Looking for some simple ways to market your small business online that won’t break the bank? Here are 10 online marketing ideas you can implement right away that have the added bonus of costing you little or nothing.
- Get listed on local search directories. Any business that serves a local clientele needs to get listed on local search directories such as Google+ Local, Bing, Yelp, Citysearch and Local.com. Visit the sites to claim your free listing and fill it with relevant information such as address, phone number, hours of operation and directions to your business.
- Use keywords. The right keywords make a huge difference in your online marketing. Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, Keywordspy or SEMRush to find keywords customers are likely to use when searching for what you sell. Use these keywords on your website, blog, social media posts and local search directory listings.
- Spur social sharing. How much your content gets shared on social media is becoming increasingly important in boosting your search results. Cross-promote all your content (i.e., post something on your blog, link to it in social media and share it in your email newsletter). Use social sharing buttons on your website to make it easy for users to share.
- Use Google+. Adding Google+ to your social media accounts can help boost your search results. Sign up for a free Google+ Business Page and provide information about your business, using keywords that are relevant to your customer base.
- Send Twitter offers. Use Twitter to share short-term specials, discounts and deals and drive traffic to your business or store. For example, a restaurant can tweet a code for a discount lunch special at 11:30 when office workers are thinking about where to go for lunch.
- Make your email signature a marketing tool. Include your name, company name and address, website URL, phone number, social media addresses and calls-to-action (“Sign up for my free e-newsletter at [URL]”) under your email signature.
- Test pay-per-click ads. Pay-per-click ads let you narrowly target Internet users based on search terms, demographics and more. Best of all, you pay only when users click on your ads—and can keep your budget under control by setting a spending limit.
- Encourage online ratings and reviews. Many customers find businesses via online ratings and review sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List. Encourage your happy customers to post reviews; link to review sites on your website; post signs in your business that let people know what review sites you’re on; and put links or buttons on your website that make it easy for customers to review your business.
- Use landing pages. Any hyperlinks that you include in your email marketing messages or online ads should link not to your website’s home page, but to a specific landing page customized for that offer. When they arrive at the landing page, customers should know exactly what to do to act on your offer (click, fill out a form, buy now, etc.).
- Think mobile. You’ve already got a website for your business, right? Now make sure your website is optimized for mobile use. Responsive design ensures your site is viewable on any type of device or platform (i.e., Android, Windows, iOS). Consider adding click-to-call buttons so customers who find you via search on their phones can get in touch with you right away.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.