Digital marketing is an essential to building your brand, growing your audience and increasing sales, but marketing services can be expensive. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t get started with low-cost digital marketing techniques. If you are just starting out or have a tight budget, there are still many ways that you can start marketing your business by only spending a few dollars—or in some cases, nothing at all.
Build a Website
In today’s digital market, having a website is crucial, no matter how small your business is. Before you set up your site, you’ll need to purchase a domain name. A typical domain costs no more than $20, and in most cases domain providers will include free hosting and template builders. A template builder is a tool that will give your website a professional and streamlined look with minimal effort, so that even beginners can build a polished site without a graphic design degree or a huge amount of time.
Just building a simple one page website will have a substantial positive impact on your business—it will secure your piece of the internet and be a great start to point people to your business until you are ready to invest in professional website design.
Claim your Google My Business Page
Claiming or creating your business’s Google My Business (GMB) page is a must do for new business owners and only takes a few minutes. When you have your GMB set up, Google will allow you to share information and post updates, let customers leave reviews, and showcase photos to people that Google your business.
Having a GMB is also important because it is the only way that your business appears in the covert “map pack” in a Google search. As an added perk, Google will often offer you $100 of free Pay-Per-Click advertising when you create your new GMB page.
Investing time in answering questions online that are related to your field is a great way to show yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Answering these questions provides valuable help to those who are actively seeking advice for services similar to the ones you offer. By providing this valuable information, you can showcase that you know what you are talking about and gain great exposure. Furthermore, by personally providing them with your expertise, potential customers are more likely to trust you and feel as if they have a connection with you and your business.
Two great outlets to use to answer questions online are Quora and Twitter. Quora is a website that allows anyone to ask a question about a wide variety of topics. You can create a free account, follow related questions in your vertical and you jump on and answer them. Quora also allows you to make a 50-character tagline in your profile where you can add your credentials and also plug your business name for a little extra free publicity.
Twitter will allow you to follow hashtags related to your industry and join in on conversations with people that need assistance. By answering questions on your business Twitter, you can also gain followers who you can market your business to through Twitter posts.
Get active on social media
If you don’t already have social media accounts set up for your business, sign up today and start posting. Social media sites and apps are platforms for you to share images, information and other promotional materials at no cost other than the time it takes to create your posts.
Even without social media marketing, posting on social media regularly will not only grow your audience, but create a consistent connection that will cultivate brand loyalty and engagement. It can be helpful to build a content calendar to stay organized and ensure that you are posting habitually in an orderly manner. Also, don’t forget to get involved in pages and communities on various social media platforms—engaging in conversations where your ideal customers are will help bring them to your business.
Livestream your work
Once you’ve set up your social media accounts, use these platforms to livestream your work. All you need to create a livestream video is an internet connection and a camera phone. Your live stream videos should be professional but can also be informal and easy to film. Showing yourself and your employees “behind the scenes” helps you to build a deeper connection to your followers, who will feel privileged to get a more unpolished and authentic glimpse of your work. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram also favor and prioritize accounts that show live video, which will boost your accounts’ places in their algorithms and increase your exposure.
Tell everyone you know
Don’t be shy about spreading the word about your business. Bring up your organization and any new developments in every conversation with both old friends and new connections. Showing excitement and sharing your passion for your endeavors with your social circle is a free and easy way to increase your exposure and build brand awareness. Being transparent and consistently sharing updates will not only build trust with your friends and acquaintances, but will also lead to more referrals and revenue in the long run.
Most Importantly—just get started!
There many things you can do to market your business for free—the key is to just start today. You don’t need to wait until you’ve built up a large marketing budget or have your entire strategy figured out. Taking small, low-cost steps to build your brand both in the digital sphere and in person will snowball into greater results over time.