By Kayla Matthews
Let’s face it; running a small business in this economy is difficult. Worse yet, in order to succeed you’ll need to get your website or brand out there in front of people, which takes time and money.
In most cases, it’s money that’s the issue. Even if you do have a budget, you probably don’t have enough to go toe-to-toe with big businesses. However, there are ways around that.
1. Maintain Your Google Local Business Listing
You’d be surprised how many customers actually discover new local businesses through a simple Google search. That’s why it’s very important to claim, verify and update your Google local business listing and keep it that way. In addition, Google Local listings have now been integrated with Google+ which is just another reason to use Google’s social media platform.
Ensure that your website url, contact information – such as your email and address – are all listed. Even if you’re an online only retailer, having a local business profile can do wonders for you.
2. Find Partners and Use Affiliate Marketing
There are so many different businesses out there, instead of trying to do all the marketing work on your own, why not get a little help from some of them? Find related brands and use affiliate marketing techniques to get your website in front of a bigger audience. For instance, a web design company could advertise a stock photo channel since they are in the same niche. In turn, the stock photo company would advertise the web design service.
The idea is to share duties so that you and your partners are advertising one another. It’s free, and you’re not going broke just to have your name advertised. If you can get joint efforts lined up all across the web, you’ll increase brand exposure and draw more traffic to your website.
3. Give Bloggers a Spotlight
Believe it or not, bloggers are usually fantastic marketers in their own right. They produce content and then share it all across the web. A lot of times, they even engage and interact with their audience, building an incredibly loyal fan base in the process. You can use that to your advantage by giving various bloggers a spotlight.
Depending on what content you host on your own site, you can choose to either highlight the blogger specifically or an article or video of theirs. They will show gratitude by sharing your website and links, reciprocating the free advertising for everyone!
4. Sponsor Local Sports Teams, Events or Charities
The title mentions sports teams, events and charities but you can sponsor anything. Most marketers forget there’s a physical world out there beyond the digital one. Just because you’re marketing a website doesn’t mean you need to keep your efforts purely digital. In fact, the more places you get your website link, logo or brand name the greater your traffic. You don’t have to donate or spend truckloads of money to become a sponsor either.
If there are no events to sponsor in your area, host one of your own.
5. Network Everywhere You Go
Communicate with others and network everywhere you go. You never know when you’re going to meet your next client or even business partner. Plus, just by educating others about your website, you can earn yourself word-of-mouth advertising when they pass your brand on to friends, family or colleagues. It works itself out.
The best way to network your website is to have business cards made that you can pass out when you meet new folks.
6. Bumper Stickers, Windows Decals and Handouts
People love free things. Get your website out there by providing customers with bumper stickers, window decals, flyers and more. If someone really loves your brand or service, ask him or her to rep you with a small decal. You can do this with other businesses too. Say, for example, you create a website for a local mom and pop store – you can ask them to represent you by placing a sticker with your website url and logo on their window.
This may seem a little silly at first, but going back to the point above – the more places where your website is visible the greater your traffic will be. If you see something hundreds of times while you’re out and about, you’re more likely to recall it later when you’re sitting around back at home. After all, that’s the whole reason most commercials include a catchy jingle – it sticks in your head and makes you remember the brand associated with it. Put your website link into the world, so lots of people see it.