You might not have a lot of cash to invest on marketing in early stages of your startup, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t effective methods for getting your brand out there.
Before the Internet, smaller businesses only had a few ways to market their products inexpensively, through methods like printing out fliers or sponsoring little local events. Now there are many opportunities out there on the Web—you must know where to seem.
Here are seven ways to promote your business online that won’t cost that you simply dime:
1. Use the 3 big local listing services
Registering your business with Google Places allows it found more easily on Google searches and it also shows up on Google Routes. All you have to do is complete the form and register, then buy your business verified through their evidence process, which can be done either with a phone call or snail mail. Yahoo! also has a major database of businesses called Askjeeve! Local. It’s free and is certainly worth the few minutes it takes to build. Microsoft’s Bing has a similar service that’s easy to join up for.
2. Embrace social mass media
Social media isn’t just a power tool to gain exposure—it has now become a necessary time investment for every business to make. You can tie in ads and offers on your Facebook page and have a direct channel with your clients on Twitter. Networking on LinkedIn—both for the personal and company level—can be another approach to help your startup.
3. Start a blog
A blog not only helps your business get its name out as a result of followers, but is a approach to connect with your consumers additional directly. But remember that one of the major keys of blogging should be to keep your stream updated as frequently as you can. A dormant, abandoned blog may be worth nothing.
4. Put up multimedia on YouTube and Flickr
YouTube comes with a free way to distribute inventive promotional videos, but in order to ensure success you must put up content that folks want to view and are tightly related to your business—a simple ad will never work. A Flickr profile may also help by giving you one spot to compile all the photos to your business, and allows you to link back aimed at your website.
5. SEO your company website
Search engine optimization cannot be underestimated in the world of constant Googling. Pick up a book or head onto an online how-to-guide on SEO and ensure that your site is primed for performance on search engines like google.
6. Press releases
Every time your business does something newsworthy, don’t hesitate to shoot down a press release—maybe folks will detect it. They’re a powerful media tool to work with to help generate publicity, and having free distribution advisors is a bonus. There are dozens of websites out there useful for your press releases, including PRLog and 24/7 Press Launch.
7. Join a relevant network and contribute
Every niche has communities online you could get involved in. But just signing up for a forum and posting every from time to time about your business isn’t good for anyone, and will likely simply annoy people. Actively contribute and develop a rapport with the community, while keeping your business from it. Passively promote your business by putting a hyperlink in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate.