As a small business or start-up, getting your product or service noticed by potential customers, and even knowing where to start, can be a daunting challenge. Luckily, in the digital age this is easier than ever whether you’re looking to connect with customers locally or even sell worldwide. There are a number of tools available to entrepreneurs to promote their business online free of cost. Read on for our top five!
1. Social Media
Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Youtube, and more can be valuable tools in the promotion of your business. With so many different social media networks though, where does one start? It’s not necessary to be on every social media network as this can become difficult to manage, and lack of activity may even impact your business negatively. It’s important to understand the benefits of each channel and spend some time researching where your target customers are spending their time online. While there’s nothing wrong with trying out new social networks, the 80:20 rule is a good one to keep in mind. Once you know where your customers are spending their time online, focus 80% of your effort on the 20% of those specific social media channels. This strategy should yield the best return on your time invested. With different social networks, content creation and engaging with your customers is the key to building a loyal following online.
2. Google Business Profiles
A Google business profile offers a huge boost to your business in getting found locally online free of charge. This profile can be set up and verified at Google Business. Once complete, your profile will show up in Google’s search results and maps when potential customers are searching for your business directly, or for the products and services you offer. With over 90% of internet searches being made through Google, this amounts to a lot of potential customers finding your business online. When creating your Business profile be sure to fill out as much information as possible and take advantage of the photo upload feature too. The more information you provide customers, the better equipped they feel in making a purchasing decision. Another added benefit here is Google’s algorithm favours more complete profiles over less complete ones giving you an additional edge over your competitors.
3. Online Business Directories
Although not as depended on as they once were in the early era of the internet, online business directories can still offer value in listing your business online. Many common online directories remain free including Yelp and Bing. Some municipality websites have free online directories for licensed businesses and the same goes for local Chambers of Commerce and other organizations your business may already be a member of. Take advantage of these perks for an extra boost online to help attract local customers to your business.
4. Online Forums & Communities
Online forums and communities are hubs of activity where users share an interest. Some of these common communities include Facebook Groups, Reddit, and interest-specific forums. Posting as your business or responding to user questions can be one way to add value in these communities to other users as well as your business. When promoting your business in either online forums or communities, always be sure to familiarize yourself with the posting rules and guidelines first. Often these communities limit the types and frequency of business-related posts making it a good practice to read up in advance to ensure no rules are violated.
5. Customer Reviews
Customer reviews do rely on having active online profiles such as social media or business listings but are worth their weight in gold. Trust is a foundational component of any relationship and seeing brands with a loyal customer base willing to take the time to leave positive reviews of their experience with a company shows a high level of trust. Businesses with positive reviews are deemed far more trustworthy online than businesses without. Encourage, or even offer a small incentive for, any repeat customers to leave you a review online once your profiles have been created. These reviews can be the deciding factor in customers choosing your business over a competitor.
Looking for more ways to improve your online presence?
While these tools are all effective to connect with customers and drive sales, ultimately a website is the best channel to reach a broader customer base and to grow your business online. When you’re ready to take your online presence to the next level contact Alpine Creative for a free, no-obligation quote. We offer website design and eCommerce solutions to meet your budget and are committed to delivering a final product that you are completely satisfied with. Elevate your business today with Alpine Creative.