Every business owner wants to put their products or services in front of their potential customers. However, most of the traditional ways cost money and not everyone can buy TV ADs when they are just starting up the business. Don’t worry as its still possible to successfully promote your business without spending a lot of money.
So to prove my point, I’m putting up together a list of 8 free ways to promote your business. These marketing ideas would not cost you money but require one time investment of your time.
Marketing Idea #1 – Optimize Your Website For Search Engines
What is the first thing that people do when they are planning to buy something? Well, they search for that product or service on Google.
First, they try to collect as much information as they can about the product and then they search for vendors who sell that product.
So, if your website is not appearing in Google search, that means you virtually do not exist.
How can we fix this?
The easy way is to hire someone who can optimize your website for search engines but even in that case you need to be aware of the process, otherwise, you might end up getting penalized by Google. For example, multiple broken links on your website and push your rank down on Google.
Its not very difficult to learn these techniques. Below are some links to get you started :
By reading these guides, you can tweak your website and rank higher on Google and other search engines. Even if you chose to hire an SEO agency, they won’t be able to fool you if you are aware of the process.
Marketing Idea #2 – List Your Products In Business Directories
Buyers search for vendors in popular business directories. If you sell B2B products, add a free listing on IndiaMart, Trade India and Indian Yellow Pages. These are popular business to business directories.
If you sell directly to customers, list free on Just Dial, Ask Me and Get It. These services offer mobile apps and attract huge traffic. You can list services as well on these sites for free.
If you sell Software then SoftwareSuggest is a very good directory. It lists softwares in various categories like HR, CRM, ERP, etc. I have listed our accounting software there and we get good response from that listing.
Marketing Idea #3 – List On Google My Business (Local Business Listing)
Google is making search personal and now displays results that are tailored for your location. For example, if you search for a McDonalds, it will show you the one in your city with a map. So, it has almost become mandatory for a business to get listed on Google Local.
Google has made it easy to add & manage your location on map. You can also manage your Google Plus profile from the same place. Just head over to Google My Business and claim your listing. If you don’t have a physical shop, you can even add your office location and give details about your business.
Marketing Idea #4 – Use The Power Of Social Media
We all know how our PM Modi leveraged the power of social media to win Lok Sabha polls in 2014. New York Times even called him social media politician and Business Todays wrote a case study on his social media strategies.
To start with, you should create profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. This will not only help you get more customers but you can engage them and get quality feedback from them about your products or services. ProfitBooks’ Twitter & FaceBook page alone amounts for 20% of our total traffic.
The frequency of your posts is the key here. If you post regularly, you will gain popularity and loyal subscribers who can convert to your customers at a later stage.
You can share your business updates or news related to your industry.
The best way is to follow the influencers in your industry and monitor their activity. Ideally, you should post twice a week on Facebook and 3-4 times a day on Twitter.
Marketing Idea #5 – Answer Questions
When people are stuck and looking to solve their pain point, they turn up to specific forums on the Internet. QnA sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers are popular places where you can find new customers. People also post their questions on Linkedin Groups.
So how can you benefit from it? Create accounts on these sites and start searching for your product or service. For example, I will search for ‘Accounting Software’ as I want to create awareness about ProfitBooks. You will get lot of questions related to your product. People might be asking about the top companies that sell this product or comparisons between different products and so on.
Start answering with the easy question and then move towards complicated questions. Again taking example of ProfitBooks, I searched for ‘Best Accounting Software‘ on Quora and got hundreds of questions around this topic. Then, I simply started answering and recommending ProfitBooks to users. We get a good amount of traffic every month via Quora.
You can do the same on Yahoo Answers and Linkedin Groups. All these 3 networks are very influential. Best part is, these sites are indexed by Google. So, your answers will appear in Google search whenever anyone searches for it. Isn’t it great?
Just be sure to answer with an intention to help. Nobody likes hard selling 😉
Marketing Idea #6 – Attend Networking Events/Meetups
Events/Expos/Meetups are great places to expand your network and find new customers. Just search for “business events in (your city)” and Google with come up with list of upcoming events. Check AllEvents.in for events in various categories. Most of these events are free and attract customers as well as distributors/resellers/consultants.
Slowly, you will start to realize that people attend these events just to meet other people and the people you will meet there can turn into your customer. I had met one person in one these events and now that guy is our distributor.
Another site which I absolutely love is Meetup.com. In my city – Pune, lot of entrepreneurs, startup owners meet frequently using this site. I make it a point to attend as many meetups as I can during weekends. People coming to these meetups are open minded and are open to new ideas or partnerships.
You will be amazed to see the value you can get out of these events, so make sure you start attending these events on regular basis.
Marketing Idea #7 – Showcase Your Product on YouTube
Did you know that over 4 billion videos are played on YouTube daily? This number is growing every passing day. So, it makes a whole lot of sense to upload a video about your product or service right away! Best part is, this video will appear in search results as well giving your product more visibility.
How to get started? First decide what you are going to create. For products, a short 2 minute demo will work great and in case of service, you can record a testimonial by a client and upload it. YouTube offers nice tools to edit the uploaded video. For example, you can add narration or music, trim video and do much more.
Remember to use product name or related keywords in the title and description of the video. Once you have uploaded multiple videos, you can create a channel like one we have created for showcasing product tutorials. If you came come up with interesting content that can go viral, you will hit the jackpot and leads will flood your inbox.
Marketing Idea #8 – Offer A Deal On Groupon
This is how it works – You will contact Groupon and their executives will meet you at your office. Then, you have to agree on a good discount (more than 30%) and a commission percentage that will go to Groupon. Once this is done, Groupon will do the promotion for you. They have a huge database of registered users. The process will be more or less similar in case of other deal sites.
Now the big question – Will offering heavy discounts affect my brand? Well, every big brand out there is offering discounts in the name of Diwali offer, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and every small event you never cared about before. So relax and focus on getting customers.
There can be more than just 8 free ways of promoting your business. All you have to do is to think out of the box and be creative. Some of the tactics mentioned above will yield results instantly and some of them might take it weeks of months before you start seeing results.
If you don’t have big bucks to spend on marketing, you have to invest your time to promote your business. I’ve seen lot of businesses that succeeded with a ZERO marketing budget.
Do you have such idea? Feel free to share it with other readers in the comments below.
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