Your small business is not huge yet, is it? To promote it you need. The question “How to promote my business?” answer here I will.
If you already run a small business (or planning to start one soon), you should realize better than anyone else that the hardest thing to do is get noticed at first. This is where most small businesses break, not being able to struggle for their existence.
Even substantial amount of money spent on advertising and promotion sometimes does not help. Why? Because money spent is not necessarily money spent wisely – same for time.
Here in this article, I will try to answer the question “How do I promote my business?” and give you some practical tips and tricks that you can use to start promoting your business right after finishing reading my blog post.
“What I don’t have much money to promote my business?” you may ask. Good question.
I do realize that your budget may be limited – most ways that I describe here are either free or low-cost, which means they are quite universal and will come in handy for any type business.
Three Main Ways How to Promote My Business Online – Overview
Despite the numerous other classifications, I would typically pick three main ways of promoting your business online, which are as follows:
- creating a website
- using social media
- increasing your online presence
Let’s go through them all in detail.
Creating a Website to Promote Your Business Online
Chances are you have already thought about it (or even done it in some way). Having a website these days is not a matter of choice – it’s rather a necessity. People would want to quickly learn about your business and probably get something from you by visiting your website.
Let’s see what steps you need to go through when creating it.
1. Create and Register Your Website
It doesn’t take a world-class specialist to create a website, really. Most steps can be done by you yourself even without the help from freelancers.
- define, what type of website would fit your business better (to learn more about website types, read this article “Different Types of Websites and Their Purposes”)
- use popular services, such as WordPress or Wix, to build a website based on ready-made templates and easy-to-follow guides
- use the GYBO (Get Your Business Online) website to get more information on creating and promoting websites
- register your website’s domain name via one of the major services (GoDaddy, for example) – try to create a name that somehow captures the essence of your business in a short (and sometimes funny) way
2. Build Content on Your Website
Now that you have a template set for your website, you should fill it with information that will be useful for your future visitors and potential customers, i.e.:
- basic description of who you are and what you do
- information about your products/services
- business hours
- contact information (phone, email, etc)
- special offers/promos your currently have
Oh, and did I mention that this information should be well-structured and easy-to-find?
Regarding the content of your website, you might want to check this post of mine called “What is Content Marketing: Guide to Successful Content Strategy.”
3. Share Your Website Address with Everyone
In addition to the natural process of your website appearing in Google (or another search engine for that matter) search results, you should actively promote it yourself on your business cards, brochures, receipts, invoices, menus etc.
4. Start a Blog
A blog is a great way to connect with your audience and share information with them – your news, announcements, stories, and promotional stuff in between.
Also, blogs help drive organic traffic to your website (as opposed to paid traffic, which you have to pay for, obviously).
5. Update Your Website Content Regularly
If there’s no new content on your website, people may think you’ve gone out of business. Be active – add new content regularly and always keep the information on your website up to date.
Don’t get too overexcited, though. People wouldn’t want to get spammed with your updates every 5 minutes – there’s always a fine line.
6. Employ SEO Techniques for Your Website
SEO (search engine optimization) is a process of driving more organic (natural, non-paid) traffic to your website. This is a huge thing worth another article, if not a book.
I don’t have a book on SEO but I do have an article – “On-Page SEO Checklist: How to Build a Perfectly Optimized Website Page.” Check it out to learn the basics of on-page SEO.
7. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
People will definitely open your website on the go, from their smartphones – that’s why you need to make sure they’re comfortable while browsing it.
Optimizing your website for mobile devices is a must. Here’s Google’s own tool that will scan your web page to see if it’s mobile friendly and give recommendations.
Using Social Media to Promote Your Business Online
Social media is getting more and more influential in terms of marketing due to its overbearing reach and overwhelming presence. Your business will only benefit from going social.
Here are the steps you should undertake.
1. Utilize Various Social Networks, Not Just Facebook
There’s a great variety of social networks out there – consider using some of them, if you think there might be some of your potential customers.
- Google Plus
I probably should also include YouTube – even though it’s technically not a social network, most businesses treat it as such.
2. Use Niche Social Media Services
Facebook and Instagram are more or less universal. Yet, there are social media services that are tailored to a specific audience/purpose, e.g. finding a place to stay – like TripAdvisor.
Getting listed on such services is a high-priority task for your fledging business as they allow a very natural way of customers’ getting in touch with your business.
3. Connect Not Only With Your Customers
The best way to get more attention on social media is to have a lot of friends. But customers (current or potential) are not your only friends – there are also vendors, suppliers, partners, similar businesses, or even competitors.
The benefit is always mutual, so don’t be afraid of adding these people/companies to your social media presence, especially on LinkedIn.
4. TALK to People
Well, of course, you’re already doing it, right? What I mean here is “talk to people on social media.” Thank them for joining/liking your page, respond to their comments (negative or positive), ask them questions yourself.
Social networks are all about communication, so please communicate with your fans – they will love it. And if you’re doing it right, they will spread the good word about your business, thus helping promote it the most natural way – by word of mouth.
5. Post Diverse Content
Nothing can make your social media post better than a picture or a video. People are too bored to read nowadays – they want to have more multimedia content.
Consider adding pictures and/or videos to your social media presence, in addition to the regular text posts. A great picture or video can sell more than any line of text with a link can ever do.
Increasing Your Online Presence to Promote Your Business
There can’t be too many customers, right? Therefore, you need to make them aware of your business on the largest scale possible. This is where some expenses may come in.
1. Advertise Your Business Online
It’s really sad to say but everything on the Internet revolves about advertising. Google, Facebook, and other Internet giants are, in fact, nothing more than huge advertising agencies disguised as social networks or search engines or whatever.
These companies offer PPC (pay per click) advertising – a type of advertising, in which you place the so-called sponsored results (or banners) amongst the organic, non-sponsored content. You pay only if someone actually clicks on your ad.
PPC ads also allow a great deal of targeting, which is also good for young businesses.
Learn more about PPC ads on Google here.
2. Get Listed on Various Listing Services
Think of these as of yellow pages of the Internet. Unlike the real-life yellow pages, these listing services feature user rating as one of their major criteria so you’d better treat your customers right and provide excellent service.
Here are some of the most notable listing services:
- Yelp (general)
- Booking (traveling)
- TripAdvisor (traveling)
- Angie’s List (miscellaneous services)
- Open Table (restaurants)
4. Use Email Marketing
Allow your visitors and customers to leave their email on your website – to stay notified of any good offers you might have or other relevant and useful information.
Emails are just another way of reaching out to your audience, and quite an effective one.
Generally, people would use an email marketing service to run this kind of things – MailChimp, for example.
“How to promote my business?” is the question that all entrepreneurs ask themselves. Now you’ve got some answers.
The right thing to do would be share this article with your friends on the social networks – just click on one of the icons of social media, it’s that easy.
If you have further questions on the subject, please write them in comments – I’ll be glad to answer.
Start undertaking the actions I’ve mentioned here or continue to read more on my blog – there’s lots of good stuff here. Good luck!