When it comes to marketing your business the approaches are endless, but many of them can be expensive and you may not see a concrete return on your investment. Short of resorting to old school tactics like sticking branded magnets on the side of your car or parading the streets wearing a cardboard sign, here are a few simple and easy ways to market your business online without breaking the bank.
Publish great content
If you publish original and relevant content on your website or social media channels you will attract an audience, it’s as simple as that. The SEO value of good content will ensure that you climb the ranks in Google Search and if you keep it interesting, people will share it. The tricky part, however, is understanding exactly who the audience is you want to attract and what makes great content; even trickier still, is knowing how to keep your audience connected so that you can convert them into a customer.
Get social media savvy
Other than time, being active on social media doesn’t need to cost you a cent, but the above still applies – your content must be interesting, relevant and aimed at the right people. Read this handy article on how to keep people from unliking your Facebook page.
Facebook and Twitter
On top of posting great content and using hashtags, if you have a small budget you can allocate spend to your social media marketing, for example, through Facebook Advertising. This allows you to promote your page or boost posts to a specific audience you can set yourself and, of course, monitor the results.
Using social media to run a simple online competition is another clever way to ensure your business is noticed. You can also advertise your products and services on Facebook groups in your area.
YouTube and Vimeo
Fact: 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it (comScore). Video can play a vital part in bolstering your marketing efforts. In particular, videos that offer something back to the viewer are widely very well received and can have a positive benefit for your brand. How about creating an informal instruction or ‘how to’ video?
Many companies are missing golden opportunities by not being active on LinkedIn. It’s a largely underestimated social network and there is massive value in joining relevant industry groups and networks, writing articles and connecting with people in order to promote your business.
Free Online Listings
It’s no secret that the more your company is mentioned on the Internet the more frequently you’ll show up in search results and the more people will visit your site. This is why it’s absolutely worth the admin to list your business on South Africa’s free listing sites. These include the more renowned BizCommunity, Junk Mail and Gumtree, as well as directories such as FindSABusiness.co.za, SAWebDirectory.co.za and Hotfrog.co.za.
MailChimp and Direct Marketing
Many people have mixed feelings about the effectiveness of email marketing, but it has known to work well for a number of organisations. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained. MailChimp is free if you have under 2,000 subscribers, so there’s little excuse not to venture here. Collect email addresses through a sign-up form on your website, or build a database from past contact directories and design a newsletter with a clear call to action that drives traffic back to your website.
Awards = recognition. Applying for online business awards is a very good use of your time and can have a ripple effect of positive engagement with your brand. In South Africa alone there are a number of awards which accept entries from small businesses. In particular the SA Small Business Awards and Entrepreneur of the Year Awards are worthy of note.
You could also take the plunge and enter global awards. Facebook has just introduced a small business category in their annual social media for business awards. What have you got to lose?
This article first appeared on Ignite Media.