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How to Promote Your Small Business Online With a Low Budget

December 11, 2018

When you are running a small business, your online marketing budget is usually fairly low, or non-existent.

As a result, you have to be exceptionally creative when it comes to utilizing the resources available to you in order to come up with low cost ways to promote your business online.

If you are anything like us, chances are you will spend dozens of hours in blogs, forums, and social media platforms looking for the answers to your questions until you have exhausted all of your options and sucked up all valuable information like a sponge.

Lucky for you, we understand that your time is precious as a business owner. So, we made this comprehensive guide to help business owners find ways to promote your online business at a low cost, while still seeing positive results, and saving yourself a lot of time.

Well, let’s get to it already!

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1. (Picking the Right) Social Media Platforms for Your Business

There are four main social media giants that every small business owner should be leveraging in their content marketing strategy:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

While there are hundreds of other social media platforms out there, these are the top ones that we recommend business owners get started with for a few reasons:

  • They have the most users
  • They have very specific and realistic ways of reaching users and can easily be used for both paid and organic growth
  • They are extremely effective
  • They are the best platforms for gaining brand awareness, brand loyalty, and new leads

Now, each industry is different, but for the most part, the way you use each of these social media sites to promote your business on a shoestring budget is the same.

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn is best for people in the B2B space who are looking for new leads and to build their audience and brand awareness.
This platform is a great place to find groups of professionals in your industry that you can learn from and also teach.

It is a great way to generate traffic for your content, and also get ideas for your content. The people in these groups are asking very specific questions at a very high level. This is a great way to find content gaps in your industry and provide a high level of expertise with your content.

This makes for a great opportunity to build a content marketing strategy around topics that no one in your industry seems to want to touch.

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Facebook

Facebook is good for both B2B and B2C, but definitely leans more to the consumer side of things.

Facebook is a great way to grow your small business on a low budget for a few reasons:

  • You can gain exposure to a large portion of your audience
  • You can grow through paid ads later on
  • You can find professional groups with highly engaged users

Ideally, you want to also use Facebook to connect with your existing customer base.

This can be done in a few easy ways:

  • Send them notifications for deals and promotions
  • Ask them for their feedback on your products and services
  • Educate them on your business and value
  • Build a brand story

Ultimately, you want to use Facebook in order to connect with your audience, and allow them to learn more about what it is you do and why it pertains to them.

how to promote your small business for free on instagram

Instagram

Instagram is perhaps the most visual platform on the web, making it a perfect place for people with B2C companies to market to their audience.

Instagram is best for business owners who are looking to:

  • They have the most users
  • They have very specific and realistic ways of reaching users and can easily be used for both paid and organic growth
  • They are extremely effective
  • They are the best platforms for gaining brand awareness, brand loyalty, and new leads

The best part about growing your business on Instagram is the ability to work with influencers and micro influencers in order to market your company at a low cost.

Often times, these influencers have very specific audiences, which makes it easy to identify whether or not they are the right people to rep your brand.

These influencers will also likely promote your product for a ridiculously low price. In our experience, working with influencers on Instagram is grossly underpriced, often times with people of 30,000+ audiences with 1,000+ engagement willing to make posts for as little as $15.

For business owners on even lower budgets than this, we have even encountered influencers who are willing to promote things for free as long as you send them a free sample.

You can also utilize the power of influencer marketing for small businesses by providing them with commission based incentives which encourage them to promote your product more frequently and more aggressively.

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YouTube

YouTube is perhaps one of the easiest social media platforms to growth hack in a very short period of time.

Knowing how to grow an audience on YouTube can be the catalyst for building a large social following for your brand in a very short period of time.

For the most part, YouTube is entirely free to use, as long as you have spent a bit of time and money procuring a quality camera setup and a bit of editing skills and software.

From there, growing your audience on YouTube is all about consistency and relevance. The more relevant your content is and the more quality you can put into a video, the better it will rank. The more consistent you are, the better results you will see from your content marketing campaign.

YouTube is also a great platform for small business owners on a low budget to promote their business because it allows for paid ads, which can later be used as you gain more traction.

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2. Utilize Forums to Your Advantage

Forums are another great way to promote your business online on a low budget.

First of all, almost all forums are free. But more importantly, you are able to engage with your audience in a very personalized way.

While forums may draw a smaller audience that does not share as much, or generate as much hype as other types of social media platform, they are great for companies that aim to solve very specific problems in specific niches.

More often than not, these companies sell B2B services. For those who are looking to engage with and learn from your audience, you need to know how to utilize forums to benefit your business.

Once you have found a forum or a social group that contains your audience, you need to begin engaging with the people who are in need of your solution to their problem.

This comes in the form of answering their questions and providing them with real value and insight into your area of expertise.

Over time, this process can really help to build a lot of traffic and brand recognition. Once you become better at finding the juicy questions and nailing the answers, you can even have posts on forums like Reddit and Quora that blow up and get thousands of views and upvotes, garnering respect for your brand, and traffic to your site.

The hidden benefit of using forums that people often overlook is the insight you gain into your audience and their most common and difficult problems.

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3. Produce High Quality Content as Often as Possible

The hidden benefit of using forums that people often overlook is the insight you gain into your audience and their most common and difficult problems. Produce High Quality Content as Often as Possible

Too many people want to get right to the point where they are getting tons of website traffic and organic leads, but most never do.

Why?

The truth is, because it takes hard work and dedication. It takes you, or your team making content on a consistent basis for years on end.

But not just any content, high quality content. Blogs that your audience reads and walks away with actual value about the subject matter.

And in order to make this type of highly effective content, you need on of two things: time or money.

On a low online marketing budget, you have no choice but to put in the work yourself and get your website off the ground.

Obviously you don’t have a lot of time as a business owner, and this means you need to know how to be as effective as possible with your web content.

The best way to produce high quality content is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience.

  • What problems do you have?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What is something you want to know more about?
  • How relevant is this content to your situation?
  • What are some additional questions you have after reading this content?

We recommend producing blog content on a weekly basis, or even more often if possible. This is a good starting point.

How do I know what to write about in my blog content?

We get this question a lot. So much that we made a set of content marketing tools around it!

  • Blog Topic Generator Tool
  • Blog Outline Generator Tool
  • Blog Title Generator Tool
  • Meta Description Tool

 

On top of that, we made this comprehensive guide to what to write about in your blog content. It’s full of actionable tips that you can start using today to make better blog content.

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4. Turn Your Clients Into Your Sales Team

Testimonials are one of the best ways that you can easily market your business online at a low cost.

On top of that, they are something you have already worked hard for, so why not reap a reward from them?

It has been shown that testimonials can increase your conversion rates by well over 300%, and also increase click through rates by 25% or more.

On top of this, if you garner high reviews from your clients on sites like Yelp and Google, you can easily rank higher in local search, which can have a huge effect in your online sales.

With 65% of search traffic going to the top 3 results on Google search, you want to make sure that your company can reap these benefits.

Generating reviews from your clients online is one of the easiest ways to do this and improve your online marketing for little to no cost.

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5. Guest Blog for Related Sites

Guest blogging is a unique way to build your online presence on a low budget. The majority of the time, you will be able to guest post on large websites for as little as $5 to $50, sometimes even for free.

Guest blogging is important to growing your business online for 2 reasons:

  • It generates a backlink to your website on a higher domain authority site
  • It promotes your content, brand, and personal account within your prospective audience

Backlinks are essential to building your organic search traffic, because it signals to Google that your site has more authority and legitimacy by being connected with other high Domain Authority sites in your industry.

Just be careful to connect with the right ones, getting a backlink from a non-reputable site can have a negative effect on your rankings.

On top of this, guest blogging also allows you to generate relationships with experts in your field who can give you excellent advice on how to build your business and content marketing strategy.

Lastly, guest blogging is great because you have the chance to become part of the networking effect from viral content. A post on a large site in your industry can have hundreds or even thousands of shares, which can result in a larger social media presence, a boost in audience size, and a boost to brand recognition and traffic.

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6. Find Local Networking Events

Local networking events can be very easy to capitalize on. A quick search of a site like Eventbrite, or Craigslist can easily help you find dozens of local meets in your area with professionals in your industry or different industries at little to no cost.

This is a perfect way for business owners in the B2B space to connect with potential clients and build your professional network for free.

While this type of promotion may not have a very high short term return, relationships are everything in business and you never know when the people you meet today may open doors for you in the future.

Every business owner should be engaging in local networking events whenever possible. Often times, you can find a few a month for the low price of a few meals or beers at a restaurant and the time it takes you to travel there and spend there.

7. Get on Local Listing Sites and Directories

Local listing sites serve two main purposes to helping businesses grow their online presence on a low budget:

They provide backlinks to your site on higher DA sites
They allow potential leads to find your business quickly and easily

When it comes down to it, there is really no downside to getting your company listed on local listing sites and directories.

Sure, it takes a little bit of time and can be mundane, but overall, it can only help your website, and the results are something you can experience right away.

You will want to make sure that you spend a bit of time filtering through the thousands of directories out there to identify which ones are best for your company. To start, 5 to 10 should be just fine.

Make sure to stay away from directories that seem illegitimate, as they can actually harm your website traffic by connecting your site to a bad site.

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8. Don’t Be Afraid to Give Things Out for Free

In business, just like anything else, you have to pay your dues. Sometimes this comes in the form of giving out your hard earned technical knowledge for free.

But, what you need to remember is that energy comes back to you. Everything has an equal and opposite reaction, and if you are bringing value to your audience even when you are not financially benefiting from it, eventually people will do the same thing for your site and your company.

Some of the best ways to grow your business online come in the form of free content and free value that you can give away to prospective leads.

Types of Free Content You Can Give Away to Grow Your Online Business

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Webinars

Webinars are a great way to associate your brand with an idea in the mind of your clients. On top of that, they are extremely effective ways at gathering contact information and demographic information about your audience.

Furthermore, webinars offer a great way to drive search traffic to your site from other social channels, and also a great way to gather leads in a cost effective manner.

They can even be leveraged later on by your company to be paid webinars, but this is generally becoming more rare as video content marketing develops over time.

9 easy ways to market your small business online for free

Ebooks

Ebooks are one of the best ways to grow your online business on a budget. Simply make a book and upload it to Amazon for free and make it downloadable on your site.

The best thing about ebooks is that they are also an amazing way to both teach people about your industry and establish yourself as a thought leader, and they also allow you to easily gain access to contact information for your audience.

Also, ebooks are great for their shareability, and their ability to be utilized as lead captures on just about any page on your website.

9 best ways to promote your small business online

How-to-Videos and Product Reviews

How to videos are a highly underrated way of growing your online business on a low budget. Especially if you are a company which sells products to consumers.

Consumers want to have reviews about products before purchasing. Matter of fact, in 2018, the number of people who fit this category was over 80%.

Companies that manage to understand this and capture their curiosity can greatly boost their online sales by generating traffic from their online review videos both on their own site and on YouTube.

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Case Studies

Case Studies are a great way to sell to B2B clients. They establish you as a point of authority in your industry and also help you to make great connections with your leads.

These are likely going to take more time than other types of media, but they also can result in a massive amount of backlinks to your site and respect within the industry.

On top of this, with the data and knowledge you gain from doing a case study, you will always have an edge on your competition when it comes to that facet of your business.

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9. Build Email List

Building an email list is essential to business owners who are trying to grow their business online. It is almost entirely free, and can provide you with a list full of highly qualified leads.

What more can you ask for?

When it comes to building an email list from your audience, the best way to go about it is to make people opt into your newsletter in order to receive your free value.

This can come in many forms, but usually, if you use the content listed in number 8 above:

  • Videos
  • Case Studies
  • Reviews
  • Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Etc…

You can very easily begin building an email subscription on a regular basis.

While in the short run, this may not have any type of monetization goals, in the long run, you can easily find many ways to monetize your email subscription, even if it is just through the traffic that they generate to your site, which helps you to get more organic search traffic that is looking for your solutions.

Often times, email lists are monetized in this way rather than in a direct way. However, they do also allow for you to segment your audience into ever more specific groups of people, which can give you greater insights into their needs.

PoofNewSales Free Content Marketing Tools

Content Marketing Consulting for Small Businesses

Do you run a small business and want to get into content marketing, but aren’t sure if you can afford to hire a professional? 

Often times, we find that the largest problem for small business owners trying to get into content marketing is that they have a low budget, and don’t know where to start. 

If your budget is low, we may be able to help you get off the ground on and started on your own content marketing campaign. 

Basically, for a fraction of the fee of developing and publishing high quality content for you, we show you the ropes of content marketing, and walk you through the entire process, start to finish, so that you can forever know how to fish rather than being given a fish. Give us a call to get started.

If you are looking to learn more about where to start with content marketing for small business owners, check out this comprehensive beginner’s guide to content marketing

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