If you're starting a new business or money is tight, use these 3 inexpensive ways to promote your business online to generate site traffic. Hopefully once you get visitors to your website, you can convert visitors into sales or leads and reap the rewards of the time you've spent marketing online.
Best 3 Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Business Online
The internet offers many free and low cost ways to promote your business. The only investment you need to make into each of these three activities is your time.
Improve Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best way to attract visitors to your website. The higher your site rises in the rankings of major search engines such as Google and Yahoo, the better the chance that visitors will click through the link to your website.
Veronica Fielding, an SEO expert, recommends using a combination of free methods and paid Google advertisements, but you can also make tweaks to your website to improve your search engine rank. Research and use relevant keywords in the copy on your website and make sure the meta tags on the site include the target keywords. Update your website frequently; frequent updates help with search engine rank. So too do links into the site from other sources, especially news sources, so try to encourage other website owners to link into your website.
Article Marketing and Blogging
Article marketing and blogging are two different methods of using the written word to promote a business online.When using article marketing, business owners write or hire a writer to write short articles of approximately 500 to 1000 words about a topic related to their business. Such articles are posted to websites like Ezine.com. In exchange for the article, Ezine provides a "resource box" at the end of the article. The author can include a brief advertisement for his or her credentials, products or expertise. Such articles brand writers as content experts and increase the numbers of links into their websites, which improves search engine rank. A garden center owner, for example, may write a series of articles about composting. At the end of each article he includes a paragraph about the garden center and a link to their special compost tumblers. The goal is to increase traffic to the website and sales of compost tumblers. Most article marketing sites provide rich metrics so article marketers can judge whether or not their efforts paid off, which articles performed best and which keywords drew the most traffic.
Blogging offers slightly different benefits from article marketing. Blogs may feed directly into a website; if updated frequently enough, it helps search engines recognize the website has been updated frequently, which boosts SEO score. Blogs offer a more personal platform to share ideas and thoughts with the general public. They can be linked in blog networks to build traffic and create a community-like feel among readers.
Both article marketing and blogging offer benefits. If you dislike writing or do not have much talent for it, you can hire a writer.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Plurk and many others offer the opportunity to reach many potential customers. The secret to using social networking sites for promotional purposes is to always keep in mind that people join such sites primarily for the networking. They want to connect with you as a person or learn more about a brand; it's ineffective to jump right into sales pitches. Instead, cultivate networks, friendships and shared interests on social networking sites. Build a repertoire of industry or product specific posts that are helpful rather than hard-sell. Over time, you will develop enough of a rapport with your fan base and they won't mind the occasional sales pitch or new product announcement. Among the 3 inexpensive ways to promote your business online, social networking may give you the greatest opportunity to forge new connections and strengthen your ties with current customers.
Promotion: Messages Come First
The secret to effective marketing and promotions isn't how much money you spend or where you advertise. It's all in the message. If your marketing messages are disjointed, incoherent or unrelated to the actual product and customer experience, your marketing won't be effective no matter how much money you spend. Conversely, you can spend very little on your marketing and get big results if you focus your messages on your company's core value proposition. Always ask, "How do I help my customers?" and focus on the benefits you offer your customers, not the product or company features. The more benefits you can communicate about your product or service, the stronger your overall marketing will be.