How to promote your business online for free?
Promoting your business in the virtual world for free is much like promoting your business out in the physical world. Things such as networking, exchanging information, and always looking for new ways and places to get your business name out there are key both online and offline. You don’t have to bust your advertising budget either; anyone from a huge corporation down to a new business working out of a garage can use the internet to promote for free.
Also read: How to start a blog and make money?
To help you get started I’ve organized and listed a few key areas to focus on while preparing and promoting your online presence for your business.
This buzzword term is often overlooked or ignored altogether when launching a promotional blitz of a business online. But SEO Analytics (Search Engine Optimization Analytics) is a critical part of promoting your website because successful SEO of your site will bring traffic from all search engines to your site from relevant searches. Say your business sells cell phones and you want to promote your cell phone online store. Search engines use crawlers and spiders that are search programs that browse the internet looking for keywords that match a search. Say someone types in the words ‘new cell phones for low prices’ into Google; Google’s system then browses all the known pages in it’s database and returns results that best match the search. Sites with high traffic and the most number of relevant keywords (such as cell phone in this case) will rank higher in the searches. You can’t get higher traffic without people finding your site and thus increasing traffic to it.
Don’t be fooled by sites that claim to help you prepare your site for a fee; there are plenty of resources available to help tweak your site to maximize the rankings and placement of your site in all the top search engines. Be sure each page of your website includes valuable keywords relevant to your business within the text, links, and meta tags. Meta tags are hidden html that search engine crawlers use to find sites and put them under relevant topics. You can search meta tags on any search engine and find easy step by step ways to prepare these tags for your site in the site coding.
You can also find free sites that will analyze you site and help you maximize your site’s position and rankings in search engines; thus where the term SEO Analytics comes from. These analysis’s can show you everything from which search phrases often end in hits to your site to where you can add and improve keywords.
Once you’ve made sure your site has a lot of relevant keywords throughout the site (sometimes you put in keywords without even knowing it) you’ll want to make sure search engines can find your site and if they don’t you can even submit your URL to them. Search for free web site submissions online and you’ll come across a slew of sites that allow you to enter your URL and a brief description of your site. That information is then submitted to usually 20-4o search engine sites. Those search engines will then crawl your site, find keywords, and place your site in ever-changing rankings in it’s search results making it more likely searches for what your selling will end with customers at your site.
Besides the SEO concepts above, you can’t forget about the old standard in online promotion which is linking your site to other sites. These could include posting your link and site information to forums that match your business (such as posting information about a baseball card trading site to a forum about baseball or collecting). The key here is to not spam the forums which can result in you getting banned from those forums and leave a bad impression about your business. You’ll want to carefully and frugally post your site on these forums and invite people to send feedback and so forth. It also doesn’t hurt to be patient and develop a repertoire with the forum regulars so you can send them links without acting like a spammer just busting in and posting away.
You can also develop relationships with other sites that relate to what your business does or sells. Searching for sites that share an interest in your product or similar products can lead to trading links with that site. Link for link or banner for banner promotion is generally free and is an agreement between to webmasters that they’ll cross promote each other’s site on their site. It is usually free and can lead to increased traffic for both of you. You can e-mail owners of sites of interest and see if they are willing to trade links; you can also invite them to visit your site and offer feedback.
Just starting out you can post links to your business site on your social networking profile like Facebook or MySpace or even place a link in your e-mail signature. You’d be surprised how this can spread word of your site.
Creating a Buzz-
Speaking of inviting people to visit your site and offer feedback, creating a buzz is a great way to get traffic to your site. They say no publicity is bad publicity and by talking to and contacting various bloggers, webmasters, and members of social networking sites you can help create a grassroots buzz for your business. Getting individual bloggers and social networkers on your site is great because promotion relies on their enthusiasm for your site. If they like what you do or what you sell they are likely to spread the word and tell friends. This kind of buzz can happen both online and offline but a good place to start is with your current customers. Ask satisfied customers to consider telling a friend or spreading the word about your site if they like what they see there. After all satisfied customers are often repeat customers and willing to share their good experience with others.
Above all remember to be creative in promoting your business both online and offline. Promotion is key to getting the word out and there is a wealth of resources available online to help you get traffic to your site which will lead to more customers and a growing business.