Attract more customers by taking your business online.
Taking your business online may be a confusing venture if you’re just starting out.
A quick Google search on how to promote your business online will get a bunch of results and strategies to promote your business. However, many of these strategies involve shelling out a lot of money to drive traffic to your website.
Any form of marketing conducted online counts as digital marketing. Promoting a sale on Facebook is digital marketing. Paying to have your website visible on the top of Google also counts as digital marketing. Marketing your business or website online is digital marketing.
There are different kinds of digital marketing which may be overwhelming to new businesses, but there are cost-effective strategies that may be implemented in order to maximize the promotion of your business and website online with little to no cost.
Here are five strategies to market your business with little to no cost:
- Create a website
The first thing you need to do is to own some online real estate for your business. Online real estate means a space such as a domain where you can publish your website. Your website is your business’ online home. People may say that social media is a good way to display your business’ presence online but ultimately, customers who want more information about your business will always look for your website.
A study by BrightLocal shows a few noteworthy statistics on why having a website is important for businesses:
- To find contact details, 49% of consumers visit a business’ website.
- When looking for accurate contact details, 56% of consumers expect the business’ website to have the correct information.
- Before they decide on a local business to visit, 22% of consumers check a local business’ website.
There are a few ways to create a website for your business. You can study web design and make your own website, hire a professional digital marketing company to make a website for you or, you can create your own WordPress website.
When you create a WordPress website, you will be given several options on what kind of website to make. There is WordPress.com where a lot of the manual work is done for you and there is WordPress.org where you have more freedom over what you can do with your website.
When you have a WordPress.com account, the hosting of your website will be done for you. If you are using a WordPress.org account then, your website needs to find a web hosting service before you can begin. However, we will focus on creating a website via WordPress.com because it is easier to do.
The options for a WordPress website range from free to paid plans. Having a free plan is good if you’re just starting out but, you won’t have a lot of control over your website. Many helpful plug-ins, such as fixing your metadata, require a paid subscription.
If you’re using a free plan for your website with WordPress, you will notice that your address always ends with the words “.wordpress.com.”
Having a “sitename.wordpress.com” web address won’t be very helpful with getting your website placed on the top of Google’s search results pages. All the clicks that your website receives won’t go to you but, it will go to WordPress.
If you want to get your business’ name on top of Google’s result pages, you need to shell out a little bit of money. Luckily, WordPress has affordable payment plans wherein you can change your web address from a .wordpress.com site to a custom web address.
You can have a custom domain with a personal plan for as low as $60 per year or you can avail of an e-commerce plan that reaches about $500 per year.
Having your own web address is very important when it comes to getting indexed on Google. Indexing is what happens when Google places your web pages on its search results pages. When your website is indexed, you are taking the first steps to have a website optimized for search engines.
In order to get indexed, Google will send tiny little robots called crawlers who will skim through your website and look for pages on your website that are worth featuring on the search results. Once the robots have crawled through your website, it will index pages on Google and feature specific web pages for users to see.
The act of optimizing your website for search is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. You can look up guides from SEO companies such as C1-Partners. They have blogs and features all about digital marketing based on their experience as an SEO expert in the Denver area.
In order to get indexed on Google, you need to fill your website with good content. This leads to our next point.
- Blog on your website so you can fill it with content
Blogging helps attract more users to visit your website.
Now that you have your own website, the next to step is to put content that will make people click on your website.
The most important thing to know when blogging is to know what your audience wants. Before you write the first word on a blog, you need to know two very important things:
- Who is your audience?
- What kind of content is your audience looking for?
When you narrow down your audience, you will have an easier time creating content for them. Making good content doesn’t just give your audience a good idea of what your website is all about. Creating content will also help your website get indexed on Google.
Blogging gives your audience a closer look at your business
Users who visit your website will be interested in discovering information about your latest products. They won’t always find that in a short product description. Your audience will want to find an in-depth discussion of your business and a blog is a perfect venue to do so.
- Conduct Blog Outreach to link back to your website
One of the best strategies for marketing is to cross-promote your product. Cross-promotion is usually seen in tie-ins for movies and TV shows. McDonald’s has themed happy meals that tie in with the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Oprah gave away products to her audience members and much more.
The digital age has given us another form of cross-promotion with blog outreach. As the blogger, you approach other bloggers who share a similar business as yours. Talk to the blogger and ask them if you can write an article with a topic that is relevant to your niche. You can insert a small link that leads back to your website so that Google will see your website as a credible source of information.
When you send a link back to your website that means you are creating a backlink. The more websites link back to your website, the more Google will recognize your website as a trusted source of your niche.
When Google recognizes your website as a trusted source then, your website will have a higher chance of reaching Google’s first page.
Now that the inside of your website is being filled with content, the next thing you need to do is to go to where you can find your potential audience.
- Create social media accounts to engage with customers easily
Facebook, Twitter and, Instagram are some of the world’s most popular social media platforms.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. You’ve heard of at least one of these social media platforms. The four previously mentioned websites are just some of the many social mediums available today.
Social media can help your business because it makes it easier to communicate with users. What’s even better is that social media is free!
Think of social media as a form of customer service and advertising. What’s even better is that social media is free. You don’t have to pay in order to promote your latest sale. As a business, you’re able to share information on your sale with a Facebook post, Tweet or, Instagram post.
Another benefit of social media is that you can immediately respond to customer concerns and receive immediate feedback. If you want to take social media to another level, you can boost your posts so that more people can see it.
You can use targeted advertising to aim for a specific audience so that only the truly interested customers will purchase from you. Each social media platform has its own way of promoting items and you will need to study how each payment system differs.
Many of the platforms give you very easy-to-understand payment schemes but, it’s up to you to choose which platform is the best place to advertise posts.
Best of all, many of these social media channels have free analytics tools that give you a better understanding of how well your post is performing, how many people are interacting with the post and who it is reaching. You can break down the posts based on the audience’s age range, location and so much more.
When you know who your audience is, it will be easier to cater to their needs. Knowing your audience’s needs will make it easier to entertain their concerns. When you can handle your audience’s concerns, you’ll be able to create a better relationship with them.
We still recommend having a website for your business. But make sure that you create social media accounts as well to build trust with your audience which may turn into retention and additional purchases in the future.
- Register your business on Google so it’s easier to find
Setting up your local listing on Google is an excellent way to market your business and make it easier for customers to find you. Best of all, registering your business on Google is completely free.
When you enter any business on Google, you will observe a window that displays relevant information including the business’ name, contact details, and address. An optimized business would also have their website included so that users will have more information about where they are going.
An example of a registered business listing on Google.
You can register your business by going to Google My Business and you will be able to control the information card that displays your website, physical address and contact number. We would advise claiming your Google business listing to ensure that no one else is claiming ownership of your business,
When you register your business on Google, you will receive a physical postcard from Google. The postcard is one way of verifying your ownership of the business. Once Google receives the postcard from you, the listing should appear on Google any time someone enters your business’ name.
Here’s how to create a Google My Business listing:
- Log in to Google.com/business and click “Start Now.”
- Enter your business name to see if it is already listed.
- You might receive a notification that the business is already listed.
- After filling in your location details, move the Red Pin to the exact location of your business. Placing the red pin in your exact address will give your customers an easier time finding your store.
- Choose the category that fits your business the best and enter it in the box.
- Once you have chosen your business’ category, you can choose how you want to be contacted. Some of your options include giving a phone number or your website address.
- Google can approve your listing or deny listing. However, depending on the case, you could still appeal the decision.
What if my listing is already taken?
- If you receive this notification, click on “Request Access” once the message appears.
- Fill up the access form and specify what you want to do with the owner of the listing.
- You should be able to get in touch with the listing owner and you can coordinate with each other on how to claim your listing.
Filling up details of your business on Google will strengthen your online presence and you may be rewarded with a higher ranking on the search results pages.
Marketing online doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg
Marketing your business online doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many free options to choose from. Whether you’re on social media or on your own website, you can market your business online with ease.
- Make sure you have a website where you can showcase your brand through blogs.
- Reach out to brands who share a similar interest as yours.
- Ask if you could write blogs for them so you can link back to your website.
- Use social media so you can engage with customers easily.
- Register your business as a local listing.
The tips we mentioned earlier are free or low-cost options to market your business. You don’t have to spend a fortune to promote your business online.