Leverage Free Services Online For Business
Posted on June 23, 2011 by Lindy Asimus
There are many free programs online that will let you promote your business effectively. Here are some to get you started. Business coaching tips.
Business owners are often surprised at how much they can do to promote their business online at little up-front cost. They sometimes don’t think about using the web because they fear it will be too expensive.
That’s no longer the case.
And it is worth having SOMETHING in your budget.
Sure you can spend a lot of money and not get much for it. But you can do a lot with free services that are available and perhaps just s little money spent on the right things.
Why Your Business Should Be Visible Online
SItting in your business waiting for customers to walk past the door during our open hours is a crazy way to do business. People are busy now and many times they will check out the things they want to buy online before they even think about going to the store. Some don’t even go to the store and if they can make a call, or press a button and buy what they like from their computer in their own home, then that’s the way for them to do it.
How To Get Found Online Without Breaking The Bank
Your Own Website With Your Own Domain Name.
This doesn’t need to be fancy and it doesn’t need to be expensive but your business needs a clean simple basic website that has all the important information about contacting you and to use to add as a weblink on the free sites. This is your website and gives control over your business online in a way that you don’t have control on any free site. If you don’t know how to get a site cheaply, contact me for some suggestions. If you have a website already, get it reviewed and make sure that it is visible to the search engines (MANY sites that I review are not. They are a waste of time and have no chance of bringing traffic as they are). It may be just a few tweaks that will make a dud website work well.
Your website may be in the form of a blog. If not, then it is important to have a blog even a free blog tht you can use to add new content and information about your work, your topic, your city, etc. You can add your blog to connect to your webpage and to update your other social media pages. Google likes fresh content and this is an easy way to do that. Check out www.blogger.com and www.posterous.com for simple ways to start blogging. You can also use Wordpress if you prefer.
This is your number one place to add your business listing. You’ll need to confirm you own the site and you will be able to add all the information you need to tell about your business, your placement on Google Maps if you wish, and photographs, video and feed from your blog. This is a great service at no cost and you’ll be able to see what traffic comes to your Google Places page and any action that people take there to click on links.
MerchantCircle is a great start for business to start to become visible online. Claim a free listing, make sure that it is complete and has your contact details, what you do, where you service and anything special about your products and services. Do you deliver? Put that in your listing. Do you work after hours? Anything that might help a customer understand what makes you special should be on your profile.
Connect with other merchants in your area. Invite the businesses you know and the businesses where you shop to connect with you.
Add blogs to your site that inform your customers about how you do what you do, tips about caring for their homes or items that relate to your business and remember to add tags to your blogs and a link back to your main website.
If you want to learn more about how to use MerchantCircle or you have a problem or a question, visit the Forum and ask your question there and you’ll be answered shortly. Or contact on of the Community Leaders (me, if you like), and they will be happy to answer your questions.
Other Free Directories.
Do a search for your industry on Google and see what comes up on the results for organic (not paid) links. If you see directories there that are getting high results, then go to that directory and add your free listing there too. Check out www.thumbtack.com and any local directories in your state and local area.
Facebook allows you to add a Brand Page for your business. This must be connected to your personal profile. Unlike your personal profile, your Brand Page is public and can be searched online.
Twitter is another good medium for engaging online and when used well can help you build your community.
Linkedin is a professional network and is the place to post your professional details and resume. This is not like Facebook and is definitely business focused and you need to conduct yourself in a very business-like way here. There are specialty groups that you can join to learn and share your expertise.
This is quite a lot of work to get these all up and running and doing so is a great way to start out to get your business seen online.
If you would like a starter pack to help you with completing your online profile, send me an email with your request and a little about your business.