Promoting Your Small Business Online? 7 Free Tools You Absolutely Need


Launching a small business or start-up is exciting! And, often, starts with a small marketing budget. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t highly effective ways to promote your product at a reasonable cost. In the digital era, there are many opportunities for you to advertise your business using minimal resources. You just need to know where to look. Here are seven ways to market your business online that are free!

1. Register With Local Listings

Google, Yahoo! and Bing are the three biggest, local business listing services. Once you register (for free) they will help you increase local visibility in Internet search engines.  Registering your business with Google Places allows it to be found more easily in Google searches while also appearing on Google Maps. All you have to do is fill out a form and verify your information via phone or snail mail. Yahoo! Local will list your business across 60+ directories including online listings, search engines, maps and voice-activated search. It’s worth the few minutes it takes to set up. Microsoft’s Bing has a similar service called Bing Places for Business. It’s equally simple to start and will help ensure that your customers find the information they are looking for.

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2. Get On Social Media

Social media is more than a way to share cool photos. Social media will help you gain profitable exposure, secure new customers and expand your business territory. There are many different platforms to choose from with different features and abilities. With Facebook, you can post ads and special offers on your business profile page. This can be a powerful way to communicate with existing and potential customers, allowing them immediate access to your product and services. Facebook also permits users to ‘tag’ photos to indicate if another Facebook friend should view your deal. A great way to grow your clientele!

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You can communicate with your customers on Twitter, as well. With over 500 million Tweets being sent each day, millions of people are exploring links, articles, and reports to find out about their favorite products and shops. Twitter’s unique features, ‘Show Character Count’, ‘Twitter Ads’ and the new ‘Promote Mode’, allows small business and start-ups to connect with a relevant and engaged audience.

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Networking on LinkedIn is another option. Advertising your business on LinkedIn with a business profile page will help you target a focused audience, create easy, effective ads, and network with like-minded entrepreneurs. It also allows you to deliver personalized ads to a LinkedIn inbox, meaning that you can send a promotion to the exact right customer.

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3. Start a Business Blog

Back in the day, blogs were reserved for things like LiveJournal and nerdy niches. Things have changed. Now blogging for businesses is a staple of every marketing strategy. A business blog helps increase visibility online, grow brand awareness, and increase social media followers. A blog not only helps your company get its name out, it’s also an excellent way to connect to your patrons in a more personal way. It’s free and relatively simple once you get into the habit of writing. Feeling intimidated? Forbes put together some useful tips on how to keep your blog interesting, current and continually read. Remember: keep your content updated as frequently as you can. No one is interested in an outdated, abandoned blog.

4. Post Media

To enhance your business’s visual online presence consider posting media on YouTube and Flickr. YouTube is a great way to distribute promotional videos at zero cost to you but remember; only post content that is engaging and necessary to communicate via recorded action. A Flickr profile can help increase the overall impression of your products and services by giving you one place to compile all of your photos, like a catalog. It also allows you to link back to your website.

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5. Master the Art of Creating Fabulous Photos

Now that you’re advertising your business on social media using photos and videos, make sure that the images you post are content-rich and visually stunning. You want people to be drawn to your photos so that they will continue to ‘follow’, ‘click’, ‘share’ and, eventually, ‘buy’ (learn more about social shopping here). To do this, edit your photos for lighting, composition, clarity etc… with a photo-editing app. Photo-editing apps, like the one created especially for entrepreneurs by Instasize, are designed to help grow your business’s brand, product, or service on social media. Instasize believes social media will soon become a primary marketing channel, so it designed an app to help you quickly create memorable and professional content. Check out the app’s specialized features including advanced photo filters and video editing tools, which allow you to refine color, contrast and edit videos on your mobile.

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6. Write a Press Release

Every time your business does something noteworthy (a big sales promotion, product launch, special event, etc…), don’t hesitate to send out a press release. Press releases are focused, descriptive articles that can help generate excitement about something specific about your business. There are a variety of websites including PRLog and 24/7 Press Release that offer examples to help you with formatting and tone. If you’ve never written a press release before, check out some free templates to get you going.

7. Send E-Mails

After you’ve mastered social media, image generation and blogging you may still need a reliable (free) tool that can help you reach more customers and get sales conversions. MailChimp is a great way to distribute email marketing because it helps you create noticeable, informative ads that go out to your mailing list in seconds. It’s also possible to send customized welcome letters, “abandoned cart” reminders, product recommendations and more.

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These seven online marketing tools are a great way to help you promote and develop your business organically, and on budget. They will also help you gain your experience in the online world and create opportunities for you to expand your marketing efforts in the future.

About The Author: Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating a tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content. When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.