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Marketing plays an integral role in any kind of business, whether it is big or small. It is how you introduce yourself to the world and show them why they should be spending their time and money on you.
Do you need a large amount of money in marketing? Absolutely not! To be a successful blogger and entrepreneur, you need passion, hard work and a lot of patience, what you don’t need is to break the bank.
We all can’t afford to spend tons of money on our websites and online advertisements, but there are so many inexpensive or even free ways to market online. See it as a good challenge that you can overcome by just getting creative on a budget!
Here are 21 inexpensive (or FREE) ways to market your business online:
1. BUILD YOUR WEBSITE
This is the very first step you have to do when you start your online blog or business. Your website should showcase your blog’s mission and personality.
I recommend either,
1. Being self-hosted on WordPress (SiteGround is the best host!)
2. Building your site on SquareSpace
2. APPLY SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the little guy working in the background to push your product and website 24/7. This is very important to keep in mind even as you create your site.
If you are on WordPress check out the Yoast SEO plugin (the free version is great if you are just getting started!).
If you are on SquareSpace add your keyword to all your descriptions, meta descriptions, and link names. By doing this, you up the chances of people finding your website when they use a search engine.
3. CONNECT WITH OTHER BLOGGERS
Inform yourself and connect with bloggers who are in the same niche as you are. Yes, they can be your competition, but I believe in collaboration over competition.
Reach out to the bigger bloggers and send a pitch for writing a guest post on their site. This will get new eyes on your blog.
To catch another bloggers attention begin sharing their content on social media and tag them or make a point to comment on each of their new blog posts.
4. USE AFFILIATES TO PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCT OR BLOG
Using affiliate sites and their programs will help you promote your product or blog quickly. This post covers affiliate marketing in more depth, but essentially, you are paying other people to bring you more customers through their blogs, to you and your products. They are only paid when you are so there is minimal risk.
Sendowl is a great place to start if you are planning on starting your own affiliate program.
If you are looking for affiliates for a course, Teachable has an affiliate program built in if you are on their basic plan or higher.
5. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media and an online business go hand in hand. These days you need to be active on social media to create buzz and to help build your relationships with your market and with possible collaborators. You need to interact with your audience and get them excited enough to make them follow you and share your posts.
I recommend focusing on 1-2 social media platforms. Pick which social media platforms fit the needs of your business best.
Twitter is the quickest moving form of social media and is an easy place to interact with your followers. Consider starting a Twitter party where you use a specific hashtags for your brand to promote yourself or a product and to ask and answer questions.
There are many ways to market on Facebook. First, there are Facebook Pages. These are great for getting your content shared. With your page you can “boost” your post to increase its reach or create an ad.
Second are Facebook Groups. Facebook groups are a fabulous place to engage with your audience. Typically, there is a much higher level of interaction in a group than on a page.
Another way to market on Facebook is to join groups. These groups of like-minded bloggers and entrepreneurs can help each other out and spread the word.
You knew that I couldn’t leave this one off the list! Pinterest has the widest reach when it comes to marketing your product or blog. Your pins have a longer life span than Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, which means that it will help you earn longer.
Pinterest is a very visual platform, so take advantage of this and create great pins that really showcase your blog or product. Joining Pinterest group boards and re-pinning also helps in gaining more followers and likes.
When you are ready to invest more in your business consider testing Promoted Pins (Pinterest advertising). Promoted Pins can be an incredible resource for growing your blog or business and can be done quite cost-effectively.
Instagram is also a very effective tool in promoting your blog or products. Post interesting photos but make sure though to not bombard your followers with too much information. The key here is to stick to your brand and keep it simple. Make your posts fun and always have a link in the description to your website. You can use hashtags as well that will relate to your posts.
Bonus Tip: You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, use all of them!
Periscope is a site and an app where people can do live video streaming from wherever they are and all you basically need is your iPhone or Smartphone. On Periscope, you can post mini-webinars, introducing products or even just to interact with your viewers in chat.
Make sure you advertise these live streams in advance though so your followers can put it on their calendars and spread the word. The live streams can be saved for you to post on your websites or social media.
You can post your saved Periscope videos on YouTube. You can also do a web series or you can get creative with videos that promote your product or topics that are related to your blog. Video is a more fun and personal way for people to connect to you on a different level. If you are a blogger, you can easily become a vlogger as well.
Podcasts are a popular form of audio blogging. Create a podcast series that people can listen to live or replay later on. The great thing about podcasts is that it allows your audience to do engage while doing other activities. They can listen on their morning commute, working or while feeding their baby.
Podcasts are a great way to share experiences and information about your blog or product. It’s like the new form of radio but set to your target market. Consider starting your own podcast or being a guest on different podcasts.
Some of my favorite podcasts are:
Snapchat is a relaxed form of online marketing. It was originally only used for day to day posts with friends and family, but now more people are using it to advertise their blogs and businesses. It’s a great tool to bridge you and your audience in simple and fun ways. Instagram now has Instastory, which is almost the same as Snapchat but doesn’t come close to the amount of features.
14. HOLD CONTESTS OR GIVEAWAY/FREEBIES
Who doesn’t love a freebie? You can hold contests or giveaways on your website and link these to all your social media platforms to quickly get hype going. You can raffle off products, services, online courses, trials and anything else you think that your audience would find irresistible or fun. This is also a great way to gather up emails and referrals at the same time by requiring people to give you contacts so that they can join the contest.
Reach out to other bloggers or businesses that may be interested in collaborating on a giveaway with you!
15. HAVE AN EMAIL LIST
Having an email list and growing it will help you reach out and narrow down your target market. You can identify who are the most interested and therefore concentrate your marketing on this group of people.
Through email lists, you can stay connected with your loyal clients and keep them posted on the latest products and promos. Always include your social media and website links in your emails.
Networking in real life and online plays such an important role. Join online groups that are not only limited to social media.
In blogging people will come in and out of your life. Focus on creating lasting friendships and connections.
17. JOINING ONLINE DIRECTORIES
Joining online directories is quick, easy and they have built-in SEO features that are always good for online businesses. It is basically the yellow pages in the World Wide Web. These directories are in Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, and many more. You can even connect to other businesses related to yours.
18. SHARE INFORMATION ON MESSAGE BOARDS AND FORUMS
The best example here would be Reddit and Quora. These sites allow people to post and answer questions. Same goes for you and your business. You can start conversations, ask for feedback and share information on specific topics.
Don’t forget to answer questions too! This way you build more trust with the readers.
19. BE A GUEST WRITER FOR ONLINE PRESS
Online news such as The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal allow outside writers to contribute to their site. If you have a very interesting topic, email them and they might publish it.
With your post on these big name news sites, for sure you will be able to reach a wider audience. There are many more sites that you can check out, such as Quora, where journalists can advertise and look for contributors that are related to their assigned topics.
20. SUPPORT FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY
This is probably the simplest form of marketing you can count on when you start your online business or blog. Ask your friends and family to share your posts and speak to other people about you. Even if you might technically be doing this on your own and the reach may not be as great, it is good to know that you have people you can count on to spread the word and cheer you on!