As a cash-strapped small business owner, I had to come up with creative ways of promoting my business. And by creative, I mean free 🙂 And no, this is not going to be another post on how to use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote your business.
There are many ways you can promote your business for free, but there is one thing that ties them all together. And that’s YOU. The first step to making your small business amazing is to realize that YOU are amazing! You are an expert, an industry leader…you know your business, and you know it well. So why not leverage your expertise when promoting your business? Keep this in mind as you read on.
Start a Blog
So you’ve got a company website up. The website has information about your company, your products and services, pricing information, contact information, and maybe a cool video or two. But no one is visiting your website. That’s because they don’t know you exist!
The easiest way for people to discover your website is to start a blog. Blog about things people in your industry care about. Help others solve common problems on their own. Provide useful tips and tricks. Think about what someone who is in need of your product or service would search for in Google. Remember, you’re an expert. The key is to make the blog about them, not you (that’s what your website is for).
Guest Post on Other Blogs
Find other blogs in your industry and ask if you can write a guest post for them. Your guest post will include a brief description of who you are, and a link back to your website. Most blog owners are happy to take guest posts because it increases the value of their blog. And by doing so, you will drive customers back to your site. This also adds to your credibility as an industry expert. Feel free to contact me if you would like to experiment with guest posting on my blog.
Publish Free eBooks
So you’re an expert, right? And don’t forget, amazing! Why not use your knowledge to publish free eBooks on topics of interest to your target audience. By making them free, you exponentially increase the number of people that will read them…free eBooks spread like wildfire online. Remember, your goal here is to build awareness of your small business, not to make a few bucks. Make sure to include your business logo and information in the eBook to remind people where it came from.
For a quick primer on eBooks, check out Why eBooks Are Better Than Whitepapers, and for some ideas and inspiration browse through Hubspot’s free eBooks.
Videos are another great form of sharing content. Sometimes it’s easier to show someone how to do something than it is to describe it in words. Videos are also a nice break from the usual blog post. I recommend you upload your video to YouTube and then embed it on your website. The reason is that you will benefit from all the traffic YouTube already gets.
Again, you want to think about what your audience is interested in learning about. For example, if you make jewelry, create a video that shows others how to make a simple necklace. If you’re an artist, show others how to master a particular technique. To see a good example of how to use videos on your website, take a look at Lori McNee’s blog
Participate in Online Forums
Becoming an active member of an online community is a great way to prove yourself as an expert in your field, and drive traffic back to your website. People are always looking for answers online, why not it be you they trust?
I’m a member of several online forums, including a Q&A site for startups, and it has been a very rewarding experience. It’s a great feeling knowing that you helped another small business owner succeed.
There are tons of forums and Q&A sites online. You just have to find the ones that line up with your line of business. To get you started, take a look at the list of official StackExchange sites. StackExchange is a network of Q&A websites on a wide range of topics – who knows, you may find one in your area of expertise. LinkedIn answers and Yahoo! Answers are two other good places to visit.
Submit Articles to Article Directories
Article directories are websites that allow people to submit their articles to them for free. Like with the other techniques, submitting to article directories increases your credibility as an expert in your business field, and will drive customers back to your website. Ezine Articles is the largest, and most respected, article directory online. To see more, a list of the top 50 article directories can be found here.
Now It’s Your Turn
I hope some of the ideas and examples I shared will help you promote your business. The nice thing is that they are all free – they just require a bit of your time. Now it’s your turn to go out there and try!
Remember, be creative. Be amazing!
Have you had success with any of these techniques? What other free ways have you used to promote your business?
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This post is part of the HP SugarTone contest: “Making your business amazing”, sponsored by Hewlett Packard