There is no doubt about it, starting a business is a nerve-wracking, time consuming and exhilarating experience. It can also be very expensive.
You’ve worked hard to get your business established and you are ready to sell. You need customers. You need to start marketing.
You already know that marketing is the key to acquiring (and keeping) customers, but traditional marketing methods can be expensive. In the digital world however, there are tools that you can start using today for free!
To save you time, check out our two-part series for some key ideas on how to market your business online completely free, and supercharge your way to successful marketing.
In the first article we focus on the importance of websites, social media and email marketing as part of your marketing toolkit. These ideas really do cost nothing except your time and effort – and will be invaluable in helping you to increase your customer base, especially when you’re on a budget.
1. Your Website
In 2015, a business without a website will struggle.
A modern, up-to date, and mobile friendly website is essential for marketing your company. It gives your business an online presence, helps to boost confidence in your brand and becomes the anchor point between your other marketing methods.
With multiple website builder platforms available in the market today, Building your own website is quick, easy and in many cases completely free to get started.
Your website should include adverts for any promotions and offers, use high quality images and of course contain links to your social media channels. As a minimum, you need a Home, About and a Contact page as these are the staples required to display and promote your business.
Remember, once your site is up and running, ensure all information on your website is always up to date, accurate and that your marketing message is clear and simple.
2. Social Media
Social Media is a free to use, readily available tool that can really help promote your business online and drive customers to engage with your brand. It’s quick and easy to set up and puts you right where your potential customers are spending (a lot of) their time.
Getting started is easy. Simply create an account with each of the social channels that will work best for you (Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram etc) and invite people to start following your business. Your followers will receive your regular updates, information about your business and any promotions you offer.
Once your social channels are active, ensure you link to them from your website and also link back to your website from each of your social pages. This simple trick will help increase your traffic levels, business exposure and confidence in your brand.
The world of Social Media is a big place and there is a lot of choice out there. If you want to learn more about the versatility of social media, as well as which channels are best suited to your business, check out our post about ‘Why your business needs Social Media‘.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is an awesome way for you to reach out to your existing customer base. It gives you the power to not only learn more about your customers but also helps build stronger business relationships.
Managed correctly, an email campaign can be significantly more personal and targeted than conversations on social media, where your message can easily get lost in the noise of the social world.
By creating the right campaign you can ensure your customers receive the right message at the right time and to the right place – directly into their inbox.
Targeted emails are also a great way to encourage your customers to purchase from you and to feel special and valued. There are lots of fantastic email campaign ideas out there but why not start with something simple – offer a limited time discount, or invite select customers to a secret sale.
Simply put – if you are not currently using email as part of your online marketing you are almost certainly missing out on business opportunities.
A great way to get started with email marketing is to use one of the many email marketing platforms such as MailChimp. It’s free to set up and you can be sending professional newsletters, marketing emails and promotional offers directly to your customers within minutes. Check out this great guide to help get you started.
6 Free Ways to Market Your Business Online – part 2
In the next article, we discuss how you can use business partnerships to maximum effect, as well as channels like Google and online review sites to successfully market your business and grow your customer base.
Do you market your business online in other ways? Do you have tricks that have worked well for you? We’d love to hear them. Share your tips in the comments section below.