Staff Writer: Carolyn Johnson
Millions of businesses go to great lengths to market and promote themselves online. Some larger firms may even have entire marketing departments dedicated to this very task. Other website may hire SEO specialists in order to attract traffic to their website. However, some start-ups or smaller firms may not have the money to shell out for extra marketing ploys. There is good news for this group, as there are methods of attracting an audience without spending a dime.
One thing that all business owners should know is that websites alone do not attract viewers. Even if you spend thousands of dollars on building a fancy design for your site, you may find out later that still no one knows about your site. This is because customers find your site through various means, such as paid advertising, direct links, referrals, and keyword searches; and these latter items, as any SEO specialist will tell you, come from many sources, not just online but also in traditional media and other promotional materials.
What large marketers do is find an edge in a targeted audience that they market to well. You can do the same and target the right customers, except you need not pay to do these methods.
As a small business, your advantage over large corporations is that, because you’re starting small, you need little to survive. Whereas large corporations need to make millions of dollars per year just to keep afloat, you don’t need to struggle to indentify and maintain a targeted audience. You can still make a profit without spending big bucks on advertising. There are several methods of no-pay publicity:
- Start your own blog and join the Blogosphere. Professional networking is important for a business in any industry. Although it can take some time to nurture your contacts, it will be time well spent.
- Research and find reputable bloggers in your industry. Give competent feedback.
- Contact bloggers and business owners of all sizes, big and small. Be sure that the bloggers are voices of authority in their field.
- If you must critique or disagree with another blogger’s post, be constructive and tactful. Stay professional and friendly.
- Include a link back to your site in your comments.
- Join social media sites and offer to guest post on other relevant sites. Social media offers a free outlet for you to market your wares, but you must stay active and regularly interact with the online community for it to work. You must also regularly post content that readers will find helpful and engaging.
- Consider classified websitesthat offer free adspace and postings. Millions of people access these online classifieds, the most popular of them being Craigslist.org. Others include Backpage.com, Classifedads.com, and oddle.com.
- Use article marketing services such as Goarticles.com, which distribute content on various platforms for free and link back to your site. This option, however, has decreased rapidly in popularity due to the Google Penguin updates. Research the article marketing site and be sure they have a good editorial process before submitting.
Creative marketing strategies can be used in order to promote your website while also dodging the high cost of marketing.