TMCnet Feature
September 08, 2021

How to Promote Your Business Online for Free

Money vs. strategy… When promoting your business online, it can be difficult to know where to focus your attention, which areas are worth investing in, and which aspects of digital marketing you can take care of on your own.

For example, bidding on branded keywords in Google Ads is only a worthwhile expenditure if your brand is already well-established and has search volume. This means that people are specifically searching your business name, rather than just the products and services that you and your competitors offer.

As for non-branded keywords and other free SEO tools at your disposal, there are literally complete guides to SEO tools available online that will help you get started.

So, assuming you’ve already set up a professional business website and all the relevant social media pages, where do you start?

1. Website

Let’s go back to the website for a moment. Aside from being the bright, shiny beacon for which you want all your SEO content to point towards, your website should be its own promotional tool.

By that, I mean your website should contain:

  • Testimonials
  • Google (News - Alert) Reviews and TripAdvisor Ratings (if applicable to your business)
  • A blog, where you regularly post informative, accurate and engaging content in your field of expertise, using a variety of relevant keywords (there are numerous SEO tools available online that will help you determine what those keywords should be)
  • Plenty of contact options (phone, email, social media instant messaging, enquiry form, and perhaps even a chatbot if you feel that it’s necessary)

Don’t think of your website as a digital business card. A company’s website is often a potential customer’s first point of contact, and their first impression of your business as a whole – so make it a sleek, unique and professional first impression!

2. Socials

Whether your company’s social media pages have 10 followers, 10,000 followers or 10 million, they are an integral part of your online presence.

Social media gives a much more honest presentation of a brand’s customer service, and a more accurate indication of whether you’re providing those customers with a quality product.

Considering that consumers are increasingly turning to social media for product research before committing to a purchase, it’s crucial that you monitor your social accounts’ inboxes, timelines and review sections, so that you can provide a prompt response to any comments.

That’s the nitty gritty side of social media sorted; now let’s focus on the fun stuff!

3. Gamification

To gamify your marketing is to take that fun and exciting element of games, and apply this to your marketing campaigns.

To use a well-known example, pizza chain Domino’s was one of the original pioneers of gamification, with its Pacman-style live pizza tracker. More recently, Dom the Pizza Bot has been hired to ensure hungry home-diners remain entertained while they wait for their pizza to arrive.

Gamification and social media go hand-in-hand, and there is no limit to how you can engage your social media followers with gamified marketing. Here are some inspiring examples to get you started:

  • M&M’s created a “spot the odd one out” image, where a single pretzel was hiding somewhere in a grid containing hundreds of M&M’s. The image was shared on Mars’ social media pages to promote the release of its new pretzel-flavored M&M. The post received 25,000 likes, 6000 shares and continues to circulate on social media to this day.
  • “Caption this photo” competitions have yet to go out of style, for good reason… they work! Aside from rewarding social media users for their quick wit whilst expressing your brand’s willingness to be playful, photo caption contests always get the “tags” going, which tends to boost followers and drive engagement. A small prize giveaway is a miniscule price to pay!
  • A simple “how much do you know about…?” pop quiz is a quick and easy way to hook audiences in, without even needing to offer a reward. By sharing (or better yet, creating your own!) quizzes that directly relate to your business and its products or services, you can build some hype around your brand.

4. Loyalty Marketing

One of the most tragic (and, unfortunately, quite common) mistakes that many businesses make is focusing so hard on customer acquisition that they neglect their existing customers.

Why is this tragic? Because retaining a customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times cheaper than acquiring a new one, and 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customers.

There is a whole host of simple (and free!) customer retention techniques that you can employ to boost frequency of visit, average transaction value and brand engagement among your existing customers. For instance, promoting your referral program online is always effective (just look at Uber).

Many e-commerce businesses will also prompt customers to join their rewards program at check-out, with an upfront incentive to join (such as free shipping on today’s purchase, or a $5 voucher towards your next purchase).

By asking for customers’ email addresses upon registration to your loyalty program, you can rapidly expand your email list, which means better traction for e-newsletters and other email marketing. There are also some innovative techniques for using email to get brand new sales and leads.

5. Guest Appearances

Search engines reward quality content, with prime real estate. By “quality content”, I mean accurate and reliable information from a trusted source. And by “prime real estate”, I mean the highly sought after first page of results on Google, Bing and other popular search engines.

So, how do you establish yourself and your brand as a reliable authority in your chosen area of expertise? By featuring in publications with a wide readership of people who also specialise in your field.

In addition to creating your own content, it’s important to create content for other websites, with anchor text that links back to your site. As a digital marketer, I regularly appear in video interviews and podcasts that discuss marketing trends, and I’m constantly writing guest blogs.

Of course, depending on the size and scope of your business, this might be a task that simply doesn’t fit into your workload. If that’s the case, it might be worth considering bringing someone on-board to expand your business’s online presence.

Having a team member who is solely dedicated to your digital marketing efforts can massively reduce the time it takes to grow brand awareness and increase conversions.

I’ll leave you with one final tip: To stay ahead of the curve, don’t forget to keep an eye on what the future holds for digital marketing innovation.


BIO - David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organizations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.

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