As a freelancer or small business, advertising can be costly and out of your budget. You can, however, promote your business for free in your local area.
You do not need to place a large color ad in the local newspaper to inform potential customers that you are available for partnerships, purchases, services or whatever else you provide. With smart marketing, you can put your business on the local business map, without paying a penny.
Listed below are 10 simple ways to promote freelance services and small businesses in your area (and beyond).
1) Make sure your website adds value
Whether you are targeting local or global customers, your site should clearly explain what you are doing, be easy to navigate and find, and be attractive. You should consider the following when building or rebuilding your site:
- How it focuses on the goal.
- The quality of the content.
- How easy is it for the target audience to use the site?
- How well it designs and communicates your brand identity.
- How search engine optimization (SEO) is optimized.
- The use and integration of social media.
- Mobile phone users
2) Give blogging a high priority
It’s important to add a blog to your site because it increases your chances of becoming visible online and helps with SEO, as you can use keywords and phrases in your blog posts. Websites become “flat” many times, so it is always imperative to have new, quality content.
By leaving comments on your blog posts, the public can engage with you. Make sure to add a social sharing button to your posts so readers can easily share them so more people can discover you.
3) Publicize once a month in the local press
It is important to keep in touch with the local press and make posts there, which will probably be free. These could be anything from hiring new staff to gaining a new customer – they do not have to be big news, just something local businesses need to know that you are there.
If you build relationships with publishers and journalists, this will help ensure that you are read, read and published.
4) Increase sales by using email marketing
This method is fast, efficient, immediate and easy to design. Watch and understand exactly how email marketing helps your business and observe how customers respond individually to increase sales over time
Make sure you update the database regularly and try to get users to sign up for your site. There are many email platforms available (such as the excellent Drip) or you can get help from a specialist service.
5) Use videos to promote your business
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Therefore, it makes sense to create a YouTube channel and leverage proven video marketing tactics to improve search visibility and new customer traffic.
One idea is to interview experts using Skype. Once you have recorded the video, to maximize its benefit:
- Post it on YouTube.
- Embed YouTube code on your site.
- Record the video with a cheap tool.
- Post the content to your blog so that search engines can find it.
Or you can host an online seminar and share it on social media – a great opportunity to gain exposure.
6) List your business among the most popular in your area
One of the greatest ways for local businesses to be found online is to add their company to the top business listings.
There are several popular online directories, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Yelp, Yellowbook, and Foursquare. Make sure you put your data in all of them, because if you use only these top ones, then you miss the opportunity to find customers who are interested in your services but use another browser.
You can find a more complete list of free directories at HubSpot.
7) Engage in social media
To find your target audience, it is helpful to know who they are, and this is the most popular method.
Promote events and news to the public. Social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter are ideal for sharing blog posts.
8) Check your listing on Google+ Local
Formerly known as Google Places, Google+ Local is a way to verify on Google Maps where your business is located.
Anyone in the business can confirm this. If you provide Google with the exact address, it will send you a pin number. If this pin number is entered in your listing, it means that you have been verified and may receive benefits.
These include more chances of appearing in Google local searchers, the opportunity to link your Google+ profile to a Google+ Local listing and get reviews from your customers, which will then appear as star ratings in search results.
It is completely free. There is a downside to getting pin numbers by mail: they can take weeks to arrive, so it’s best to verify immediately by phone if you can.
9) Create links to online events and watch them locally
The most effective way to meet new contacts (and potential customers) is to go out and start networking. Attend events and meetings that focus on the field, engage in conversations by asking questions, or talk to volunteers in a live blog discussion.
You can search for local events by region and city at Find Networking Events.
10) Write about another site on your blog
Posting to another site is a great way to gain more exposure and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
It gives you a great opportunity to make new contacts with bloggers and I hope to attract some loyal readers. These readers could turn into customers, so they will be beneficial in increasing your revenue.