5 Ways to Promote Your Business on a $0 Budget

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According to Strategy Analytics, the U.S. advertising spend is estimated at $187 billion for 2015. Of this amount, $52.8 billion (28%) is expected to be invested in digital advertising. Now it may be $30 billion behind traditional channels such as TV advertising, but digital is still the fastest growing sector. A major reason behind the disconnect between its wide and growing popularity and its low spend is the fact that many effective digital marketing and advertising methods don’t require a lot of money. In fact, by the end of this post, you’ll know five ways to promote your business online without spending a single dime.

1. Start a Blog

Blogging is no longer an option for today’s businesses. Not only are blog posts necessary for today’s smarter shoppers, but they also improve your website’s SEO ranking as they allow you to put up fresh content regularly. According to Hubspot, B2B marketers that use blogs generate 67% more leads than those who don’t. Moreover, marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy a positive ROI. The only thing you’ll need to invest is your time, which may not be as costly as ad spaces or PPC campaigns.

If you want to tap into the power of what Pamorama believes to be the fifth most trustworthy source of information online, here are five quick tips to promote your business via your blog.

  • Write some posts where you answer questions and reply to comments from both potential and existing customers. In addition to addressing concerns, you’ll get the chance to flaunt your authority, generate content for future clients, and showcase the benefits of your products/services.
  • Use your blog to announce new products or services you intend on releasing. This will excite your existing customers and show others how you value innovation.
  • Connect with other bloggers within your same niche. You both can benefit by writing about each other on your own business blog.
  • Don’t hesitate to share great customer testimonials on your blog. Those who wrote them may share them via social media, inviting their friends to try your offerings.
  • Use your blog to push new coupon codes and ignite sales. Make sure to do so occasionally rather than daily. Also complement these promotional posts with informative and fun ones to create a readership rather than just generate sales.

2. Establish Your Presence on Instagram and Pinterest

By April 2015, 72.8 million users (47.1 million American users) were on Pinterest and a little over 300 million (77.6 million) used Instagram. According to Pinterest Statistics for Business Sources, the average amount of sales generated through the platform was $123.50 in 2014. Pinterest also brings 300% more referral traffic to websites and influences the decisions of 47% of online shoppers. On the other hand, Instagram has proven to be more successful than Twitter in engaging users. According to E-Consultancy, the top 25 most engaging brands flaunted a 3.31% average post engagement rate on Instagram while scoring 0.07% on Twitter.

If you’re interested in using Instagram, Pinterest or both, here are five tips to help you out.

  • Create the right balance between fun images and pictures from your business. Most people are bound to share or like the first kind, but at least your company profile will go viral.
  • Invite other users to contribute with their own images. They can pin their own to a board you set up or use hashtags to group images in one place.
  • Inspire your followers by showcasing how your products or services can be used in different settings. For instance, if you run a furniture store, create a whole room using your products and share its picture with others.
  • Initiate contests through Pinterest or Instagram. You can further leverage Instagram photo contests with Facebook if you have the right hashtag.
  • Tell your brand’s story through pictures. Add photos of the people who make your brand what it is to give fans a sense of your mission and reinforce your gratitude and love for them.

3. Circulate Press Releases

Press releases are one of the effective content marketing strategies if done correctly. Take for instance Green River Adventures’ PR regarding the launch of The Gorge zip line. Multiple publications and stations picked the story, allowing it to reach more than 8 million people. As a result, the company had a sold-out first year. If you want similar success (if not more), consider the following five tips.

  • Draft a great press release that offers value to its readers. Remember that commercial interest will flatten it since this is supposed to be news.
  • Create headlines that pique the curiosity of the media so that your PR receives the interest it deserves.
  • Try circulating at least two press releases per month in order to remain relevant to both your customers and search engines.
  • If you run out of products or services to promote, consider taking a stance on a hot topic and quoting the views of one of your top tier decision makers.
  • Don’t praise your business or offerings in the body of your press release. Instead, define what you do and what you provide in the boilerplate area along with your contact details.

4. Establish Your Authority via Forums

Many believe that forums are a thing of the past, but there are thousands of people who still visit them to learn more and interact with likeminded individuals. Reddit, a community where numerous topics ranging from entertainment to pets are discussed, attracts 169 million unique users monthly. It has been used to advertise events and products both directly and indirectly. In fact, celebrities like Jeff Goldblum and Will Ferrell have promoted their movies and charities through this platform. To establish yourself as an expert and direct others to your offerings, use the following five tips to advertise via forums.

  • Target forums that cover the same niche as you. Only then can you reach your target market, interact with them, and coax them to visit your site.
  • NEVER go for blatant advertising. Forum users are informed, internet-savvy and very critical, so they’ll spot your ads and shun them or take action against them.
  • Reply to comments on your thread and make sure to be polite even while facing a troll.
  • The best way to promote your business via forums is through your profile and signature. Make sure that both have your business name as well as website URL. Forum contributors should also know what you do, so explain your business in a few sentences in your profile.
  • Be helpful while replying. Provide your own experiences and insight without mentioning what your company can do or offer. This will help you gain others’ trust and earn their respect.

5. Let Google Maps Put You on the Map

Google Maps can help you reach new customers who may be looking for the type of products or services you offer. Adding your business to this free service further allows you to share important information such as hours of operation and coupons, encouraging sales as well. All you need to do is log in with your Google username and password and fill out the information required. To further make your business stand out, prompt existing clients for reviews and add pictures of the inside and outside of your company.

These are just some of the methods you can start advertising your business for free. However, don’t shy away from paid methods, especially since you always get what you pay for with the right agency. 

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