Having an online presence has become essential for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
But what’s the point in having an impressive website if no one knows about it?
Getting your business online is one of the most progressive business decisions that you can make, but the work doesn’t end after you’ve set your website up. To succeed online you need to be dedicated to regularly investing time into nurturing your online following and growing awareness of your business by promoting it online.
If you take the time to grow your online footprint and promote your business online you will find that you’re able to reach new audiences, grow brand awareness and then start reaping the rewards.
Of course if you’re new to internet marketing it can be hard to know where to start, and if you’re a start-up business or a small or medium-sized company you may not have a huge budget to play with. The great thing about the internet is that once you know where to look there are plenty of free and cheap ways to promote and advertise your business online.
We’ve come up with a comprehensive list of 19 free or affordable ways to promote your business online to help you get the ball rolling.
1. StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
StumbleUpon is a discovery engine designed to recommend web content to users based on a variety of factors. It allows users to discover, rate and use websites whilst offering businesses a cost-effective marketing opportunity. Paid Discovery results are designed to match user interests, meaning users that are directed to your website are likely to have already expressed an interest in similar content.
Get started by heading over to StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. Create an account and find out how StumbleUpon can help your company’s online presence:
The combination of snappy information and catchy graphics, known as infographics, is an increasingly popular marketing medium. This intriguing combination explains the popularity of these user-friendly forms of advertising. A well-made, appropriately-circulated infographic is likely to receive the attention it deserves which, in turn, will translate into positive, company-directed attention. Infogram and Piktochart are two of the many free, infographic-building platforms available. These platforms allow you to build your very own infographics onto existing templates using your own, relevant images and information. Once your personalised infographic has been created it is important to share it across your social media accounts to widen its audience.
Twitter has over 23 million users and your clients and potential customers are likely to make up a portion of them. Users will expect a professional, modern company to have an active Twitter presence too. Participating in weekly hashtag trends and trending debates related to your industry are excellent, free ways to engage with millions of Twitter users every day.
— Add People (@add_people) February 13, 2015
A business presence on Pinterest is both Google and user-friendly. Pinning images from your website to your Pinterest boards creates a link between the two and a visible trace from Google’s point of view. However, as Pinterest is a highly visual platform, the images themselves also positively affect your company’s online presence. High quality, engaging images used on your website and social media profiles are a great way to encourage direct user interaction. Creating this positive persona on Pinterest will help to improve your company’s online visibility, further promoting your company online.
As a social media platform Facebook offers businesses the chance to gain publicity and interact with fellow users. In addition to the Facebook business profile there are also a few great applications available to help businesses get the most out of their profiles.
‘Pages to Watch’
The ‘Pages to Watch’ option allows Facebook business users to keep an eye on the page activity of their competitors. You could, potentially, use the information gained through this application to encourage a stronger following and the interest of potential clients. This application can be accessed and monitored by visiting your Facebook business page and clicking the ‘insights’ tab at the top.
As well as the ‘Pages to Watch’ option Facebook now offers the installation of ‘Call-to-Action’ buttons to business pages. Whether you want users to be taken to your website to “sign up” or “shop now” your business page now provides this opportunity.
Simply visit your company’s Facebook page and click the ‘Create Call-to-action’ button, as shown below:
6. Instagram Competitions
Instagram’s popularity, with both individuals and businesses, has boomed in the last few years. Instagram, as with most social media platforms, allows for instant interaction between users and, potentially, you and your clients. A popular way businesses choose to utilise Instagram is by hosting competitions. Some businesses ask their followers to take funny pictures featuring their product; others hold ‘caption contests’ to engage followers and potential clients in a light-hearted, imaginative way. Be sure to ask applicants to hashtag the company or competition name as well as promoting the competition across your social media accounts to round up as many applications, and as much publicity, as possible.
7. Social Media Ads
While the previous four points detailed free ways to promote your business on social media, paid advertisement opportunities are also available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Each of these major social media platforms offers the opportunity for businesses to display paid ads to relevant users.
On Facebook, for example, simply visit your company’s page and click on ‘Promote Page’:
Once you’ve clicked on the ‘Promote Page’ button, simply follow the instruction in the popup window to create your ad:
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter hold vast amounts of data about their users. From basic information like age, location and occupation, to far more detailed information about what restaurants you visit, your interests and who your friends and family are. When you advertise using social media you can tap into all this data and be highly specific with the audience that you’re targeting. Social media ads are also very affordable and paid for on a cost per click basis, meaning that you only pay for results.
8. LinkedIn Ads
As well as paying for adverts on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter there are also opportunities to add them to business networking website LinkedIn. This is a great, cost-effective way to target your demographic and reach out to relevant users. This form of advertising may not be appropriate for all businesses but it is effective for those wishing to target professionals, students and those searching for jobs; these demographics are waiting to be utilised.
One of the biggest things to contribute towards your website’s Google ranking is the quality of its content. If your website is never updated with fresh, relevant content it will soon drop off Google’s radar. Adding a blog to your website is a simple way to show search engines that your website is still active and relevant to people’s searches. Write and schedule weekly or monthly blog posts to keep the website active; if you’d like help installing or managing a company blog our managed SEO package might be perfect for you.
10. Guest Blog
While a blog attached to your website is great for keeping it active in the eyes of Google, guest blogging on other popular blogs can be a great way to reach large audiences. While a blog keeps your website technically fresh its content is not guaranteed to receive much human recognition. Writing a guest blog for a well-established, relevant website shows Google, on a more human level, that you hold authority within your industry. Not only will you be publishing pieces on your own blog, to keep your website active, you will also have the opportunity to share your expert knowledge with a wider audience and become an authoritative voice within your industry.
There are guest blogging opportunities to be found across the internet, simply search Google for “write for us” + [related keyword] and get in touch with the website.
11. Article Submissions
Content submitted to article directories provides a similar benefit to guest blogging. Guest blogging requires you to contact the website and, possibly, propose your blog idea, whereas article submissions can be created independently. Article submissions allow businesses the autonomous chance to appear as an authoritative voice on particular topics relevant to their industry, strengthening their online presence.
12. Online Directories
One of the simplest ways to promote your business online is to enter its details into a selection of reputable business directories. Adding your company’s details to directories helps it to be found by potential clients seeking services and products just like yours. There are many directories whose services require a payment but there are plenty offering free listings too. There are so many industry and location-specific directories that it is easy enough to find ones relevant to your business.
13. Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking has greatly taken off over the last few years; these websites originated as centralised online services enabling users to add, annotate, edit and share internet bookmarks online. Since its conception, social bookmarking has grown into an online community, encompassing StumbleUpon, Pinterest , Reddit, Digg, Newsvine and Delicious. The fast-paced nature of these communities means social bookmarking has developed rapidly into a major resource waiting to be utilised by businesses.
As mentioned in the points about guest blogging and article submissions, forums also offer companies a simple way to exude authority. Hosting an industry-relevant forum on your website instantly presents your business as having a certain level of knowledge and professionalism. Not only will an active forum drive people to your website, its activity will also keep you on the search engine radar. In the same way that your website’s blog works, a forum can also be highly beneficial to a company’s online promotion.
15. Email Signatures
Email signatures are one of the most effortless forms of online business promotion; they are, in general, underutilised. Most companies have an automatic email signature, but its composition is rarely given a second thought. Of course they cannot be filled with reams of information, but do they offer an opportunity to present precise company information to, potentially, thousands of people per week. One of the main advantages of using your company’s email signature to promote you online profiles is that the emails are going to be sent anyway and it’s free, so you might as well fill that space with something beneficial to promote your business. The people that you email are probably the people most likely to have an interest in interacting with your business online too, as they already know who you are and have some kind of affiliation with your company.
YouTube is no longer simply used as a video hosting,viewing and sharing medium: it has evolved into a social media platform. With famous bloggers, or vloggers, popping up around the net there are more active YouTube users than ever. This is a great time to create and utilise your company’s YouTube account. Try creating some short instructional or explanatory videos related to your company or its products to become an authoritative voice through a previously unchartered medium. You could even develop a weekly company vlog or borrow the Instagram competition idea and introduce a video-related one to all of your YouTube channel subscribers.
17. YouTube Ads
As discussed in the previous point, YouTube in itself can be utilised as a promotional platform but, as with other social media websites, it also offers an opportunity for paid advertising. Once you have established a YouTube account, simply sign up for an AdWords account, upload your video, select your target audience, sit back and enjoy success!
18. Google My Business
In the quest for a greater online presence and search engine success it seems only logical to look to the top dogs themselves. Google+ brings users together for relevant discussions and positive promotions; a Google My Business account allows your business to become a part of this online community too. Once you have set your Google My Business account up it is important that you complete your profile and verify it so that Google knows it is an official page. Google will send a physical postcard to your business address containing a unique PIN. Once you receive this postcard you simply need to enter the PIN into the corresponding section of your Google page, allowing your page to appear in local and map searches. If you require any assistance with the setting up, verification or management of your Google My Business account our excellent SEO local service may be ideal.
19. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising using Google AdWords is the easiest and most efficient way to reap seemingly instant promotional rewards. Whilst, unlike many of the other marketing options mentioned, it does cost money, the benefits heavily outweigh the costs.
Most buying decisions in the UK start with a Google search, so it’s important that your business can easily be found on Google when people search for keywords and terms relevant to your business or service.
Search ads on Google appear above and to the right of the organic listings and can be recognised by their ‘sponsored ad’ label.
You only pay for results (so when someone clicks your ad and visits your website) and can set a maximum budget so you’re in complete control of how much you spend. An efficient PPC campaign can get fantastic results for a modest budget.
To begin a Google AdWords campaign you must first create a Google account, or login with an existing one, then simply click ‘start now’ and follow the instructions on screen:
While PPC advertising is highly beneficial to companies, and offers great conversion rates, it can be detrimental if done incorrectly. Expert advice is required to achieve optimum PPC conversion rates.
At Add People we specialise in helping small and medium sized businesses and we know that every penny counts. That’s why we invested in a very advanced PPC management platform that allows us to build more efficient advertising campaigns than ever. Our Add Clicks service will deliver you more traffic for your money than ever before as it constantly updates your bid on AdWords to find you the most cost-effective position.
If you’re still not sure, don’t hesitate to get in touch for a completely no obligation, free Add Clicks traffic estimate to find out how much traffic our service could drive to your website.
To request an estimate simply fill out the contact form at the top of this blog, give us a call on: 0161 924 2173 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.