Getting your business online is one thing, but making it stand out from the millions of other businesses on the Internet is another.
Advertising is the process of making your business more visible to potential clients or customers.
Many firms offer professional advertising packages to new and established companies, but these come at a price. The Internet also offers lots of free methods to get that exposure, but you will have to do some work.
So, if you are just getting started with a business and on a tight budget, then you may want to consider the following free options.
10 Free Ways to Advertise your Business Online
Here are the 10 best ways to advertise your business online for free.
1. Search Engine Optimization
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website as relevant as possible to the queries that a potential visitor might use in searching for what you are selling.
The goal here is simple. A netizen needs a particular service that your business offers. So, the netizen heads over to Google and searches for it. The best thing that can happen to your business now is for the netizen to see your website with the exact solution to his problem.
How you go about achieving this goal is called “search engine optimization”.
The first step, of course, is getting your website up and running. It should have good grammar, lots of information, and all the legal requirements for your type of business.
Then come the extras, such as fast loading times, the use of relevant keywords on the pages, and external sources linking to your site. You also have to consider making your website mobile-friendly, in addition to other tasks.
Understand that Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine which websites to display to its users. And while you must not necessarily learn them all, you should know what they are at the very least and how to work towards better rankings.
Google owns over 90% of the search engine market, so starting from their search engine optimization guide is a solid way to learn SEO.
2. Google My Business
According to numerous statistics, local search is on the rise. Local search refers to user queries on a search engine like Google, which are targeted at businesses with a physical address.
97% of users search for local businesses online. So, if you run a local business with location-focused offers, then it is in your best interest to optimize for local searches.
GMB or Google My Business is a Google tool that makes it easy for your business to appear to web searchers. All you need to do is register and fill out all the necessary details. But you can still go further.
Assuming your business has a local target market, then you can take your SEO efforts farther with more work. GMB allows you to post updates, pictures, and promotions. So use all of its features. You can also write your business description in a way that highlights your business’ most important keywords for more visibility.
Furthermore, and depending on your offering. You could develop specific pages on your website that combine your target keywords with the location. Here are some examples:
“Barber in New York”
“Bakery San Francisco”
“Top Attorney Chicago”
“Steak house Zurich”
To get started with Google my Business, head over to google.com/business.
3. Get Social
You have seen all types of brands on social media, representing their companies and even providing services directly from the social platforms.
Your approach will be similar. You need a presence on the platform where most of your potential customers should be. And your approach will depend on your business type.
If your business deals with fashion or food, for instance, then posting pictures on Instagram might be a good approach. For general and family-related services, Facebook is a good destination.
If you offer politically-inclined services, then Twitter might be the platform. And for adult content, Twitter and OnlyFans are great. You get the drill.
4. Press Release
A press release or press statement is an official statement from a company to members of the news media. It is used to inform the public about events within the company.
Any organization can issue a press release, and this includes solo-preneurs. All you need is to know the basic formats of a press release, plus a newsworthy story and you are good to go.
The goal is to save the journalists time, so the first paragraph should answer the questions of ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘where’.
5. Start a Blog
Blog marketing is an inbound marketing approach. It means reaching out to potential clients or customers and providing part or all of the solutions to their problems. And by realizing your depth of understanding concerning the issue, they will appreciate your business.
Lots of big-name brands have successfully used blog marketing for years, so there is no reason you should not. Just remember to promote the blog as much as possible. Such as sharing each post on social media and with your followers.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing simply means sending commercial messages to recipients’ email addresses. It can be a very effective marketing method. However, given the abuse of spam emails, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, always get permission from the email address owner before adding it to your list. This process is often taken care of with the confirmation email feature from most marketing platforms.
Secondly, keep your list targeted. This means building a separate list for ‘car lovers’ and another for ‘military plane fanatics’. Understand that while a few people might be interested in both niches, for instance, most of the people are not.
You may need to use a giveaway campaign (#10.) to collect emails for your list or any other method that is most relevant. You may also find it more rewarding to send helpful and related information to your list from time to time, and not just purely promotions.
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out, and it is an online platform that connects experts with journalists and other researchers from the media world.
Journalists from different fields request information from a wide range of experts as sources for the story they are researching. The good thing about this promotion method is that these journalists are often from large media houses. So, you stand to gain wide coverage, as well as score backlinks from a reputable domain.
The goal here is the same as social media interactions, but you have to be an “expert” in your field to get lucky. Plus, your field also needs to be one of the popular ones with plenty of researchers looking for answers.
To get started with HARO, head over to helpareporter.com and register an account. Then check your email for the list of requests mailed 3 times daily, from Monday through Friday.
As with so many things in life, your luck with this promotion method will depend on many factors. So, this method might be good for your business or it might not.
But if you are lucky and a journalist chooses your answer, then you might get a full interview. Plus the publication of your business details on their website or industry-specific magazine.
8. Video Marketing
Just as there are millions of users on social media and other millions that prefer to get informed through email, there is also another set of netizens that love to watch only videos.
You will find mixed video site users, ranging from habitual video watchers to the more extreme types that can only learn from video. So, if possible, make a video of your product’s benefits and submit it to video platforms.
In addition to that, you can also go further and build your brand. This means making more videos around issues from your business or niche, answering questions that potential customers might have, and showing how to use your product or how to make the best of it.
You should note that this method might not be ideal for all types of businesses. So, it’s up to you to carry out some research first before proceeding.
9. Get Reviews
Social proof is a marketing concept that provides evidence of previous purchases from satisfied customers. In other words, the more customers that have tried and liked your services, the more customers you are bound to get.
The Internet makes it easy for certain customer groups to first research a business or service they had previously never heard of, before committing to that company. The good news is that you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
Websites like Google My Business, Trustpilot, and Yelp make it easy for customers to leave reviews about everything from restaurants to entertainment, shopping, and all types of products. There is also TripAdvisor for those in the travel industry, and a local business owners social network called MerchantCircle.
10. Giveaway Campaign
The world loves free stuff. Promise something for free and you get them trooping in. All you have to do is first figure out your campaign details.
First, decide on what you need from the campaign. This can range from increasing email subscribers to more customer engagement, improving brand awareness, or generating more sales.
Once you have figured out your campaign objectives, you will now have to decide on the perfect gift for the campaign. Again, depending on your business, it could range from a free ebook to a free trial of your service, or a review copy of your offer.
Finally, set the rules for the campaign. You can run it as a contest, include age limits, an end date, specific entry requirements, and qualification rules. Make it as attractive as possible and start promotion on all available channels.
We have reached the end of our list and you have seen the best free ways to advertise your business online.
Every business is unique, so there is no single best approach for all. You will have to find the right mix to get the best result for your business.