We’ve all heard the old adage, you only get out of it (a particular action) what you put into it. And that is so true when it comes to the online marketing of your business and the sweat equity you put into it. It takes time, effort and can also cost a considerable amount of cash if you have it. But if you are a frugal business owner or have fallen on hard financial times due to the economic climate, you need to review these 8 ways to promote your business online completely gratis!.
Free Social Media Resources
#1 Facebook posts need to occur on a regular basis to be effective. Most people are logged on during the prime time hours of 5-9pm. You can create quick posts about a new product or service, a free service tip or even ones that are relevant to seasonal time frames. For example, “Stay warmer longer and out of the cold less with a new SmartStart remote starter!”
#2 Blogging via your website is easy enough by adding a few paragraphs with information specific to your business or service. Adding fresh content on a regular basis will give you consistent indexing on major search engines. You can do this yourself or consider asking a friend or family member that’s a pretty good writer to put a brief article together that gives you an authoritative voice about your particular niche and hopefully a faithful following!
#3 Twitter posts are the easiest but seem to be the hardest to keep up with. Why I don’t know. But I do know is that prioritizing a few Tweets per week can help keep your business relevant in this social medium. If you just don’t have the time, there are social media management programs to help schedule postings on a daily or weekly basis.
#4 Hootsuite is a free social media management tool can help you to schedule and manage multiple Social Media networks and your daily/weekly postings. It’s free up to 5 networks and then becomes a paid service. This is a great no cost/low cost option and it’s super easy to use. Another option would be to consider asking a college student to do it for a few bucks so they can leverage it as professional Social Media management experience.
Free Website Resources
#4 merchantcircle.com holds major clout when it comes to online business networking as the largest social network for local business owners. They offer free online business listings, free marketing tools, internet advertising and so much more. It’s 100% free to set up a profile account so you can connect with other local businesses and promote your services/products.
#5 Yelp touts they are “the best way to find great local business” and true enough they are one of them. The site is well-known as the word-of-mouth for the digital world when it comes to reviews and opinions about businesses. Creating a profile is easy, smart device friendly and it is similar to Zagat, allowing consumers to rate your business. Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite and most long-term customers to add reviews to your business profile which helps increase your ratings. Remember, you will look better to consumers with 3 great reviews rather than someone who has none. But make sure you monitor your profile regularly in case someone puts something on there that’s less than becoming. You want to be able respond timely to anything that’s said which could affect your business’ reputation.
#6 Google Places helps consumers, much like Yelp, to help choose the right businesses based on their needs. These searches focus on geographically locating your personal needs in the areas of food, service industries and more. Here you can add photos, videos, coupons and even weekly specials all on your Place Page.
#6 Google+ Profile Business Page is another great tool by Google helps you find, share, rate, and recommend your business to their friends, and people across the web. But here’s the real gold nugget value – on this site you can also hold free customer meetings via 1 to 1 or even a 10-way video meeting called Google Hangouts. You can even stream and record conversations for playback later.
#8 A Free YouTube Channel for your business will allow you to upload your videos and market via your own channel! Plus you can really leverage this medium by programming certain settings and keywords to make your channel appear in people’s online searches. Not sure what kind of video to shoot? Consider educating your consumers via a Tips Video with several how-to’s or why choose your business infomercials. For example, if you’re an automobile service business, give a how-to-tell if your tire has a real flat or if it’s just the outdoor temperature affecting the pressure.
-Unless you want to pay someone to do the work for you, it sill takes a consistent effort of rolling up your sleeves and getting these resources to work for you.
-Remember, the goal is to create engagement and grow your online business presence leveraging these free online tools.
-Be consistent in your business descriptions across all these mediums so that search engines pull the same company information about your business.
-Keep in mind that with these resources, there’s no “set it & forget it” recipe. Even with Hootsuite, you’ll need to follow-up on your postings to check for comments and post responses to those consumer comments.
-You aren’t going to see dollar-for-dollar return on these efforts & the time investment you put into it. But I am confident that within 6 months, you will be surely see the fruits of your labors with leads and consumer recognition.
-Pace yourself so you don’t burn out and remember, slow and steady still wins the race all the way to the successful business finish line.