You may not have wads of cash to spend on marketing in the early stages of your startup, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t effective ways to get your brand out there.
Before the Internet, small businesses only had a few ways to do local marketing for their products cheaply, through methods like printing out fliers or sponsoring little local events. Now there are all kinds of opportunities out there on the Web—you just need to know where to look.
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Here are eight ways to promote your local business online that won’t cost you a dime:
1. Use the three big local listing services
If you did not know, Registering your business with Google Places allows it to be found more easily on Google searches and it shows up on Google Maps. All you have to do is fill out the form and register, then get your business verified through their confirmation process, which can be done either with a phone call or snail mail. Yahoo! also has a big database of businesses called Yahoo! Local. It’s free, and is certainly worth the few minutes it takes to set up. Microsoft’s Bing has a similar service that’s easy to sign up for.
2. Connect with others on linkedin groups.
Chances are that you are a member on linkedin and you are not as active there. Like facebook groups, LinkedIn groups are a great way for quickly connecting with others in your industry or niche to help spread your message. You can promote your content through LinkedIn groups as long as you don’t come across as spammy. It’s best to add value to a conversation or discussion before trying to drop your links. Offer solutions, people start trusting you after they see value in what you can offer.
LInkedIn groups are also a great way of contacting people who you might not have mutual connections with. You can message any other member in the group without being connected, which can become a huge asset depending on the particular circumstances. Share updates often in the group, and be sure to stay in the spotlight without oversharing.
3. Leverage the power of Instagram influencers.
Today, with the ever-pervading power of social media, you can instantly reach droves of people from across the world at a moment’s notice. But we also know that algorithms and visibility are working against us, especially when we don’t have the reach of hundreds of thousands or millions of followers.
To reach those people, we need amplifiers, power users and influencers to help spread our messages. While this won’t be free, it will give you instant access to a wide audience in your specific niche as long as you select the right Instagram influencer to help spread your message.
4. Join a relevant online community and contribute
Every niche has communities online that you can get involved in. But just signing up for a forum and posting every once in a while about your business isn’t beneficial for anyone, and will likely just annoy people. Actively contribute and build a rapport with the community, while keeping your business out of it. Passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate.
5. Create Email Campaigns
An email campaign is a great way to keep reminding former customers who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer. Prospective customers might also use your emails to judge whether they want to do business with you or not. Make sure that there is something your reader can find helpful in each email blast, like a new product, a holiday special, an informative blog post or even a product demo video.
Need some help getting started? We provided a couple of examples of great email structures. Remember that an effective email is an email that adds value to the customer. If your email isn’t providing value, it won’t help increase your conversions.
6. Give Stuff Away
Free things are music to most peoples’ ears – and that doesn’t always mean giving stuff away. It could also mean having a sale with deep discounts. If you are marketing physical products, it could mean providing an exceptional guarantee to back your products. When selling information products like e-books and courses, try letting people have the first chapter or lesson for free.
In fact, Neil Patel has been known to create content for $30,000 and then give it away for free. He also purchased Ubersuggest for $120,000 and then released it as a free tool. And guess what happened to his traffic? Yup, it skyrocketed. Just focus on creating value.
7. Ask People to Talk about You
Encourage feedback, positive or negative, from your customers. Remind them that you will be reading all reviews or survey answers. Treat all your customers with equal respect, even when you disagree with their opinion.
Remember that it is much more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to maintain a current customer, so focus on how you can make your current customers happy.
In fact, according to a studies
- 86% of customers will pay more for a good customer experience
- 73% consider it an important factor while making a purchase decision
- 65% find a positive experience with a brand more influential than great advertisi
8. Use Facebook ads and strategically-targeted landing pages.
Facebook ads, while not free, offer a great opportunity for reaching the right demographics for your business. As long as you know your customer well, you can use metrics like interests, geographic location, marital status, age and many others, to locate potential consumers to send to strategically-targeted landing pages, also known as squeeze pages.
Experiment with micro-spends to see which ad copy and squeeze page receives the best responses for dropping consumers into your sales funnel. It might take a considerable amount of time to find the right mixture or recipe when it comes to advertising on a platform like Facebook, but once your campaign is profitable, all you need to do is continue to scale.
If it all feel a bit overwhelming, I might be able to help out.
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