When you launch a new website, it’s nice if you have a big start-up fund backing you up, but few of us are so lucky. If you’re like most webmasters, you’re interested in getting your web business off of the ground on as low of a budget as possible, and that means that you’ll do anything you can to leverage free advertising sources to save money. Fortunately, the Internet provides plenty of options for getting the word out about your website with no budget at all.
Here are seven methods you may want to put some time energy into until you start pulling in profits.
1. Engage in Social Marketing
What do Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have in common? Setting up an account for each one of them is 100% free! And a smart social media campaign can generate a lot of exposure to your business.
To be clear, figuring out how to properly leverage social media can be tricky. How do you get people who are socializing to wander over to your website and buy, for instance?
Well, no one said free would be easy, but if you’re not setting up a Facebook page and Twitter handle for your business and engaging with your audience on a regular basis – while studying the latest social media techniques – you’re not trying hard enough.
Follow the leaders of your industry to see what they’re doing, and focus on building genuine relationships with your audience.
2. Maintain a Regular Blog
Adding a blog to your website is one of the best, most powerful forms of free advertisement available to you online. It’s completely owned by you, so no one can take it away, and if you blog the right way, you can generate quite a bit of steady traffic from long-tail SEO.
Target subjects readers are actually seeking information out there, generate a steady stream of content, and Google will often reward you. You can also generate additional traffic to your blog by leveraging social media tools to get your articles out there. And because it’s your own platform, you have total control and can discuss your own products and services as much as your readers can bear.
Focus on building a following of people who read all of your articles and many will turn into loyal buyers of your products and services as well.
3. Get to Guest Posting
Guest posting is one of the quickest ways to advertise your website and get free traffic out there. Think about it for a second – all the biggest, most successful websites in your niche, the ones getting masses of traffic every single day, can be your parters as long as they accept guest posts. This is a chance for you to step into the forefront of your industry from day one.
Create a good enough reader response to get invited back on a regular basis and you may not even need other traffic sources. Just make sure your website is up to par as well because you want to capitalize on that traffic and create as many regular readers as possible.
4. Get Listed in Online Directories
There are a lot of free business directories online that may allow you to advertise your website for free, depending on what type of site you’re running. Results here can vary, but if you put up a listing and it gets clicks, every bit counts.
5. Article Syndication
Have you ever heard of article syndication? Surely you know about article directories like EzineArticles. Maybe you’ve even heard of the old-school concept of article marketing, where people posted their articles on these sites hoping to gain backlinks and pick up some clicks.
While that tactic isn’t as effective as it once was, article directories are still great for their original purpose – which is to get articles syndicated. Essentially, that means getting other webmasters who are hungry for content to post your article on their website, with your link still intact.
If you write good enough articles, you can get them syndicated on some pretty authority sites and enjoy a decent stream of traffic. You can also contact webmasters who accept syndicated content and email them directly to forge a relationship. Approach in much the same manner as you would a guest posting opportunity.
Syndication can be very powerful if you put a lot of energy into marketing your work; many modern marketers leverage it for the entire foundation of their business.
6. Forum Signatures
Most forums are free too, and these are great places to generate some traffic for your website if forum signatures are allowed. I personally love advertising this way too because it provides me an opportunity to do something I love – talk about my niche with like-minded people – while at the same time getting clicks on my signature.
As always, enter into any forum treading as lightly as possible. Get warmed up to the forum’s special personality and culture before blabbing, and you might even consider holding off on your signature until you’ve established a reputation.
7. Trade Your Services
Here’s an idea you may not have considered – how about engaging in a bit of bartering to get paid advertising spots for your website free of charge? Do you have services or skills you could offer another webmaster for a banner ad on their website? Writing or design, perhaps? Even a temporary ad, if it performs well, may give you the boost you need to get started.
Wrack your brain and think of all the people you know with traffic-generating sites in your niche and contact them to see if there’s something you can work out. If anything, it might lead to a few side gigs to generate an advertising budget.
Keep in mind that free is not always the best way to go. Paid advertising can quickly provide a steady stream of traffic, if done correctly, and revolutionize your business. If you are going to go with free advertising, however, don’t do it half-heartedly. There is plenty of information all over the web available so you can learn how to use these resources the right way.
Devote yourself to learning how to use them properly and then give them all the time and energy you can muster. In a sense, free isn’t really free – because you have to pay with your blood, sweat, and tears.
But it is possible to use the above marketing tactics to advertising your business and get things flowing, and then you can use some of your first profits to either outsource the work or invest in paid advertising.
Do you have a favorite free advertising method I missed here? Tell us about your experiences.