Start marketing your business on a budget

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Building an online presence for your business doesn't need to cost a fortune. Entrepreneur John Rampton details nine ways you can promote for free online, such as trying Google My Business and Yahoo Local listings, getting active in relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups and collecting reviews on Yelp and Angie's List.

8 Low-Cost Online Marketing Hacks

Every business owner can't afford to hire an expert marketing consultant team. For those of you who are simply too cash-strapped but need to get the word out about your business, you've come to the right place.

1. Create a Google My Business Page

This is a great way to boost your online visibility. This listing will make your business easy to find on Google Search and Google Maps. It will also allow Google+ users to easily review your business. As local business reviews increase, your search engine rankings will also improve. It would also be a good idea to add your business to the Yahoo Local listing.

2. Sign up for Online Reviews

Create a Yelp listing, it's free and gives you access to their impressive 140 million monthly visitors. Another great review sites is Angie's List, they charge users a small fee but listing your business is free.

3. Fire Up Social Media Networking

Find relevant LinkedIn and Facebook groups which have active users. Posting on such pages will give you access to all these users. You don't need to join a ton of these, remain focused on three or four at the most. Offer solid advice and feedback. You will build a reputation of trust and boost brand visibility among like-minded people.

4. Turn Social Media into a Promotion Machine

Yes this is possible; all you have to do is put in a little effort into it. Here are some basics you need to implement:
  • Create your own Facebook group for information sharing in your product niche/industry.
  • Create a Facebook page for your own business and use your group connections to grow your user base.
  • Offer exclusive discounts to your Facebook users. You can use creative images to promote your offers; this makes it sound less salesy.
  • Offer a consultation session to your prospects, it will help establish trust.
  • Monitor social media sites and track your brand mentions. Social Mention is a great social listening tool.
  • Post great content (See #5).

    5. Create Interesting and Informative Content

    The right content requires creativity and thoughtful consideration. Learn the needs of your potential customers and focus on informing rather than promoting. Content marketing is not a direct sales pitch and involves planning and time. Here are some basics tips you can follow:
    • Share information about your industry using infographics. You don't need to be an expert at Photoshop, you can easily use tools such as Canva and Piktochart to create stunning infographics in minutes.
    • Contribute to guest posts to well-known blogs in your industry niche.
    • Set up a Quora account and contribute answers to help out people and make new connections.
    • Host a free webinar on your website. Most of the software required to do this are quite expensive, a low-cost ($97) option is to use a WordPress plugin such as WebinarIgnition. I also like using Blab!
    • Boost the power of your social signals by installing tools like the WordPress plugin, Share Buttons. This will let your blog readers easily share your content across multiple platforms.

      6. Reach Out to Industry Influencers

      Email a few influencers in your product niche and ask them for advice. An easy way to initiate communication is to send them a detailed testimonial about their products or services. People love reading thoughtful feedback and might even post your comments on their website.

      Additionally you can also leave your comments on relevant blog posts, you can include your URL in the proper field. Try to use the name of your business or your real name when commenting. Avoid using keywords as anchor text.

      7. Co-Sponsor Contests and Giveaways

      Partner with a complementary business and co-sponsor a giveaway or contest. It is a win-win situation for all participating businesses. You will get access to each other's audience base with minimum effort. You can kick it up a notch and list the contest to other sweepstakes sites.

      8. Generate Free PR

      Sign up with Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and generate free PR. You can respond to any relevant media queries and get mentions in major publications.

      Look up the most active forums with members who are connected to your industry. Join these and respond to any open questions; be polite, kind and helpful to build up a great reputation. Do not spam these forums with links to your website. Any contribution should be meaningful and interesting. If you're in a service industry (freelancer, programmer, doctor, lawyer, investment banker etc.) you can become an expert in no time.

      The days of massive marketing budgets are gone; the Internet seems to have leveled the playing field. Take advantage of this and start planning your online marketing campaign now!

      (Courtesy of