There are many forms of free online marketing. If you have a big team of people to do all kinds of marketing for you, I’d say try to do all of what is on these pages. If you’re a one-man-show, you will have to pick your battles more carefully. At the very least, it would be a good idea to open your accounts in order to claim your business name before someone else does. Then a little participation every once in a while will pay it’s dividends over time.
If you have more time than business, or if you are forward looking, and you want to take advantage of everything at your disposal for generating business, you should take a good look at these methods, and implement a strategy for participating and contributing as much as possible. Each site that contains your URL will generate more link-juice for your money site, and also has the potential to send you direct traffic. Also, many of the web 2.0 social sharing and rating sites are viewed by Google as being trusted sources for what is know as citations. Proper listings on these sites will get your Google Local Places listing pushed up to a higher spot as well.
You will want to take a special look at sites like Yelp, Citysearch, MerchantCircle, Foursquare, and other sites of this kind. Create an account, or claim your page, and get to work filling out all the information about your business that is asked for. You’ll be surprised at the amount of traffic and calls some of these sites can generate for you.
Facebook, and Twitter are also a must in today’s world. Especially now that Google is beginning to use social signals from sites like these, for determining how high a site will rank in the regular search results.
Online classified sites like Craigslist can also drive new clients to your business. As people here are often looking for a bargain or even a trade, it’s often a good strategy to lead with a loss leader, and make your better profits after you have gained the new client and their trust in your ability to do a great job for them.
Mailing List Marketing
Another great way to promote your business is through a mailing list of prospective buyers that have visited your site and opted in to your list. Here’s how it works: You sign up for a auto-responder account at a company like AWebber or iContact, and they will give you a code you will insert on your website so you can collect email addresses from people who come to your site. The way you entice them to sign up is by giving them a free report or white-paper. Once they are on your list they will receive your drip-fed e-mails automatically. That way you will stay on their minds, and at some point when they need your service they will know where to go to get it. You can also sell other related offers to them once they are on your list.
Twitter can be very useful for finding and communicating with your audience. It’s also good for building social signals to your site. Google likes to see this kind of activity, and it will become more and more important as time goes on.
If you don’t have a twitter account, visit twitter.com and set one up. Be sure to fill out every field you can, and post a nice picture as well. Don’t wave your arms in the air and scream look at me in your marketing. Instead provide great information that people would like to read.
Next go to https://twitter.com/search and click on the advanced search link. Search for people with an interest in a subject that would be a good target audience for you, in an area that makes sense for you, and then hit enter. You will be given choices of many people to follow. Many will follow you back. These are people you can now communicate with on any subject, and occasionally send them a link to your website. build your list up over time by following more people, and by re-tweeting the tweets of others. If you provide value, people will find you and even seek you out.
Facebook is another 600 pound gorilla when it comes to social media and online free marketing. The concept is much the same as it is for Twitter. Create a personal account, then create a fan page for your business. Find and join some groups, and participate by providing value. Occasionally post a link to and interesting article you’ve written on your website or blog, for some Google love, and more importantly for some excellent direct traffic to your site or offer.
Google+ is still the new kid in town, but it is not only gaining strength already, but is expected to be a major player in social media and Internet marketing in the near future. Unlike Facebook, Google plus allows you to create business pages directly. So go to Google+ create your page, add some content, join some groups, get some people into your circles, and begin providing value and information. An occasional link to your own page, content, or site will be good for your business. Just don’t overdo it. The opportunity for marketing will come with time.
Shortcut Method for Social Media Marketing
This method will get you up and running in no time, on most of today’s important social media websites. I’m not gong to cover the details for setting up each account, as that seems to be changing all the time. What I’m going to do here is give you an overview so you can get started.
- Create a short YouTube video about your product or service using the methods in the video marketing section.
- Create a YouTube account by going to YouTube and clicking the sign in button at the top of the page, then the “create an account” button. Follow the prompts.
- Create a YouTube channel by clicking the link. There will be an opportunity to add a header image, a link to your site, links to other social media sites, and to upload an introduction video for your channel. That’s where you put the video you made.
- As part of the set-up process, you will automatically be given a G+ page for your account.
- Fill out everything you think is relavant. Don’t worry as you wll be able to go back and add or change things later.
- If you don’t have a FaceBook business page yet, you should add one to your personal FaceBook page. Do not create a business page that is not associated with a personal page, as FaceBook currently does not allow it.
- While you’re at it, create a Twitter account if you do not have one.
- Go back to the G+ dashboard and add in your links to FaceBook and Twitter in the links area.
- You should post about your video to your FaceBook page, and you should also tweet about it on Twitter. While you’re at it, you may want to add your video to your website to keep people engaged longer on your site.
- Be sure to invite everyone you want from your email list, etc, to your pages.
- Be sure to add content that people will want to share with others.