Starting a new business can be difficult, especially when you don’t have contacts or a big enough budget. How are you supposed to spread the word, if you can’t pay for advertising?
Well my friend, today, you’ve got nothing to fear. The internet has changed the face of advertising and made it a lot more effective and cost friendly. In fact, you can even promote your business for free in multiple ways.
If you’re an entrepreneur, trying to get your business in the limelight, look no further. Keep reading for some tips on how to promote your business without spending a single penny.
#1. Create a Web Presence
This may sound simple, but it’s the most important step of all. The internet has incredible reach, and if you don’t have a web presence for your business yet, you’re missing out! Start off by making a website for your business, with all its details. You can do this for free using Wix.
It’s also wise to create Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page for your business. These are where people nowadays look for services the most. So, make sure these pages have all the correct information about your business and is updated regularly.
Of course, these are platforms that require money for direct advertising. But you can also promote your business for free by using normal posts, live feeds, and stories. Send everybody you know invites and follows, and gradually build up your followers.
#2. Make the Most of Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is basically every local startup’s best friend. It acts as a free business listing, that lets people in your area find you easily. You know how when you search for the word “gym” on google you get all the options in your area? It’s all thanks to GMB!
The first step is to claim your GMB page. Fill out all your information properly -like the address, contact details, opening and closing hours, etc. This will help you appear in Google search and let customers know that you are a legitimate business.
GMB also lets you add photos and reviews. The best way to improve your ranking is to ask your best customers to leave good reviews and upload lots of photos of your service. Having a higher ranking will automatically give you an upper hand over the competition.
#3. Delve into Blogging and Search Engine Optimization
Blogging is a great way to get free advertising for your business. For this to be successful though, you’ll have to do a little research on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With SEO, you’d basically be using all the most popular search terms in your articles to gain more traffic.
However, your content must be relevant and good quality. Through your writing, you can then add back link to products, services, and even your own business page. This is a more indirect method of advertising, but it actually works wonders.
#4. Write Guest Articles for Established Blogs
Once you get into the world of blogging and SEO, you’ll realize that there are a lot of established blogs or websites that have high traffic. So, a good way to divert attention to your own blog is by writing guest posts for them and adding in your own backlinks.
This not only promotes your business, but it also increases your ranking in search engines. And it’s a win for the website as well because it’s getting additional content for free. Be on the lookout for websites that want guest writer, and pick topics you are familiar with.
You can get a better understanding of a website’s reach using tools like SimilarWeb and Moz. They give you statistics on traffic and performance over time.
#5. Be Active on Q/A Platforms
Platforms like Quora and Reddit are used by people to share genuine queries and discuss topics. It’s also a great way to advertise your business. However, promotion through suggestions should be done in a subtle way, and only after you’ve gained a trustworthy reputation.
You can also proceed by answering questions on topics related to your industry. For example, if you are a tech company, look for questions about computers and phones. If you can provide a satisfactory answer, your answer will be voted up and shared.
If you have your name and business title linked, and you answer a lot of questions related to tech, people will understand that your company has the proper expertise. It also highlights your company and gives people a trustworthy image. This essentially promote your business persona as well.
#6. Give Away Discounts, Offers, and Referral Programs
People are more likely to be interested in your company if you give them a good deal. At least for startups, it’s a good way to get people to try things out and build a customer base. And the easiest way to do this is through discounts and offers.
You can implement giveaway competitions that people must win by sharing and liking your posts. This is a great way for advertising and engaging with customers. Also, consider introducing a referral program.
Do you know how you get a discount on Uber rides if you send people invites? Do something similar for your own business. You can make referral cards or signing up forms that let you know who referred your business, so you can give them a freebie or discount.
#7. Use Email Marketing
Email Marketing is an age-old advertising method. Encourage your customers to sign up and send them newsletters about your business and any offers that are going on. If the content is useful, it will most definitely pique their interest.
You’ll often see this being used by Food Delivery apps. And you open those offers, don’t you? So why not consider the same marketing approach for your own business? However, don’t spam people with unnecessary emails, as this will create a negative image.
Make sure your email signature is linked with your business page and contact details. So, whenever you’re sending out normal emails, you’ll still be advertising on the low. You never know who might need your services, so there’s no harm it put it out there.
#8. Advertise on Craigslist
If you didn’t know, Craigslist is the ultimate advertising website. It has separate sections for everything and is a popular platform for people looking for services or products. Good news is, it also lets you advertise for free!
Advertising on Craigslist is kind of like advertising in your local newspapers. It’s fairly simple to use, but it does have a set of rules you need to follow. Make sure to Use catching Headlines, good quality pictures, and the right keywords.
#9. Communicate with an Audience
Sure, advertising nowadays is a lot about online presence. But the traditional methods where you communicate directly with people are still not a bad idea. With platforms like Youtube and Podcasts, this is a lot easier.
You don’t have to be physically present in front of the person, but you’ll still be promoting your business. How, you ask? Well, consider making some YouTube videos. If you own a fitness center, make a YouTube Channel and discuss important health-related topics.
Link all your details in the description boxes and talk about your business. Millions of people watch YouTube, so it’s a really great way to get people interested. You could also try to go on Business podcasts to talk about your company and promote it.
#10. List Your Business in Multiple Directories
Although Google is the first place you should hit, don’t stop there. List your business in as many online directories as possible. Yahoo, Bing, Linked In and even the Yellow Pages are great for putting your business on the map.
The more places you list, the more likely it is for customers to find your business. But you need to ensure that your information is updated and correct in every platform. To avoid inconsistencies in information, take the help of Yext. It scans the web for your business and updates accordingly.
You now know all the ins and outs of free advertising. While it may cost you nothing, it’s important to remember that you’ll have to be consistent with your work and invest a lot of time into it.
Some of these advertising methods are actually a lot more effective than traditional methods. With the era of digitization, people no longer watch at TV for ads. They’re more likely to just ask Google for advice.
In fact, you probably already use some platforms discussed above like Facebook and Twitter yourself. So, their advertising powers and worldwide reach is of no surprise.
Don’t let the lack of a budget stop you from achieving your dreams. Make smart, well-informed choices and spread the word about your business to promote it for free!