Starting an online business is challenging enough but after putting in all that work to get launched, the last thing you need is your venture to fail just because people do not know about it. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do to spread the word and reach out to your target market and in this post, we’ll look at seven of them, most of which won’t cost you a penny.
1. List your business with the major search enginesIf people are going to look for a business like yours, chances are they’ll start their search on the internet and do so using Google or Bing. These search engines have free business listings services that enable your business to be found much easier online and let you add relevant information about your business for potential customers to see. This can include physical and internet addresses, phone numbers, map locations, opening times and customer ratings. You can even upload images. The listings services are Google My Business, Bing Places for Business and Yahoo! Local.
2. Reach out on social mediaSetting up business pages and accounts on social media platforms is now more or less a necessity for online businesses. With billions of worldwide users, it is the ideal channel to reach out and grow an audience of followers. You can use social media marketing services , brand development, showcasing products and services, customer service, promoting events, sending offers and much more.
The challenge is to choose the most appropriate social media platforms on which to communicate. There are now so many about, it is impractical to devote time to all of them. You need to discover the places where your target market is most active and engage with them there whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. If you are a B2B business, LinkedIn is definitely a place to promote yourself.
3. Start a blogMany businesses misunderstand blogging and tend to think that a blog is some kind of diary or journal that an individual writes. In reality, a business blog is a content marketing vehicle. The aim is to create posts that solve your customer’s problems. Doing so provides a raft of benefits, such as:
- Improved SEO and search engine rankings
- Increased traffic to your website (both new and returning visitors)
- Customers perceive the company/brand an expert in its field
- Growth of blog subscribers enables targeted, free, email marketing
- Improved conversion rates and increased sales
- For a blog to be successful, new content needs to be posted regularly and it can take time before it has an impact. - Once it does, however, it has massive marketing potential.
4. OutreachIf your website is new, it is sometimes beneficial to write posts to publish on other relevant websites or blogs which already have established audiences. Doing this helps spread the word to these new audiences and often you are allowed to provide a link that they can use to find your website. You’ll need to find the most relevant websites to do this and contact them to see if they accept guest posts. Alternatively, you could send your products to influential bloggers and they may write a review which their audience can read.
5. Create a YouTube channelAn alternative to writing blog posts is to create videos. Indeed, in some circumstances, videos are more helpful than written posts, for example, when showing people how to carry out practical tasks, such as putting a new hard drive in a computer. Creating a helpful YouTube channel can help you amass a substantial online audience, many of whom will subscribe to your future posts and even share them to a wider audience on your behalf. If you mention your products in your videos and add a link to your website, there’s huge potential to improve your sales.
6. Optimise your websiteWhile search engine optimisation (SEO) isn’t a promotional tool in itself, its value in helping bring new customers to your website should never be overlooked. SEO is a multi-faceted task that involves making your website easier for search engines to index and making it more user-friendly and valuable for searchers. It can include everything from speeding up your site’s loading times and installing a mobile-friendly theme to having a well-structured site and the use of effective keywords in your content.
Essentially, a website that is optimised has a better chance of ranking well in search engine results. The better your site ranks, the more you will be seen in search results and the more visitors you will get.
7. Online advertisingPaid advertising is used by millions of companies and for many, it is a major source of traffic. The main form of advertising is known as pay per click (PPC) , which basically means you pay a fee every time someone clicks on one of your ads. The benefits of such advertising schemes are that you have excellent control over who sees your adverts and when. You can choose people in specific demographic groups and locations and choose the times when the ads are displayed. This means you can use your advertising budget very effectively to ensure the right people are clicking through to your site.
The downside of PPC is that it can be expensive. Ad spaces are often given to the highest bidders and competition means you may have to pay quite a lot for each click. The problem arises when you have poor conversion rates, in other words, if only one per cent of people who click go on to buy your product, advertising might not provide the return on investment you need. There are many places you can advertise; Google and Bing are key players, as are many social media platforms using Social Media Marketing .