Marketing can be an absolute slog, particularly when you’re just starting up in business and you have next to no capital to “make things happen”. However, owing largely to the 21st century and the evolution of this little thing called the internet, there are now numerous mechanisms you can utilise to promote your business online, and free of charge.
Search Engine Optimisation: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of a website in organic search – SEO is a huge topic. That said, when it comes down to it, if you really want to increase your positions in search across hundreds of your target search terms, you really only need to be doing one thing: building keyword focused anchor text links into your website from external sources.
In plain English, that simply means getting other websites to link to you (good quality websites i.e. partners, suppliers etc), and in the link (anchor text) should be a search term which you want to rank for.
SEO is a great mechanism for generating more sales through your business – the single best link building mechanism for people who are time rich but cash poor is content development; create good quality content and post that content on article directories and external blogs in exchange for a link back to your website.
Linked In: Most business owners simply give Linked In a bit of a wide berth – most people use it, however very few people use it to its full potential. Now, Linked In is free, however there are various paid options too which can make it even more productive (that said, due to the nature of this post we will stick to the free options for the time being).
Did you know you can set up groups on Linked In? A group is simply a collection of Linked In members who gather in one place to talk about a specific subject – you can set up a group very easily. Why would you ever consider doing this? Well, think about it – within this group, you are in charge; as you’ve established this group you will be looked to as the “authority” on the subject matter.
Best yet, you can actually send e-mails to EVERYONE in the group, too – how’s that for engaged marketing? Explore Linked In – I would go as far as saying 20% of our work is generated through it, and particularly through groups.
Web Forums: A web forum is simply a place for people to group together and talk about a wide range of subjects around a particular subject matter – for example, there are a large number of business web forums, where small business owners can come together to talk about business issues, establish and build new connections and so on; one of the more popular options in the UK is 4Networking.biz.
Web forums are fantastic for promoting your business, providing you work to build up your reputation (nothing will happen overnight). Many web forums will also allow you to create signatures underneath your posts, which means you are in effect displaying a constant “advert” every time you make a post.
Providing you can work to build a reputation, you don’t pursue the hard sell and you stick with it, you will make a significant amount of connections and ultimately generate new sales, through utilising online web forums. Best of all, they’re free to use.
Gareth Mailer is an SEO professional – he owns Clickwork Media. Visit now for more information about SEO training in the UK.