough if it doesn’t reach your prospective customers and clients. Make sure you optimize your website for major search engines like Bing and Google. The process is called search engine optimization (SEO).
12. Attend professional conferences
Sometimes when you have to promote your small business online, you also have to think about offline methods. There are several professional conferences that are attended by people who got to know about them online. Make sure you carry your business card while attending one of these. You’ll meet a lot of potential clients this way and you can network with them too.
13. Deliver a presentation
Attending events is one thing but you could also deliver a presentation. This way you can teach people about your small business. Make sure you have enough interesting topics to talk about and don’t forget to include a slide with links to your website, social profiles and other important online assets that you may want to share.
14. Get on niche social platforms
Once you get used to them you can also move on to niche social platforms like Pinterest that can further increase your company’s online promotions. Social platforms such as Pinterest, Vine and Snapchat have large audiences based on very different demographics. Pick the one that best suits your small business objectives.
15. Join a relevant online forum or community
The internet is filled with online forums based around a specific area of interest. If your small business suits one, make sure you join it. It will help you gain access to a highly specific set of users who are enthusiastic about the topic of interest. You can share your knowledge and gain a sense of what the community feels strongly about.
16. Create online demos of your products and services
Create simple demonstrations of your products and services and share them on your website. You could embed them directly on your website or share links to the demo on your social profiles. Demos are a great way to explain what you do. Make sure you create interesting demonstrations that users would love to watch. Free website builder software can also help you create web pages to quickly embed demos.
17. Create rich and targeted content
Merely keeping a website and social profiles isn’t going to cut it. You need to ensure you keep posting rich and highly targeted content on them on a regular basis. The more frequently you post this type of content the more visitors you are likely to get. Search engines love websites which frequently update their content.
18. Tag influencers on social media
Social media websites have influencers who have a massive fan following. Tagging them sometimes could lead them to notice your small business. In case they share your post, you could gain a massive audience too.
19. Write testimonials
Testimonials are a great way to get features on service providers’ websites. When these companies feature your testimonial they generally include a link to your website too. It’s one of the quickest and most efficient ways to spread the word online.
20. Join the buzz
Every single day on Facebook and Twitter there’s a set of keywords and topics that are trending. This means a lot of people are talking about a specific set of topics. You should join in the conversation to get noticed. Just make sure what you post is highly relevant to the topic and also goes well with your brand’s image.
21. Your top clients can vouch for you
Ask your best, most satisfied customers and clients to share their experience. You could ask them to share their feedback directly on their social profiles or you could publish their views directly on your website. A word from your clients goes a long way in convincing prospective clients and customers.
22. Use professional tools
Use tools like Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. These free tools will help you understand what are some of the biggest sources that are getting you web traffic. Once you narrow down on the best of the list, you can double your efforts to ensure you keep getting a good amount of regular traffic from them.
23. Create slideshows
Create and share slideshows of your products and services on various online websites. There are several free tools that let you create rich presentations and embed or share them across the internet. Maintain a professional theme while creating these and make sure the content is valuable enough for most users.
24. Visit others’ blogs
Visit blogs that are relevant to your area of expertise and lines well with your small business goals. Make sure you post comments to engage with the blog’s owner as well as their audience. Your comments should add value to the content. Refrain from getting into unnecessary debates.
25. Write articles on other websites
There are several popular websites that let you post articles on them. Sites like Answers and WikiHow can allow you to add resources to the site, including links. You can also add guides to your own products and services.
26. Share photos
While videos are currently hot, don’t skip out on the photos. Get a free online storage and sharing service like Flickr or Google Drive to make sure you can easily access and share your photos on the internet. Relevant photos that might seem interesting to your target audience can help you a lot.
27. Start a referral program
You could setup a referral program on your website that can allow visitors to get a commission every time any of their friends join your product or service. Given the nature of the social web, you’ll get access to a large number of users with a good referral program.
28. Give away samples
Freebies are one big part of the internet. Give away a limited supply of freebies or samples of your own products and services. Customers can try these out and even buy them if they end up liking it. Giving away samples helps prospective customers trust your brand.