It’s one thing to run your business, but another to grow and scale your small business. Being a small business owner requires wearing a lot of hats, and a lot of money. That’s why I put together a list of easy ways to start online marketing for your business - on a budget.
Disclaimer: These items take time, and won’t give you results very quickly.
But these low-cost marketing practices will give you long-lasting results once you start practicing them on a consistent basis. Take this one piece of advice for anything related to marketing. Carve out some dedicated time each week to tackle at least one of your online marketing initiatives to make sure you’re on track for building a long-term online brand.
Let’s dive right into the low-cost simple, online marketing strategies that a small business with any budget can do.
Start an Instagram brand.
From a branding perspective, Instagram is a visual platform that allows you to share content focused on images and video. If your business sells a product, a look, or style, then you can take advantage of Instagram’s core features from regular posts, Instagram Stories, and even Instagram Live.
Some businesses, not all, can benefit from creating an Instagram account. According to Pew Research, those businesses include target customers who are mostly in the 18-29 age range. 67% of Instagram users are in the 18-29 age bucket, so Instagram is ideal for the younger millennial demographic.
But keep in mind, Instagram’s core audience doesn’t have to be your direct customers. If you’re selling to businesses who are on Instagram that are targeting that demographic, you can utilize Instagram to reach these people as they’re already on the platform normally for business.
Create a Facebook page and invite your community.
Facebook’s audience has a larger age range from 18-49. So if the general age of your audience is distributed across the larger age range, then creating a Facebook business page or Facebook group can benefit you. The idea is to create a community where both potential and existing customers can find and connect with you about specific questions about your product/service, or in general, the industry.
Facebook’s core feature is allowing threads i.e. strings of topics to continue conversations over time. It’s a great way to share business updates, stories, and even do Facebook Live to engage your audience and keep the conversation going. Create content that will get your target clientele to come back or even start following you.
Pin evergreen content on Pinterest.
Now Pinterest is normally the underdog of social media platforms. It’s not really the #1 social media platform that people think about. Because Pinterest is a crowded space of content. From an online marketing beginner’s standpoint, it’s a daunting task to try to bring traffic to your site from Pinterest.
But Pinterest may be your small business’ life saver. Similar to Instagram... if your content is dependent on visuals, you can show off your work and pin them everywhere on Pinterest. Make sure you use as many useful keywords in your pin as possible, so they can be found.
Pinterest is also great in offering a stream of listicles of how-to tutorials in one view. If your business depends on some education to grab a potential client’s trust, then you should take advantage of this social platform. Pin your blogs on basic industry information and you can capture prospects who didn’t even know about your brand.
Start video blogging on YouTube.
When we think of YouTube, you think of the top influencers with fancy video editing skills, equipment, and everything else. I’m here to tell you that it’s not necessary. You can do simple vlogging aka video blogging to share stories about you, your business, or your product/service. YouTube is a great place to learn about the story behind businesses, the process of how a product comes to life, or even just following the person behind the business.
As long as you stay natural and inviting, you can gain viewership over time and create a personal relationship with potential customers.
Just make sure you have decent video quality, and you can improve over time with practice as you gain more subscribers.
SEO your website pages.
If you already have a website, you can start tweaking your website for free in any way you want. And the best way is to try making your website more searchable in Google search results.
Start learning SEO.
Because with a few SEO tweaks, you can ultimately get more traffic with no money because Google is ranking you higher.
If your business depends on educating the potential customer to win a sale, you can create blog content to help them find you, for free. But also it can benefit small businesses by looking more credible. If you’re more searchable and have good information, then essentially you seem to be more credible in the industry.
Otherwise, start filling your pages with top keywords and content that would help make your sales pages rank.
Participate in forums, Facebook groups, and Slack channel communities.
Join communities where you know people are looking for what your small business offers. Usually, these communities will have posts that you can easily grab as new business. Make sure you check posts periodically, so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.
They’re usually free to join, and it’s easy online marketing as you can naturally introduce your small business to relevant posts.
Ask to be featured on a relevant blog.
If you don’t have a blog yet, then take advantage of another blog’s authority. Another blog could be any website that covers your industry, product, or service. You can email the blog editors by checking the website’s contact information to pitch your blog article idea. If you can come up with a compelling case, you can get free exposure in participating in a relevant blog that’s also already ranking in Google Search. Free online marketing at its finest!
Start sharing information in a weekly podcast.
A podcast marketing strategy can work in two-folds. You can either participate in a high-authority podcast by being interviewed, or you can create your own podcast. The first option is great in leveraging the existing podcast’s current audience to reach new potential customers. And the latter takes more time and resources on your end to be consistent in creating new podcasts.
Answer relevant questions in Quora.
Quora. The place with all the answers, next to Wikipedia. Quora can also be intimidating as users who answer are very knowledgeable and natural. It’s not typically a place to market your business. But take a stab at answering a few questions a week, and see if you can subtly bring traffic to your website. Or better yet, sales.
Post your business in online directories.
Now if you haven’t done this yet, do it. It’s free online marketing and the #1 thing you should do after creating a website. Make sure you’re in Google, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, and every other directory you can think of - especially where your competitors are. Think of it like the modern Yellow Pages, but the entire Internet is Yellow Pages. You won’t be found unless you’re in the directories. It also helps to add some Google authority to your website, and gives you a boost in rankings, too.
Build your blog.
Nowadays, everyone has a blog, so why don’t you? You can either use it as a useful library for your customers to grab information, or you can build it out to help you get that added boost in Google to be searchable by potential customers. A blog takes time, but it takes no money after you’ve created your website. If you can spare the time, then you can test a few articles and see if it brings you traffic.
Grow your reviews.
Reviews are essential for small businesses everywhere. Without the credibility of big brands like Apple or Nike, you need reviews to help new customers trust you. If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy. So work on gathering as many reviews as you can. You can ask current customers through a quick email and give them incentive to leave a review like a discount or free content. Your current customers are the best online marketing resource you can have. Your business can scale much faster with the help of your customers’ reach.