If you’ve ever wondered how to promote your business without spending the big bucks (or any bucks), look no further. Getting eyes on your business is crucial for growing and engaging your customer base and spreading some word-of-mouth, and there are plenty of ways to promote your business for free, especially online.
One of the best ways to promote your business for free is by connecting with customers through social media. You can post interesting content, run giveaway competitions, make announcements and join groups and conversations that are relevant to your business. Plus, it’s another way that customers can interact with you, ask questions and place orders. All of these activities build your business presence and help to create relationships with your customers.
Options to consider are LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, however depending on your business, certain social media platforms may suit you better than others. (A certain car parking platform, for example, is more stretched for Instagram or Pinterest content than a boutique cake shop or cat cafe).
To get the most out of your social media accounts, make sure that you’re consistent in posting content and responding to customer queries. Activate notifications, and make sure someone is responding to comments and messages during the workday. Prepare to get hooked on the Likes.
Many businesses focus on promoting themselves to new audiences, rather than making the most of the customers they already have. However, there’s good reason to put your existing customers first when it comes to promotion efforts:
One way to do this is social media, but email is also your friend. Whenever you launch an exciting new product, have a sale, host an event or have any other important announcements, email your customer database to let them know. You could also start a newsletter that goes out weekly, quarterly or annually, depending on how much valuable content you have for customers. If you aren’t currently capturing your customers’ email addresses, some common ways to do this include signing them up on a loyalty scheme or offering special orders.
Hungry? Need running shoes? A dentist checkup? A pair of guinea pigs? A quality palm reading?
When looking for practically anything, the first thing that most people do is a quick Google search. That’s why it’s crucial that your business has a strong online presence - and the best free way to do that is through listing on a range of online platforms.
There are also various platforms with free listing that help potential customers to find your business online. These include giants like Google, Yelp, Facebook, the Yellow Pages, as well as more industry-specific platforms like Zomato for food and TripAdvisor for tourism.
If you want to try a more out-of-the-box promotion, list your underused parking space on Parkable. You’ll get an audience with thousands of people who can then park outside your business - plus you’ll earn extra revenue from your unused space at the same time. The ability to reach new customers is the main reason that supermarkets like New World and Countdown (NZ’s Woolworths) have listed their space on Parkable. Click here to find out more.
Another way to give your online presence a boost is through SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation.
The basic idea with SEO is that your website should include the key phrases that people search for when they’re looking for a service or product like yours. (We’ll tell you a secret: that’s why the phrase ‘promote your business’ has been over-egged in this blog. Because optimising.)
Once you’ve established your social media accounts, get stuck in. By joining relevant online communities, sharing your ideas and building a rapport with members, you’ll become a more active and familiar part of your industry. However, this isn’t the place for blatant business promotion or a sales pitch. Treat these groups like the communities they are, and promote your business passively - mention what you do only when relevant, or link your website to your signature.
If you’re looking for some real-world promotion, check out local events, expos and meetings that you can attend - many are free. You’ll expand your network, become more established within your industry, and meet new potential customers. One place to look for smaller events and gatherings (and to even begin your own) is Meetup. Otherwise, a quick Google search for industry events in your city should provide you with a list of options and event platforms.
We hope this helped, and that your business is promoted for free all over the place!
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Small New Zealand businesses like Gina’s Italian Kitchen and La Marzocco are using Parkable to make sure their parking space is always in use, and to create extra income.
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