Promoting your business is essential to creating awareness, driving traffic and ultimately, driving profit. Of course you know this, however, like many of us, we’ve got our eyes on overhead costs, budgets and other financial considerations. It quickly becomes a ctach-22. You want to get the word out about your business, but don’t always have the funds to do it.
Nor do you have the time to work with a business branding consultant or sort through the barrage of “what if’s.” What if the business promoting method isn’t legit? What if it’s too complicated? What if it doesn’t change your bottom line?
To help, here’s a list of 10 simple methods to promote your business for free.
1. Get Involved with Social Media
Chances are you’re already on common social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook for personal reasons. Consider doing for your business what you’re already doing with your friends.
They are free tools to keep you top of mind with your audience, interact with them and keep them updated not only with news about your business, but related topics that will keep them informed. Your regular posts will showcase your enthusiasm and expertise, further establishing you as a go-to resource that’s always in the know.
If, using Twitter as an example, you are unsure or hesitant about the hashtag world, visit Mashable’s “Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag” (http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/) and scroll down to the business and marketing subhead for easy-to-understand explanations. With the right hashtag, your message is instantly front-and-center of a very targeted (and likely more responsive) audience.
For example, if you run a physical therapy practice, simply adding #physicaltherapy at the end of your comment will be seen by everyone else who is specifically seeking information about the topic.
2. Create a Free Website with Weebly
You need not be a coding guru to create a website for your business.
Weebly.com http://www.weebly.com/ lets you easily create your own website with extraordinary ease. Its drag-and-drop interface allows you to create columns, upload and rearrange images and videos, insert text, add hyperlinks and much more.
It’s hosted by Weebly.com entirely for free, you build it for free, get your own Weebly.com domain name at no charge (yoursite.weebly.com) and (it gets better) Weebly.com does not clutter your page with ads. Zip. Zero.
Weebly.com also has a variety of website themes ranging from artsy, geometric backgrounds to more conservative, clean styles so you can blanket your business with a fitting appearance.
3. Send Out News with Free Press Release Sites
Free sites like http://www.freepressrelease.com/, http://www.prlog.org/ and npr.org allow you to upload your news, then they take care of distribution for you. Of course, providing truly newsworthy information is key (info about your company’s first picnic likely won’t be accepted, but a piece on how your company raised significant funds to benefit a cause will be).
Most press release distribution sites allow your release to be indexed on major search engines, have keyword listings and lead to a Google News presence . . . all for free.
Submitting releases are easy. NPR.org, as an example, has a drop-down menu titled, “What I want to do.” To get there, go to the “contact” section at the bottom of their home page, choose “submit story idea or press release” and you’re on your way.
4. Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation
You are your own best promoter and often, it’s a matter of reaching out to a former colleague, friend or current business partner and asking them to let others know what you offer.
On LinkedIn, ask for a recommendation. That’s different from getting an endorsement (a quick check of a button allows contacts to confirm you are indeed proficient in public speaking, fitness or law for example). A recommendation let’s others in your network see that someone took the time to offer a lengthier explanation of how your business helped them in some way, further building your company’s visibility.
5. Create Free Business Cards at VistaPrint.com
Check out vistaprint.com, click the business card section and then select the “free” option to create cards that include all company information, including your website. There are also over 40 designs to select.
6. Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
Really, help a reporter out. At no charge, you simply subscribe to receive regular email queries from reporters who are on deadline. HARO lets you select your area of interest based on your line of business. Then you sit back and watch the queries come in.
Everything from news outlets seeking professionals to comment on best veterinary practices to producers in need of restaurant owners can be found. If they use your response, your name (or you personally) and company may appear on a major television network or in a prominent publication.
7. Submit Links to Digg.com
Digg is an internet resource that delivers information based on user submissions. Simply go to digg.com, click “submit a link” and put people in touch with one of your website pages or just-written blog post.
8. Blog with WordPress.com
WordPress.com is a publishing platform that allows you to custom design your blog or website for free. Use widgets, upload pics, and choose from themes galore, then blog about all things related to your business.
If you’re lucky, your blog will be chosen by the powers that be at WordPress and highlighted on their main page as a featured “freshly pressed” blog. If not, you still gain good visibility by regular blogging.
Non-techies be warned: it’s more involved than Weebly, but definitely worth looking in to.
9. Comment on Other Blogs
Don’t stop at reading another person’s blog. If you found their post informative, leave a comment. When you do, the author may thank and mention you in their next post. At the very least, everyone else leaving and reading comments will likely peruse yours, which can lead to new blog subscribers.
10. Cross Promote
This one’s along the lines of, “I’ll help you if you help me.”
Very simply, email another business contact or client and ask them about putting your company’s logo on their site that links to your home page. In return, you’ll put theirs on your site. Win-win.