In our conversations with clients, we are frequently asked if there is a way to promote their business online for free.
- Are Google ads/Social Media ads the best way to promote your business?
- Can you only get your customers to purchase through paid online advertising?
- Do you need to spend lots of money on SEO tactics to be visible and discoverable?
When considering the answer to these questions we do need to think carefully. Of course, we all wish we had a huge marketing budget for these fantastic tactics and then hopefully we’d be generating many leads and our lives as business owners would be a lot easier. If backed up by a strong strategy, paid advertising will undoubtedly increase your chances of reaching your desired marketing goals. However, enabling your business to have good online visibility requires more than just a few adverts in the most popular placements.
Whilst a good mix of paid and free marketing can lead to the perfect recipe for an extremely efficient campaign, you’ll be surprised by the impressive results you can get through a well-planned, fully organic and free marketing plan.
Here are our 4 practical tips for how to promote your business for free…
1. Have a solid content distribution plan.
We’re sure you’ve read and watched many articles/videos/webinars on how important it is for a business to have its own blog. This is because it’s true! A blog can help you get your business name ‘out there’ and drive traffic to your website. It improves your Google rankings, your brand reputation and your customers’ positive sentiment towards your business, products or services.
So, is having a blog sufficient to give you the exposure you’re looking for? What happens to that piece of content once you’ve published it? How do you ensure that it reaches the audience you’re aiming to engage? A lot of people neglect to promote and distribute content effectively once it’s been created.
Having a strong and solid content distribution plan is an essential part of your content marketing strategy. Ensure your plan is flexible and cohesive i.e. create your content so that it can be used in various ways and across various channels. Ask yourself, what channels can I use to disseminate my blog posts? How and when should I post on these platforms to enable a more consistent flow of website traffic? Can I repurpose this content in the future to make the most of the time/effort that went into creating it? If so, when and on what channels?
A few good channels to focus on when drafting your content distribution plan are:
- Your Social Media platforms
- Blog syndication sites (e.g. external sites on which you can re-publish your content to reach a broader audience). Here’s an interesting article if you wish to learn more about content syndication.
- Your company newsletter.
- Your email signature! You’ll be impressed by how many people click on these links.
- Link outreach (if kept simple!). Reach out to a few selected individuals that you know could be particularly interested in your post and ask them to share it with their own audience/followers. Do you have a junior member of your team that can spare 10/15 minutes a day to support you with this? One great way to do this is to work with a few other local and relevant businesses and agree to share each other’s content once a month.
2. Enhance your SEO through a few carefully considered content marketing tactics.
You’ve probably heard us say many times how creating relevant content is one of the most powerful SEO tactics and a great way to promote your business for free. But what do we mean exactly? What actions should you take to ensure your blog posts and website rank successfully on the various search engines?
3 top tips to optimise your blog content:
- Always ensure you include your metadata on your content. This means your slug, meta titles, tags, meta descriptions and image ALT text. Search engines will ‘crawl’ through your metadata and decide how to rank your page based on the information you’ve provided. This is also really important to ensure you are accessible for all users. Check out this handy Metadata guide if you wish to learn more on this subject!
- Update old blog posts and add internal links to other relevant content. This will enhance the flow and add value to the reader.
- Use content optimisation tools to improve your content performance. Creating outstanding content is not enough to help you rank on search engines and drive traffic to your website! There are tons of content optimisation tools to help you understand your customer needs, your competitors’ tactics and address new market trends. These insights can help you write great content for your blog and website.
Our fave free tools include:
- Google Search Console (to optimise existing content on your website).
- Grammarly (to avoid typos or grammatical errors that can undermine the quality of your content).
- Google Autocomplete & related searches (super useful to understand how each search engine positions your content and what common questions people ask Google). Check out Neil Patel’s really useful article all about Google Autocomplete.
3. Optimise your YouTube videos (great for improving your Google rankings)
We all know how video content plays a massive role in the marketing landscape and how it’s a great way to promote your business for free. Through the creation of inspiring, entertaining and informative video content you can increase your brand awareness and drive relevant traffic to your website directly from platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo.
Did you know YouTube has the potential to impact your ranking on search engines? Being owned by Google, YouTube videos are often displayed amongst the first results of your searches. If you successfully optimise your video content on YouTube, you can increase exposure in the Search Engine Results Pages (see an example in the image below).
So, how do you optimise your video for SEO?
- Optimise video titles. Put simply, your title needs to tell the user what the video is about. When drafting your video title, think about the following;
- Does the title accurately describe the video?
- Is it relevant and does it encourage clicks?
- Is it concise (60 characters or less is best)?
- Does the title get cut-off in search results, suggested videos and on mobile?
- Create captivating thumbnails. This is the first thing someone sees when coming across your video! Thumbnails need to sell your content. You can find some good suggestions on how to create engaging thumbnails from YouTube’s Creator Academy.
- Write the best description you can! This is the section that provides Google with the information it needs to understand the content of your video. If relevant, your video will rank highly on search results. You can enter up to 5000 characters, so go for it (the longer the better).
Don’t dismiss the captions. These are invaluable for users that are hard of hearing but also for those that watch videos without playing audio. Also, in terms of search and discovery, captions are a super powerful tool to give your videos the chance to be found on search engines.
4. Take advantage of Instagram TV, stories and reels.
Instagram is an absolutely wonderful visual tool to help enhance your business. We get it though, there are a lot of features to choose from and it’s sometimes hard to know where to start if this isn’t an area you’re already familiar with.
Instagram is a powerful tool to showcase your expertise, share behind the scenes content, show the user a bit of your personality and to put a spotlight on your great products/services. Instagram is often seen as the kindest of Social Media platforms. Authenticity is the number one priority and Instagram users are drawn to honesty, transparency and ‘human’ content.
So, IGTV, Reels and Stories. What are the differences?
IGTV is a standalone video application by Instagram for Android and iOS smartphones. It allows for longer videos compared to those videos that are shared in the standard way on Instagram feeds. While IGTV is available as a stand-alone app, basic functionality is also available within the Instagram app and website. IGTV has it’s own section on each Instagram account profile.
Reels as a tool is separate to IGTV and it can help you enhance your marketing and overall brand story. Instagram Reels is essentially a fantastic suite of tools to edit and create 3 to 30 seconds videos using text, music, stickers and other special effects. They’ve been created to replicate the super successful TikTok and they’re an incredible way of attracting many users to your profile. Given their magnetic attraction, this feature has on many users, using Reels is a great opportunity to reach out to big audiences, feature your brand and educate people about your products and services. They can be recorded in a series of clips (one at a time), all at once, or using video uploads from your Instagram gallery. Focus on authenticity and showcasing your business personality – these are two essential ingredients to make Reels resonate with your audience.
This is another awesome tool to mix up the content that’s just on your Insta grid (ie. the standard photo posting). Instagram Stories lets Instagram accounts post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. They can be easily viewed by all your followers and can be accessed at the top of your newsfeed or by clicking on the profile photo of the brand/individual. Stories were launched in August 2016, and now more than 500 million Instagrammers use stories every day. The main difference between stories and reels is the time availability: Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours unless they are saved in your highlights. While Instagram Reels stays in your Reels tab and feed.
Other interesting reads…
Are you not sure where to start with Social Media content planning? Are you struggling to create content that resonates with your audience? Do you have a lack of time and resources to look after your Social Media? If you’ve said ‘yes’ to any of these then check out our brand new workshop on how to Enhance your Social Media calendar.
You can promote your business for free in many ways. Not every marketing strategy needs to be about spending a big chunk of money. If you’d like to explore any more free ideas – then do get in touch! Or if you want more tips on how to increase your business visibility, check out our blog Brand awareness: 6 tactics to ensure your small business is visible. You’ll find some good suggestions around the use of freebies, referral schemes and more!