Here’s how to market your business online using very little capital and a bit of sweat equity.
-Hold a contest that rewards customers with honorable mentions without giving away product i.e. a photo contest.
-Claim these social media sites first and then do a land grab of any and all other social media sites.
-Hire an influencer in exchange for free product, press, or exposure through your blog (see below), or email newsletter.
-Schedule Tweets, Posts, and content a month out. Why? Focusing on a content calendar will build consistently and you are able to see how all your posts build your brand
-Promote your email with a value proposition. Encourage email sign up whenever possible.
-Use emails to create leads, viral content, etc. An email doesn’t have to result in a transaction to be effective.
-Segment your email list based on acquisition type. Different customer types will have different goals.
-Start with a free or low cost ESP. You can even use Microsoft Outlook or Gmail for commercial use.
-Start sending emails, even if you only have one subscriber. Trust me.
-Encourage others to share your emails. This will happen naturally with email aggregators, but you have to send emails for this to happen. The goal here is to get the ball rolling, which is often the most difficult part.
-Create an RSS feed, yep it’s still a thing.
-Work with local news outlets on your new business, the BBB, Chamber of Commerce, etc
-Use forums like Quora to answer questions. If you can break into Reddit this is has the potential to go viral.
-A/B test your lead generation form to ensure you are acquiring the desired customer base.
-Always follow up! Potential customer have put in time to fill out your form and now it is your responsibility to communicate to them. This is the number one opportunity I see with almost every retailer online. They push an email sign up form and encourage the user to sign up for a discount and then never follow through.
Did you know in a recent study users expected a response within 24 hours after filling out any online form?
-Build relationships on Linkedin, Indeed, Glassdoor, and other B2B sites.
-Set up Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster, and any other webmaster tools for international search engines.
-Architect your site to create visibility. Begin with a flat architecture.
-Research and define your keywords, categories, and customers.
-Focus on link building.
-Create news worthy content e.g. press releases, white papers, studies, case studies.
-If you own a brand name keep your CPC as low as possible. Most brand bids should be under $0.10. If your brand bids are higher than $0.25 then seek a professional.
-A/B test landing pages and copy for search ads.
-Never use a single version of an ad.
-Focus on improving your quality score to reduce CPC.
-Sign up for Microsoft free advertising credits.
-Partner with Google for Betas.
Content is King
-Build a blog!
-Create a ton of images and place them all in the same directory then link them to an image sitemap. Use the image sitemap to syndicate content to image hubs like Imgur.
-Ask for writers through guest posts.
-Write about and promote others success using your products.
-Set up an editorial calendar and stick to it.
-Create a Press Release.
-Automate social sharing.
-Bookmark your pages on social sharing sites.
-Submit your site and to content hubs.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Always be testing should become your new mantra.
-A/B test your pages!
-Make sure all your pages have a goal in mind. Define your conversion goals in Google Analytics and evaluate how they perform. Conversion goals aren’t limited to a purchase and can include an email sign up, a shared linked, a click, a view, a download, etc.
-Use a chat widget (Google has a free version) or create your own. Talk to your customers in real time and form real conversations.
-Segment traffic by geo-location, intent, and other dimensions.
Google Products are yours for the taking.
Utilize free Google products that will help your business grow. No need to pay for expensive tools or process when the suite of Google products can do almost everything you need to get your business noticed online. These include:
Google Analyitcs, Google Search Console, Google My Business, etc.
I call these the bar minimum of running an online business. Much of these will become automated and part of your normal daily process. The process of setting these up are the largest time suck, but if you stick with it all of these tactics will pay off.
Good luck! And HMU below in the comments with all your success stories.