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7 Great Ways To Market Yourself Online On a Shoestring Budget
There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur than now.
Unless you have a winning lottery ticket, you still won’t have the mega bucks a mega corporation spends for marketing. But what you do have is the Internet, with marketing possibilities and ways to connect with consumers that your grandfather never dreamed of.
That means that with a little know-how,a few resources and a lot of resourcefulness, you can connect with consumers in meaningful ways. The result: Significant exposure and greater sales.
1. Start a Blog
One of the least expensive ways to reach an audience is through consistent blogging. If you have a hosted website, add a blog. You also can set one up for free via WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger. It won’t have all of the features of a blog through paid hosting, but it’s fast. You can create one that looks professional in less than an hour.
Start spending a few hours each week to create two to four blog posts. Don’t focus on “selling” your customers, though. There are five hard truths about content marketing, including the fact that the content can’t be about what you want. You have to write content that enriches the lives of youraudience. This will help you build a reputation as a trusted source and let you create a community around your brand.
2. Claim Google+ Authorship
Once you have the blog, you need a following. Start creating one by setting up Google+ Authorship. This program helps Google make sure bloggers and writers get proper credit for their great work.
First, create a Google+ profile if you don’t have one. Next, sign up for authorship and link your work to your profile.Upload a professional head shot so readers can pick you out at a glance – the photo will appear next to your articles in Google search rankings. A link to your Google+ profile also will appear, so anyone who is interested can find more information and add you to their circles. Soon, you’ll have a Google Author Rank that will improve the credibility of your content.
3. Guest Posting
Though it might seem counterintuitive to work for free for the competition, sometimes it’s your best move. Writing for another site is a quick way to gain exposure with an audience you want to target. Start by searching for blogs in your niche that you can contribute to – look for sites with thousands of followers and loyal communities. Email the business owner and ask if you can write a guest post. Pitch some well-thought-out ideas for an article, impressing them with your brilliance rather than just asking for charity.
Make sure that any guest post you write is high quality and relevant to your niche and to the site you’re writing for. Inform and/or entertains the audience, and include a link to your site. Now sit back and see the traffic roll into your site. You’re also building credibility with readers even if they don’t click through right away. You’ve also created a quality backlinkto your site that can provide SEO juice.
If your guest post was successful, ask the site owner for a regular gig. It’s a great way to get the most value out of your guest posting campaigns.
4. Leave Interesting Comments
Remember that list of high-traffic, high-quality blogs and sites you used to find a guest-blogging gig? Visit them regularly and post comments. But make it good.
Your comments should be thought-provoking, relevant and attention-getting. Be sure to include a link to your website so visitors can click on it and visit your website easily.
5. Be Active on Pinterest
While Facebook and Twitter are givens for social media marketing, Pinterest is another goldmine for companies that know how to use it. Due to its simplicity, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of this site and build a reasonable following.
Getting started involves creating one or more boards that are relevant to your industry and broken down by category. From there, you can “pin” content from anywhere on the Internet or “repin” existing content on Pinterest. Following other users with similar content is a great way to get the ball rolling and gain exposure. Every time someone “repins” your content, it will appear in the feeds of all of their followers, which can have a snowball effect in some cases.
Since women are the primary demographic of this site, businesses in the culinary, arts and crafts, fashion and cosmetics industries are naturals. However, as the number of Pinterest users continues to grow, so will its value to those in other businesses. For more information about getting start on Pinterest, see “How to Use Pinterest in Your Online Marketing Initiative.”
6. Create Videos
YouTube is a golden opportunity for marketers to showcase their brand and expertise, and it’s not nearly as difficult as some folks fear. You don’t even need expensive gear. Most web cams are enough to do it these days. more than sufficient.
The possibilities are rich in terms of video content. Try making how-to videos, recapping industry news, creating reviews or just giving you opinions about relevant niche topics. A steady stream of video content is great for connecting with consumers on a deeper level, gaining trust and getting your brand name out there.
Bonus points: “Like” other high quality videos that your audience would be interested in. You’re giving your followers more content with little effort on your part.
Go into a little more depth for readers who are interested by giving them a whitepaper. This is an in-depth guide or report - think, brief eBook or long-winded blog post. It’s a great way to let your knowledge shine through. Once completed, you should place a link to it on the homepage of your company’s website or use it in exchange for consumers’ email addresses.
Want to learn more? Read how to integrate your content strategy and social media campaigns for great tips on fine-tuning your campaign.
It’s easier now than ever before to get make your business known through free or inexpensive online marketing. Whether you blog or create videos, though, remember to keep the content fresh, relevant and entertaining. Soon, your reputation as a credible source will grow, as will your client base.
Written by Jayson DeMers,
Founder & CEO, AudienceBloom
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