Running a business can be expensive. After all, sometimes you do have to spend money if you want to make money. However, if you're launching a company with a limited budget, it might help to know that you don't necessarily need to spend a fortune on advertising just to stand out.
Although you may have to offer a couple of free products and use some of your valuable time along the way, there are some promotional methods that you can access which won't cost you anything (at least financially). Here are our top 10 ways to advertise your business for free.
1. Submit your Site to Search Engines
One of the best ways to advertise yourself in the digital world is to create a presence for yourself on the search engines. You'll need to commit to regular SEO to make the most out of this strategy, but the first step is submitting your site to search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This will let those search engines know that you have something for them to check out. From there, you can begin to build on other SEO strategies like keywords and backlinking.
2. Make Sure you have a Google My Business Listing
Research suggests that around 71% of customers look for a company's location before they visit that business for the first time. A Google my Business listing will help you to get ahead of the curve when it comes to attracting local customers to your destination. It's particularly important to have a Google My Business Listing if you have a brick and mortar store.
3. Register with Online Directories
Once you've made your voice heard with the search engines, and Google my Business, make sure that you submit your details to any other free directories you can find. It's a good idea to check the quality of the list before you go ahead and sign up, of course, as associating yourself with a low-quality website can mean bad news for your reputation and your search rankings. However, if you choose the right directories, then you simply give your site more places to show up around the web.
4. Create Social Media Profiles
Importantly, while creating business accounts on social channels like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook is completely free, you'll need to be willing to put the time and effort in to make sure that your posts are seen. Make sure that you only create a profile on channels where you know your customers spend your time. This will prevent you from wasting your own time and money on channels that aren't going to give you much of an ROI.
5. Create Videos for YouTube
If you've got a high-quality webcam or camera phone, then it costs nothing more than your time to upload useful videos to YouTube. Just remember that the quality of the videos on your channel may affect the perception that your customers have of your brand. If you're concerned that your videos are too low in quality without editing, you might need to invest in some extra software.
6. Start a Blog
Blogging is one of the most popular forms of free advertisement on the web today. Writing a blog can be 100% free, provided that you know how to write excellent content on your own. If you're not sure how to make the most of things like SEO and keywords in your content, while still capturing audience attention, then you may need to pay for someone to do your writing for you. Even if you do end up paying for your blogs, the ROI is enormous!
7. Be A Guest Blogger
If you do have some basic writing skills and you're willing to learn about SEO as you go, then remember that you shouldn't just be posting content on your own website! There are plenty of great ways to accelerate your traffic by posting on other blogs and industry sites too. This is a great way to boost your credibility in a certain niche and create some useful partnerships with industry influencers.
8. Use Free Email Marketing Services
You'll need to pay for most of your email marketing services, but options like MailChimp do come with a free "trial" option where you can send emails to up to 12,000 people per month. If you're only a small business, one of these free trials could be a great way to start ramping up your email marketing campaigns.
9. Work with Influencers
Some influencers, like celebrities on Instagram, cost a lot to work with; others are absolutely free. Certain micro-influencers will give your brand a shout-out just because they like what you're selling. In other cases, you can always try bribing people with free products and services, instead of paying them out-right.
10. Encourage Word of Mouth
Finally, remember to ask your customers to refer your business to their friends and family if they like what you offer. There's nothing more convenient than word of mouth marketing when it comes to getting a high ROI for a low initial investment.