The words “online marketing strategy” can make you imagine big numbers and high costs…
Yet the beauty of the internet is that there are many ways to find more customers online for no cost at all.
Here are 10 ways to promote your business online for free:
1) Boost your website SEO
If you run your own business, optimising your website for search is a critical step in promoting your business online.
You need to do proper keyword research and write proper titles and meta descriptions for every page as well as optimise your page content.
Before buying a franchise, you will want to know where the responsibility for your SEO lies:
Will you be in charge of optimising your website? Or will your overall franchise owner?
2) Try out Facebook
While Facebook’s recent algorithm updates have made it harder to get found in news feeds (unless you pay), it’s still a completely free advertising option which remains suitable for businesses in almost any industry.
3) Interact with influencers on Twitter and Instagram
Twitter and Instagram let you interact with influencers and industry experts even more easily than Facebook does. The role of influencers on Instagram, in particular, is huge.
Connecting with big brands and niche names can help you become known as an authority in your industry.
4) Run social competitions
Leveraging the power of social media is most easily done with simple competitions.
The classic “follow, like and share to win” on Facebook is the perfect example of this.
Just be sure not to spend too much on the prize you giveaway if you do this on a regular basis!
5) Get started with email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to promote your business online for free. If, that is, you can gather enough email addresses to make it worthwhile.
Adding an email sign-up option to your site is an easy way to start. A pop-up is becoming more and more the standard. But do be wary of making it pop up at annoying times.
Be sure that your emails actually offer something of value to your audience too, whether it’s a news round-up with useful info or vouchers.
Also, be wary of becoming spam. People will quickly hit “unsubscribe” if you fire constant emails at them.
6) Generate reviews
Google reviews appear to have a role to play in boosting the SEO rankings of your site (how far up you appear in Google search results).
But whether it’s the reviews section of your own website, Google or a platform like TrustPilot, an increasing number of people (usually estimated to be over 80%) trust online reviews so you’ll want to have a good score there.
Be sure to ask for reviews when you want them. Most people won’t leave a positive review unless prompted.
7) Get involved in discussions on social media, forums and blogs
Choose a (possibly local) online community relevant to your industry and start to join the discussions.
Picture someone who’s posted on a community forum about what to do with their broken shower, for example. As a plumbing business, commenting with some free advice makes you look good while also making it clear you know your stuff – the perfect company to hire to fix the problem.
It’s a more passive online promotion tactic. Certainly, be wary of the temptation to post constant adverts.
8) Create content
Writing a blog and creating other content is an important part of promoting your business online.
There’s a reason why everyone and their dog seems to have a blog these days – they work.
Again, if you’re a franchisee rather than a business owner, you need to know who is going to be responsible for creating content.
9) Spread word of your blog
However, it can be difficult to get your brilliant blog the readership it deserves when you’re starting out. Consider:
- Posting links to your new posts on social media
- Using blogging platforms like Medium
When you do, be sure that you’re re-posting content in a way which won’t get you flagged by Google’s duplicate penalty system…
A simple “This article was originally posted on x” will suffice for LinkedIn. Similar practices can be found elsewhere.
10) Video, video, video
Video content is currently in.
It’s not too hard to make decent videos either. Just be sure not to create old-school television-type adverts. Instead, you want to focus on the kind of how-to videos and topics you might cover in your blog.
Most good franchise opportunities should come with some kind of marketing plan included. This might include national-level video advertising campaigns.
But be sure that your franchisor also knows the value of short, educational video content like this:
YouTube and Flickr are great platforms on which to promote your business online for free. Not only do they provide yet another place you can get searched for and found, but video content also adds SEO value to your website.
It’s a free online marketing strategy two-for-one.