Promotion Tips in 2019

Free Website Promotion Tips

If you’re doing website marketing for your small business here are ten tips for how to do free website promotion:

1. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

When users find your website when they search for something via Google, Bing, or other search engines, you’re essentially getting free website marketing. This is why search engine optimization or SEO is important—by making sure that search engines can understand and categorize your website properly, your website will show up in search results when users type in relevant keywords. This beats paying for search engine advertising not just in terms of cost, but also for performance. For example, the SEO experts at MOZ cite research from Enquisite that found that for every click generated by a paid search result ad, organic results get eight and a half times more clicks.

But how do you know if your website is optimized for search engines? One way to check is to use an SEO auditing tool. You can input your website URL into these tools, and they’ll display a report on what your site might look like in search engine results and how effective your site’s current SEO is. Some tools even display a list of things you can improve on. Here are some of the free tools you can use to see if your site is missing some key SEO tweaks:

2. Start an Email List

You can also get free website promotion and start gathering leads by creating an email list. If this sounds challenging, know that it’s worth it: For every dollar spent on email marketing, you get a return of investment of $38, according to the Direct Marketing Association. In other words, once you get your SEO in place, it makes perfect business sense to focus on email marketing next.

While most email marketing software requires paid membership to get access to advanced features, there are many things you can do with free accounts. Here are some free email marketing software plans you can start with:

  • Mailchimp’s plan is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month—more than enough for your small business. You won’t get access to advanced segmentation and testing features, however.
  • TinyLetter (also owned by Mailchimp) is a simpler mailing list app that’s meant exclusively for newsletters. It’s completely free, but lacks the business features available on Mailchimp’s free plan.
  • Benchmark also has a free plan for 2,000 subscribers and 14,000 emails sent per month.
  • Mailerlite is minimalist and meant for small businesses. The free plan allows for 1,000 subscribers, but you can send an unlimited number of emails per month.

3. Reach Out to Bloggers 

When you’re just starting out with your website marketing and you don’t have an audience yet, one of the ways to rapidly grow your audience is to borrow the audience of someone else. You can do this by creating relationships with bloggers or influencers that your target audience tends to follow. The end game here is to develop a relationship well enough that they’ll end up reviewing your products, mentioning your business, or giving you a guest blogging spot (see tip #4 below).

To find bloggers in your industry, you can use a tool like the free version of FollowerWonk. Let’s say you’ve got an online organic food store. Simply search organic food, and FollowerWonk will come up with a list of Twitter users with the words “organic food” in their bio. Start following these users and getting to know them through their posts. In the coming year, be on the lookout for opportunities to reach out to them.

4. Guest Blogging

Are you a skilled writer? If so, you can get some free website promotion by guest blogging. This means pitching an article topic or idea to a blog relevant to your target audience and, when approved, you can write that article for publication on the blog. 

When your article gets published, you’ll have the opportunity to mention your website in your bio or even in the content of your article. Anyone who then reads your article and wants to know more will end up clicking on the links to your website. Plus, having new incoming links to your website can help with your search engine optimization.

5. Get Interview Opportunities

Another way to get free website marketing is to make yourself available as a resource person for interviews. These interviews could be from magazines, newspapers, blogs, local TV shows, radio shows, online publications, online video shows, or podcasts. The more relevant the venue is to your business, the better. Here are some ways you can look for interview opportunities:

  • Look for podcasts, online video shows, and local media that cover your industry or the city/location of your business. Contact them and present yourself to the host as a possible future interviewee. List reasons why you’d be a good resource person. If you can, refer to previous episodes/articles and what you could have added if you were interviewed on that particular episode/article.
  • Use tools like Help a Reporter Out or Source Bottle and list yourself as a subject matter expert in your field. These tools help journalists and bloggers get in touch with experts, and if that’s you, you’ll likely be able to mention your business or website.

6. Be Helpful in Online Communities

Another way to promote your website is to offer advice, answers, and insight in online communities that your target audience tends to join. Start by searching for online forums or groups that cover the problems you’re trying to solve with your products and businesses. For example, if you run a pet supply store, you can look for online forums on pet care. Or, if you provide website design services to small businesses, you can look for online forums for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

You can also visit broad discussion groups and look for subgroups there that host discussions on your topic. Here are some sites you can try:

  • Quora. Quora is a question and answer site. You can find many categories here including trivia, industries, and current events.
  • reddit. reddit hosts many forums, known as “subreddits”, on specific topics. If you’re targeting an audience under a specific industry or have a particular hobby, you can try looking for subreddits in that topic.
  • Stack Exchange. Stack Exchange is similar to reddit, but their most active communities have a technical slant.
  • Facebook Groups. There are Facebook groups for almost every interest, hobby, and demographic group. Just do a search on Facebook for the type of group you’re looking to reach, and odds are you’ll see dozens of examples.
  • LinkedIn Groups. Since LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals, the groups here tend to be based on industry and profession. 
  • HackerNews. HackerNews is a social news site focusing on the tech startup community. If you’re targeting tech startups and entrepreneurs, programmers, or computer scientists, this community is for you.

7. Create a Quality Piece of Evergreen Content

It’s tempting to commit to a blog when you first launch your website but, as a small business owner, starting and maintaining a blog can be time-consuming. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t release any content. Instead, create high-quality evergreen content that can be shared among your potential customers. This can be a video, whitepaper, eBook, report, a long form article, or an infographic. 

Cook Smarts, a meal plan service, regularly releases high quality evergreen content that tends to go viral. Their infographics are simple but informative, making it easier for their branding to be seen by their target audience—people who are interested in food but don’t have time to cook elaborate meals. 

Video, especially when it evokes strong emotions, can also work well as evergreen content. Purple Feather, a copywriting agency in Glasgow, created a touching video ad that showed the power of words. In the video, a woman was able to help a beggar receive more donations by changing the words on his sign. The ad now has more than 27 million views on YouTube.

In other words, when creating content that could attract the attention of potential customers, focus on quality not quantity. When your content is high quality and you share it in the right channels, it won’t be hard for your target audience to notice it and end up finding your business.

8. Submit to Online Directories

While yellow pages aren’t as commonly used as they were two decades ago, online business directories can work really well for website promotion. Basically, you submit your business name, address, website, and other contact information to an online business directory. They’ll then include your business in their listings, making your website and business more visible in search results.

Here are some online directories you can submit to:

9. Send Out a Press Release

With your new website up and running, you can start with website marketing by letting journalists and other interested parties know that you’ve launched. You can do this by writing a press release announcing the launch of your website and making the story interesting by starting with what makes your business unique. This could be your background story, the way you source your products, or any other newsworthy items relevant to your business. Then, look up journalists or publications in your area, finding their contact information for press releases, and sending them your press release.

You can also use the following services to send out your press release for free:

Note that the above services also have paid press release writing and distribution services. Still, their free plans can allow you to get your press release out there and even have a backlink to your new website.

10. Add Your Website to Your Email Signature

Finally, you can also promote your small business website by adding it to your email signature. That way, all the emails you send out will have a call to action to visit your website. Apart from being free, this is also a very simple way to let people know about your site.

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Internet Marketing Tips

Marketing for small businesses is difficult. Knowing what to do or where to start can be overwhelming and confusing. What works for one business may not work for another. What you as a business owner have to do is find out what works for your business. There are different types of marketing strategies when it comes to internet marketing, but these five tips should help you to see success no matter which tool or platform you use.

1. Begin with the End in Mind. Establish Goals

As with most things in life you should begin with the end in mind. When it comes to internet marketing you should set a goal for what you want to get out of it. Is it more customers? Is it more traffic to your website? Is it more awareness about your product? Is it all of the above?

The key to successful internet marketing is to establish smaller goals to help get to that big goal you ultimately want to get to. At first, you should set reasonable and attainable goals like “gain another lead per week” or something along those lines. Whatever your main reason is for doing internet marketing, make sure you add structure to it with goals

2. Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

With so much content for people to read out there and so many options to choose from it is important to establish yourself as an authority on what your business provides. You want people to come to your site because they believe you have the best information or the best knowledge of whatever their problems are, you want your customers to think of you as a thought leader or an expert. You can achieve this by constantly posting content on your business blog that is helpful and informative for your customers.

3. Make Sure Your Website is Optimized

Just having a website that you haven’t touched for a while isn’t good enough nowadays. You can’t neglect your website. You have to treat your website kind of like your car, and constantly check on it if you want it to drive smoothly. Therefore, you need to optimize your site. You want to make sure that your site can be found easily online with good SEO

4. Aim to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Now that you have an SEO optimized website, you have to figure out all the other different ways to bring people to it. There are tons of different options and platforms you can use to drive traffic to your website.

5. Pace Yourself

Between email marketing, social media, video marketing and all of the other digital channels out there its easy to get lost. When it comes to internet marketing, it’s important not to drink through a fire hose. Start off with a few strategies so that you don’t get overwhelmed. As you get the hang of things, you can add on new strategies.

6. Cross-Promote

To get the most out of internet marketing, make sure that you’re not just using multiple channels, but also that you’re integrating these channels into one coherent system. Promote your content across multiple channels, spread the word about your email list on social media, and put your social media handles into your marketing emails. You can also integrate some of your offline marketing techniques with internet marketing strategies.

7. Stay Up on Internet Marketing Best Practices

You’ve heard about best practices, but what does it mean exactly? It refers to the good (“white hat”) tactics you should be using to get your business found online. Using “black hat” practices can result in penalties from Google, Facebook, and spam filters. Here are some important best practices for the main channels of internet marketing:

SEO:  Use keywords (but do not keyword stuff!) and write descriptive, unique content on your website and blog posts. 

Website: make it easy to navigate and mobile friendly, and include clear calls-to-action (CTAs)

Facebook: use the 80/20 rule when posting (80% non-promotional content and 20% promotional content). 

Email: avoid “spammy” words like “FREE”  in your subject line and include an “unsubscribe” option for your recipients. 

There are many angles and opinions to take into consideration when working on your digital marketing campaigns, but best practices serve as a crucial guideline and professional barometer by which to measure your standards.

8. Give Your Audience Content They Want

A big part of your internet marketing strategy should be providing your audience with helpful content. It’s important for your potential customers to think of you as a resource to them. Providing potential buyers with content they can use is a great way to become their trusted advisor. Here are four genres of content to publish for your audience:

Educational – Want to become that trusted advisor to your customer? Educate them! A great way to do this is to post tips about your industry. If you’re a catering business maybe you could post a “Best Foods to Serve at a Graduation Party,”  or a Crossfit Center can post “15 Minute Workouts for Professionals”.

Inspirational – Inspire your customers with a story or a great article you found. Or maybe a quote that you live by. Whatever it is, make sure it’s inspiring!

Interesting –  People can consume articles, news, and blogs at a rate never before seen today. They are constantly being bombarded with advertisements and therefore its become imperative to make your content easy for customers to consume. Break up blog posts with pictures or other types of useful content. Include visuals in your social media posts. People don’t really want to read something that is just a wall of text. So remember a picture is worth a thousand words.

Promotional– Every once in awhile you want to mix in something about your own business and how it can help them. After all, you’re providing them with all this great content, so why not let them know what else they can get from you? Posting about a promotion you are doing or if you have a new class coming up gives your audience opportunities to deepen their engagement with you, and perhaps move down their path to becoming a customer.

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A quality website is important for a business. Why?

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People search the internet for businesses, products, services, etc. The days of relying on phone books are long gone. If someone needs to find information, they are most likely turning to the internet to find it. When they search for something you offer or specifically for your business, you want to show up- and not just show up- but show up and look good.

Looking good is important because your website is often your first impression you give potential customers. If they found you through a search or through a link a friend gave them, your website will be your first point of contact with them. Before they even see your store or talk to your staff, they will see your website. You want that first impression to be a good one.

Your storefront and showroom look good, right? Why do they look good? Because you know customers will see them and form an opinion about the business based on them (in addition to factors such as customer service, quality, price, etc. of course). Think of your website as your digital storefront and showroom. People are looking at it and are forming an opinion about the business based on it. So make it look good!

What makes up a quality website?

A quality website is clean, well-organized, easy to navigate, clear/concise, modern (in terms of style and layout), functional, branded, and motivates the visitor to do business with you. Information such as hours of operation, location, and contact info should be extremely easy to find. If you have social media profiles, buttons linked to these profiles should be present. People want a quick solution to their problem or a quick answer to their question. Make it easy for them. They also want to look at something that is visually appealing. Give them that with a quality website.

A quality website looks good in all browsers. You should browser test your website to make sure it looks right and functions properly across all browsers.

A quality website also looks good and is easy to use on a mobile device. The current trend of increasing mobile use to access the internet means your website needs to be properly built and designed for optimal mobile viewing.

A quality website is also well-polished. This means it has no spelling or grammatical errors, no lame clip art, no 1995 web design traits, no blurry images, no loose ends. Your content is complete and visually appealing. Fonts match across the entire website and font color and size choices have been properly made (yes, this means no lime green size 18 font on a white backdrop with a flashing clip art graphic underneath it).

Your website is a tool. Make that tool quality from the start. Then use it and take good care of it.

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