Marketing your business online inexpensively is not hard to do. Many business owners avoid spending money on marketing because they think it's not affordable or worse, a waste of time. The beauty of online marketing is that you can practically market your business for free if you know what to do. That’s why online marketing is so affordable and fun. The barriers to entry are low, and even the learning curve is small. So before you know it, you will bring your business to profit with free or very affordable marketing.
1. List Your Business
There are many directories that are either free or inexpensive that you can join to help market your business. Ensure that the directory you pick is niche oriented, and that it is run by a reputable person so that you are listed with other reputable business owners. You don’t want to be on a list that is associated with spam. Your local chamber of commerce is one such list that you can get on for the price of your membership.
2. Use Social Media Liberally
Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram all have a place in your online marketing endeavors. Well, they might. You have to determine which social media networks will work for you and it will depend on your niche and your target customer. Where do they hang out? Be there.
3. Content Marketing
This is one of your most important marketing weapons in your arsenal. In fact, you’ll use content for all types of marketing including every inexpensive way listed in this article. Content is needed that sells, educates, engages, informs, solves problems, and excites. You need content for all aspects of marketing - up to and including customer relations.
4. Blog Frequently and Consistently
Blogging is a big source of traffic, and in some instances the only source of traffic for many website owners. Not only that, it boosts your SEO which means more people will find your site when they search for your product or service. It’s a great way to get the message out to your customers while not spending much money. You can write the posts yourself or you can outsource blogging. Most people write them themselves when starting out. It can take time to get used to doing it, but writing a post a week can help gain momentum. You'll also want to consider doing longer blog posts, less often, to get results.
5. Remember SEO
If you are not familiar with SEO (search engine optimization), it’s important to learn. SEO changes constantly and is how you optimize your website for search engines. There is both on-page and off-page SEO that you can do for your business. Learn all you can about it. Or hire an expert to provide an SEO audit and strategy.
6. Send Out a Press Release
The good, old-fashioned press release is still a thing, believe it or not. You can still get a lot of value out of sending out free press rereleases if you know how to do it. The trick is to have contacts to which you send the press release directly and not just out to never-never land.
7. Hone and Perfect Your Small Business Website
Your website is your store front, and even if you have a bricks and mortar store front, your website is the store front your customers will likely see first. If it doesn’t look great, why would anyone purchase from you? Spending time on beautiful design, compelling copy, and making sure everything works (don't forget to put your social media links in a prominent spot), is key to giving a great first impression.
8. Join Relevant Communities
Communities are a great way to get your name out there. There are groups you can join on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as self-hosted and owned “inner circles” and mastermind clubs that you can join. They can help you get known as an expert, as well as help you get more links to your website.
Finding inexpensive ways to market your business online is a great way to get started. But even after you have a profitable business, you’ll want to keep using these inexpensive ways to market your business. If you're wondering if you're business can afford these marketing investments, ask your bookkeeper to find areas that aren't providing a good ROI and where you can cut the fat in your current expenses.