10 ways to promote your business for free
As a small business owner, you may not have the money to spend thousands on an advertising campaign. But, fear not - you can do a lot without spending any money at all.
To effectively boost your business for free, it just takes creativity and effort. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.
Deliver high-quality content
Content is king. So, it’s important to make content as useful and engaging as possible. Whether you’re writing a blog or simply posting product information, your customers want to read high-quality information.
How to structure your content
- Avoid huge blocks of text - separate points with headings and bullet points. Your readers should be able to gauge the full structure of the content through your headings.
- Avoid ‘fluffiness’ - you have less than five seconds to capture people’s attention, so make it count. Make your content straightforward and to the point.
- Use questions to address the reader - when reading content, we want to feel like the writer is talking to us. A good way to achieve this is through a question and answer format.
The more engaging your content, the higher your customers will regard you - and so will Google. If your content answers specific questions in a useful way, Google will rank your page higher so you become more visible to more people. Plus, if your content is seen to be informative and credible, so will your brand and customers will be more likely to promote your business for you.
Don’t over clutter your website
Make sure your website is user friendly - more than one-third of visitors will leave a site if the layout is poor. Color choices, graphics and even the overall layout of the site’s functions can cause issues for certain users. You need to deliver a good visual and functional experience for everyone visiting the website.
Your company details, contact details and product pages should be easy to navigate to. The less hassle it requires to get to your products, the more likely it is that your website visitors buy them. If in doubt about your website’s navigability, ask someone who’s never used your website before to have a look around and give you feedback.
More than 54% of people use their mobiles to browse the internet today. So, don’t alienate half your audience by ensuring your website is mobile friendly.
- Use the correct image sizes for desktop and mobile
- Don’t use Flash video, as mobile devices don’t work well with Flash
- Don’t overfill your navigation bar
- Make sure your content is short and to the point
- Make sure your content leads with benefits to the reader
- Use large buttons for your action links, as they’re easier for thumbs to tap
Create relationships with established bloggers
Building relationships with relevant bloggers who already have a vast audience can be extremely beneficial to your business. Not only can you write for their blog to give you access to their audience, but you can also generate more awareness of your website and your brand through regular contributions, which will establish credibility of your blog and your business.
Shout about your business by publishing press releases
Press releases are a great way to keep your audience up to date with what’s going on in your business’s world. These can range from you winning an award, to local coverage of a news story that directly correlates with your business. An example of a press release for business can be found here
Get your name out there by joining business forums
By entering forums such as UKBusinessForums.co.uk and Quora, you can make sure that you are involved in any and all small business discussions. By participating in forums, you can ask any business related questions you may have and also get your business’s name out there by responding to queries you feel qualified to answer.
Stay relevant by writing about news-related topics
If you’re stuck for content ideas for your website, blog or social media channels, all you need to do is take a look at what is headlining in the news, and if you’re able, connect your business to that news. For instance, a shoe shop could write a response piece to the news that green shoes are going out of fashion.
By doing this, there’s an opportunity that their content will be read and shared by more people, off the back of the piece relating to current news. You can also use this tactic to promote your products or services, by mentioning them in the news content you create.
Add your website to online directories
By adding your website to as many online directories as feasible you are making it easier for your customers to find you on the web. By doing this you also help your website appear in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines when a potential consumer is looking for a business with your services.
Yelp is a great directory to be added to, with over 60 million registered users and over 20 million reviews - it is still the central hub of a social review platform. Restaurants make up over 75% of all the listings on this site, so if your small business is in the hospitality/culinary industry - this is the directory where people are most likely to find you.
Ask people to leave reviews
Be it on TrustPilot or Trip Advisor, your customers will be reading reviews that satisfied or unsatisfied customers have left you. If you know that you have provided an excellent service, ask your clients to leave online reviews of their experience of doing business with you. By doing this, new customers can get a feel of what kind of service you provide before they buy.
Create a referral scheme
The best way to promote for free is by getting your customers to do it for you. Word of mouth may be one of the oldest advertising techniques, but it can also be one of the most effective. So, get your customers to spread the word by offering rewards to them for referring your business to their friends.