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Steps to market your business online for free

The bane of big tech businesses can be the boom for small businesses.

If you follow business news, virtually everyday there’s an article about a tech company struggling to find a way to “monetize” its business. This happens because many online companies give away their service – or at least a good chunk of their service – for free.

That’s bad news for them, but good news for you. Let’s take a quick survey of some ways you can market your business online for free.

Get a website

It’s fascinating to me that you can still get a website for free. Just about all of the major DIY website builders have a free plan. The focus in this article is on DIY ecommerce sites – which aren’t free – but the services I mention generally offer some level of free site. The companies that heavily advertise, such as Wix, Websitebuilder, and Weebly, have free plans.

Even if you have a website, using one of these DIY sites to re-build it could be a good idea. Take a hard look at your current site. If it’s outdated, spend the energy to bring it up-to-date.

Use Facebook as your website

Some businesses can get by without a stand-alone website and just use their Facebook business page. There’s one important strategy to implement here, though. Get your own domain name – make it match the name of your business as much as possible – and then make the DNS (domain name server) send traffic to your Facebook page. Whoever you used to buy your domain name should be able to help you point your traffic to your Facebook page.

Here’s how this would work for you:

  • Someone searches for your business on Google
  • You website URL comes up such as mybusiness.com,
  • The person clicks on your URL and gets sent to your Facebook page.

Use a free blogging service

Google offers free blogs via Blogger, and WordPress.com also lets you start a blog for free. A simple blog is a good way to market your business online for free, especially in its early days. And if you’re still in the planning stages, you can use a blog to build interest and excitement about your project.

Open social media accounts

You can create free social media accounts for your business. Do all the main platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Periscope. It’s true that you may end up not using all of them, but you certainly want to get ownership of your handle before anyone else grabs it.

Next steps

Once you have a free website, free Facebook page, or free blog, you’ve created a web presence. The next step in your quest to market your business online for free is to get people to see or experience your web presence and follow your social media accounts.

Let me suggest that the first step in driving traffic to your website and acquiring social media followers is to make complete use of your personal and professional list of contacts. (You’ll find some good hacks to do this in this article.) Send one or more emails to everyone in your address book. If you’re on LinkedIn – and you should be – send a copy of this email to all of your connections.

Be sure to ask your contacts to forward your email to any of their contacts that would be interested in your business.

Lather, rinse, repeat

Except for the small price you’ve paid to get your domain name, so far everything I’ve described here can be accomplished for free.

Once these elements are in place, it’s time to:

  • Post content on your website and promote it through the social media, and
  • Post on social media to build your following and drive traffic back to your website.

The steps to market your business online for free are not difficult. However, only the most persistent and creative will enjoy great success.

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