Advertising is a way of spreading the word about your company to consumers near and far, and if it’s done correctly, it will help attract traffic to your online and physical presence.
But some advertising techniques can be extremely costly, which isn’t a good thing for any business on a budget. However, there are a few strategies that allow you to advertise your business for free and make the most of your strategic marketing plan.
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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO, or search engine optimization, is far and away the best strategy out there to market your business online.
That’s because the process of SEO allows your website to rank higher in search results pages, which allows more potential customers to see and click onto your website. The process of SEO also allows you to build your website’s authority within your industry.
Without SEO, it’s hard for customers looking for your services to find you online, because you fail to target them correctly.
Some strategies included in SEO include keyword research, keyword targeting, and content creation – just to name a few.
Doing keyword research means that you use tools to study different keywords to find which are the most searched in your industry, which ones have the most potential, and which have the most competition.
When you do keyword research, it’ll help you understand what keywords you should include in your content, your social media posts, your newsletters, and other advertising strategies.
It’ll help users find you in search engines when your content ranks for keywords that they search for.
After you’ve done your keyword research, you’ll understand what keywords are most important to your customers, and you’ll be able to include them in your content.
Content creation is important to SEO because it allows search engines like Google to have material to crawl and index, which means more opportunities for your customers to find you online.
In the world of marketing, content is key.
If you don’t consistently produce content that is informative and interesting to users, you’ll be doing your website a huge disservice. When you create great content, you’re also creating a huge opportunity to share information and to get your audience to trust you as an authority in your industry.
When you’re considering the marketing strategies that you’ll use to promote your business, content is a part of nearly every one.
For example, content is a crucial part of social media marketing, SEO, PPC, email marketing, and more.
Sharing content on social media, whether it be in the form of a blog or article, is a great way to get your friends and followers to enter your site.
SEO actually requires great content to work, and content that includes important keywords that you can find through keyword research.
PPC ads need content too, and more importantly, you have to create great content for your landing page to entice users to convert after they click on your ad.
Lastly, great content is necessary for email marketing both for the bulk of the email and to share. Including a link to your latest blog in your email campaign will direct readers straight to your website.
Creating great content doesn’t happen overnight, though.
Researching what kind of content to produce before producing it is perhaps the most important part of the process.
You should research everything from your competitors to your keywords, to ensure that you’re creating your content properly.
By looking at your competitor’s content, you’ll be able to understand what customers want to read, and what can yield the most success for your business.
Keyword research is a big part of creating content, for the same reason that it’s important to SEO. If you don’t know what your target customers are searching for, then how can you create content that is interesting to them?
Without analyzing your content, you’ll never understand how users are reacting to what you post.
In order to analyze your content, use a platform like Google Analytics to understand how many people view your page, how long they spend on the page, the bounce rate, and how many conversions that content has made for your company.
If you notice that your bounce rate is high, or people aren’t spending more than a few seconds on your page, you’ll be able to adjust the content accordingly.
With 65% of the world being visual learners, it’s crucial that you advertise your business with multimedia elements.
People want to see what they’re buying, who they’re buying from, where you’re located, and visual information that you present.
Multimedia is ideal for your business’s presence online – your website, social media posts, email newsletters, and more.
Photos are a great marketing element because they help to break up walls of text with a visual element that users can engage with. They are also used to add color and interest to a page.
Photos are a great way to show users your services and your products, but video is on the rise.
You don’t have to have a professional videographer to produce a great video for your website or social media. These days, smartphones create high quality video that work well for product demonstrations, client testimonials, and other purposes. (But you might want a tripod at some point.)
Another form of multimedia is infographics. They’re a great way to share information in a creative way instead of using large walls of text to communicate information.
Today, anyone can create great-looking graphics with free tools like Canva .
Blogging is one of the best ways to inform your readers and satisfy search engines.
Blogs give search engines more pages to index from your site, and they give you more opportunities to target keywords that are important to your business.
They can cover timely or hot-button topics – whatever you choose though, make sure it targets a keyword that’s important to your audience.
As mentioned before, targeting keywords with your content is an SEO practice that helps your website to rank higher in search engine results, which is a great way to advertise your business online.
So if you really want to increase conversions with your advertisements, you should target long tail keywords. Long tail keywords refer to longer, more detailed keyword phrases that target an ultra-specific audience.
For example, a long tail keyword for a dentist’s office blog might be “cavity fillings in [your city].” Because these keywords are so detailed, they won’t drive extreme web traffic, but the traffic that they do drive will be likely to convert.
Guest posting on other blogs is a great way to spread the word about your business and demonstrate your expertise in your industry.
This free advertising strategy involves writing for other blogs in your industry to share information about your business, current events, and hot-button issues.
For example, you could write a blog that includes a unique viewpoint or explains a statistic presented about your industry. By signing your name at the end and including a short bio, you’ll be able to also include the name of your company – which is like free advertising!
Those that like your writing could check your website for more information, where you can convert them into paying customers.
Social media marketing
Social media is home to billions of users every day, which means billions of opportunities to reach your audience. And you can do it for free!
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In April 2016, there were approximately 1.59 billion Facebook users, 400 million Instagram users, 320 million Twitter users, 200 million Snapchat users, and 100 million LinkedIn users – just to name a few.
Graph courtesy of Statista.com.
And there’s more good news: Every age group is using social media more every day, which means you can reach nearly everyone through one medium.
As far as what you post to reach your customers, you have multiple options.
You should always try to share a photo with your post since they show what you are promoting instead of telling. The image should be high quality, but avoid cheesy stock photos — they won’t promote you as well as unique photos straight from you.
You can also share your site’s blog on social media.
Blogs work great on social media because all you need is a post’s link, which drives traffic back to your website. You can also share a screenshot of the blog’s images to add a visual element to your post.
Besides images and blog posts, you can use social media for special offers on a product or service to entice more traffic (and conversions) to your site.
You can even hold contests and encourage others to share your posts to enter. In doing so, you can reach the followers of your followers to exponentially grow your customer base.
As far as when to post on social media, Facebook’s perfect number seems to be anywhere between one and five times a month, depending on how many followers you have. If you have fewer, stay on the lower end of the scale.
On Twitter, you should post anywhere from one to five times per day, also in proportion with your number of followers.
Sending emails is one of the best ways to advertise your business online. Just remember – you have to get permission before sending emails to your recipients.
To compile a list of email recipients, add form fields to the best content on your website (like a contest entry or downloadable PDF).
In doing so, you’ll gain permission to contact the people that have filled out the form. Then, add them to an email list of leads and send them occasional information on how to convert into a paying customer.
For your email’s content, you have a few options.
You can send a scheduled newsletter on a monthly or bi-weekly basis to keep your leads up-to-date about your company. In the newsletter, you can share anything from photos of new staff members to new products or services.
You can also use emails to advertise upcoming events, sales, achievements, press releases, and more.
When you want your local business to stand out in results pages, local SEO is the way to do it.
It allows users searching for your business to see the location, the telephone number, and more – all within search engines.
Google My Business
Within Google My Business, you can manage the way that users see information about your business.
After verifying your business with Google My Business, you are twice as likely be seen as a trustworthy business by customers.
With GMB, you can allow users to see information like your store’s hours, location, contact information, maps, services, ratings, and more – all at their fingertips.
Similar to Google My Business, you’ll have to claim your business on Yelp to reap its benefits.
On Yelp’s site, you can upload photos of your business, information about products and services, your location, contact information, hours, and more.
You’ll also be able to connect with customers by replying to reviews – good or bad – that customers leave about your business.
Angie’s List allows you to shop local services in your area, just by entering your location.
As a business owner, that makes it extremely important to list your business on Angie’s List so that local customers can find your services.
When your business is listed on Angie’s list, users will be able to see offer details, the price of a special offer, an overall grade for your business, reviews, location, and more.
Bing Places for Business
Bing Places allows you to share the same information as Google My Business, to Bing users.
Bing Places offers business information within Bing for local businesses, chains, or businesses with multiple locations.
It allows you to share information like your location, hours, ratings, price of your services, a link to your website, directions, and more.
Word of mouth
One of the longest standing and best ways to advertise your business for free is by word of mouth. And your friends and family can help.
Encourage them to recommend your products and services to people they know that are looking for what you have to offer. They can also share your content on their social media pages.
These may be baseline word of mouth strategies, but there are many other ways that your business can gain traction from word of mouth.
Testimonials are one of the best word-of-mouth strategies out there because they affirm the quality of your business to other potential customers.
In order to get testimonials for your business, you have to provide the kind of services that are deserving of positive testimonials. After that, you can simply ask satisfied customers if they would mind saying a word or two about their experience.
You can post testimonials in the form of an interview video, or in text format.
Either way, you can share testimonials on your website, but also on social media.
Referrals are another great way to use word of mouth to increase traffic to your business.
In order to create a referral campaign, just create a form on your website that easily allows site visitors to recommend your services to a friend.
To increase the number of referrals, you can even offer a reward or prize as incentive.
Building relationships within your niche is another way to increase your customer base.
When you go to a convention, an event, or a ceremony in which industry leaders are present, take time to introduce yourself and your company. Follow up with that person via email letting them know how great it was to meet them, and allow your relationship to gain momentum.
Follow the people you meet on social media, and share their media, so that they share yours as well.
When you build relationships with leaders in the industry, they likely have many more followers, and can command the spotlight much easier than your business. After building a relationship, there’s a possibility they will mention your company in their content, on social media, or elsewhere – and you’ll be exposed to all of their followers as well.
If you’re looking for more free strategies to market your business, check out one of our free guides, like 101 Free Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website.
You’ll find an additional 101 ways to market your business without spending a penny!
If you'd like to learn more about web marketing services from WebFX, contact us at 888-601-5359!