There are several cost-effective ways of promoting your business online. Starting a blog is one example, but there are so many other interesting, worthwhile tactics.
I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few initiatives that worked for me.
1. Get involved on social media
Social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, allows you to create a page for your business, which is a great first step in making your business known. Your page’s popularity and success will be directly linked to the time and energy you put into it. Post on your page regularly and take the time to answer any questions or comments left by visitors. Get involved!
2. Email people you know
If you’re just starting out and don’t have any customers yet, go through your contacts and write to everyone you know who might benefit from what your business has to offer. While you’re at it, invite them to sign up to your newsletter or follow you on social media. Make sure however to consult Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) as there are rules regarding the types of emails a business can now send.
3. Start a community web project
Survey several people on a subject matter that touches your field of expertise, compile all the answers and put together a video, e-book, podcast, article or even a graph illustrating the results of your survey. Choose the perfect time to present your project and increase your chances of success. For example, have the release of your project coincide with a major event in your field. In 2010, I chose to introduce my digital book, Démystifier le gestionnaire de communauté au Québec, at the same time as the professional world was beginning to recognize community management as an actual paid job. By doing this, I was able to promote my services and carve a place for myself in a growing market.
4. Introduce yourself to each new contact on LinkedIn
The more active you are on LinkedIn (the most popular social networking site among business people), the higher your chances of being invited to join new networks you had no idea even existed! Instead of just clicking on “Accept” or “Ignore”, take the time to view each person’s profile and ask yourself how they might benefit from your business. Respond to invitations with a personalized message, making sure to mention one or two of the services you offer. I found several new customers this way.
5. Visit the same websites as your customers
Find out what websites your customers visit. By focusing your efforts in the right place, you’ll benefit from visibility that’ll help get your name out there. Being attentive to the exchanges between potential customers can be beneficial—not only will it help you better understand their needs, but it’ll allow you to intervene, offer advice and gain their trust.
6. Collaborate on other blogs
Collaborative blogs are constantly looking for new content. Get in touch with the authors of blogs that might be of interest to your target market and offer to write a few articles for them. I myself have used this approach—not only did it give me more credibility, but it granted me a visibility that opened new doors.
7. Leave comments on other blogs
Whenever you come across a blog article that interests you, don’t be afraid to comment on it, especially if its author happens to be a potential customer or someone you think might be able to help develop your business. Make sure you leave your name and a link to your website—it’s a first step towards building new business relationships.
8. Give gifts
Offer samples of your products, either by mail or during networking events—and don’t forget to include a personalized message as well as your contact information (Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as your website). When people appreciate your product, they’re quick to mention it on social media, thus promoting your business.
9. Follow journalists in your field of work
Follow journalists in your field of work, whether on Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn—they’re often looking for people to interview for articles or special reports. By following their work, you might have the occasion to meet with them and share your story or offer some expert advice. For me, this initiative led to my story being featured in a two-page article in the Journal de Québec. Plus, the article was later shared online.
10. Share your testimonials
If you followed a piece of advice given in an article, or if you discovered a great product or service online, why not send an email of praise to the company’s owner? Let them know how helpful their product or service was to you. Make a habit of giving them permission to publish your testimonial on their website or on social media sites, and make sure to include your company’s name and a link to your own website. This will help increase visibility through other people.
Have you tried any of the initiatives mentioned above? Did they work for you? Which ones were best for promoting your business online? Share your experience with me.