7 Free or Cheap Ways to Effectively Promote Your Business Online


October 14, 2009   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

As a business owner, sales person, or marketer, you should always be trying to find ways to drum up more business – especially with the current economic climate. Each dollar that you spend on marketing and advertising should show a return on your investment and produce results that can help increase your bottom line. Easy enough right?

While recent times have made many businesses tighten their belts on their spending, it’s extremely important to the success of your company to keep marketing your business in order to gain new customers and continue to generate revenue.

Luckily for marketers and business owners, there are several ways you can very affordably advertise your services and products online (many of which are free). Let’s go through a handful of them.

Twitter, Facebook & Social Sites
Connecting with your customers or potential customers is more important than ever. Take part in the conversations people are having about your industry or business by interacting with them on social networks.
Where to start: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn

Tips & Resources:
· 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business
· 32 Ways to Use Facebook for Business
· Using LinkedIn As a Small Business Owner

Whether you’re promoting products or offering your services, creating videos is an excellent way to attract new customers. Additionally, videos have a tendency to go viral and quickly reach a large audience.

Where to start: YouTube

Tips & Resources:
· YouTube Marketing – 11 Terrific Ways to Promote Your Business on YouTube
· How to use video to promote your small business
· How to Produce “Business-Quality” Online Video on a Small Business Budget

Blogs & Forums
Similar to social networks, blogs and forums are a great place to take part in creating a dialogue. You want to be resourceful, really help people, and provide valuable information in order to gain the maximum benefits of these mediums.

Where to start: Google Blog Search & Forums Relevant to Your Business
Tips & Resources: 10 Rules For Driving Traffic Using Forums

Press Releases
A great way to gain new customers is by creating press releases about your services, products, or business. Try and stay away from highly commercial press releases that simply show your company in a positive light. Instead, focus on a unique angle that will draw visitors’ attention to something you are doing or an interesting aspect of your business.

Tips & Resources:
· The New Rules of PR (PDF – 21 pages)
· 20+ Free Press Release Distribution Sites
· Online Press Release Checklist

Local Resource Sites & Classifieds
If you’re an offline business that is looking to promote your company, ensure that you are listed in all of the sites that relate to your local area. These can include newspaper sites, local portals or hubs, classifieds, and national sites that focus on local businesses like Yelp, CitySearch, or Yellow Page directories.

Where to start: Yelp, CitySearch, SuperPages.com, Google Local & Yahoo! Local, & Craigslist

Tips & Resources:
· List your business on Google Maps, Yahoo Local & More
· GetListed.org
· Local Search Ranking Factors
· A Look at Important Local Business Listing Attributes

Email Newsletters
Not only will building an email list help you connect more often with your customers, it is a great way to promote people who are extremely interested in your products or services. This can be one of your most powerful online marketing tools because you become less reliant on search engines and other ways of generating traffic to your site.

Where to start: Constant Contact, MailChimp, Aweber, and iContact

Tips & Resources:
· 5 Common Newbie Mistakes
· Choosing An Email Newsletter Provider
· 50 Ways to Get Email Newsletter Subscribers

Contests & Giveaways
To be successful with contests and giveaways, you need to give people things that are valuable and relate to your business or industry. The great thing about contests is that you can give your own products away and your only out-of-pocket expense will be your hard costs for the product(s)
Where to start: Promote them on blogs, forums, press releases, video, and newsletters

Tips & Resources:
· Anatomy of a Successful Blog Contest
· 14 tips for Twitter contests that build followers and brand visibility

+1 Bonus Tip: Start a Blog
One of the most beneficial and inexpensive ways to promote your site online is by creating a blog that compliments your business’ services and products. Not only does it give a chance for you to talk about new happenings in your industry, but it allows you to start connecting with people on your site – where you can promote your own business as much as you want.

Where to start: WordPress, Blogger, TypePad

Tips & Resources:
· Freelancers: Here’s Why You Need a Blog
· Does Your Company Need a Blog?

Written on 10/14/2009 by Big Manta. Big Manta writes tips aimed at helping people succeed online. He covers a wide variety of topics including: blogging, business, marketing and making money with the internet on his blog – BigManta.com. Photo Credit: Intersection Consulting

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