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5 Free Ways to Promote an Online Business [Complete Guide - 2021]

5 Free Ways to Promote an Online Business [Complete Guide - 2021]

At this point in time, we assume you must be accustomed to online practices. After all, everything is digital. From your personal information to the music you consume - it's all a Google search away. 


To upcoming entrepreneurs – we always advise them to market their businesses online. Yes, even if the business has no "digital" attachment. You still need to mark your presence, that's where the audience is nowadays. 


The digital shift is gradual but in large numbers. We have seen millions of users prefer businesses with an active online persona over conventional ones. So, it should be clear by now - that yes - a well established online personality is necessary. 


And if you operate an online-based business? Well, even more, it's an absolute must then. 


If you're wondering: How to promote your online business? What is the best way to advertise?


Remember, there is no "one" specific way to promote a business - a ton of options are available. See what works best for you. 


Keep scrolling and go through this comprehensive guide - it'll help you out. We'll do a breakdown of each promotional tool and teach how to implement different strategies. 

5 Free Ways to Promote an Online Business in 2021

Before going through calculations and pondering about the marketing budget, check out free options. Crafting an online persona isn't expensive. 


You just need to gather the right customers, your target range. With the correct path, your business can even rank high on Google. 


Here are five ways to promote your business for free: 

1. Get Listed on Local Listing Websites and Optimize It 

A local listing is your first shot. People will see your business for what it is. Leaving a worthwhile impression is important, do not underestimate it. 


Note that listings are automatically updated on Google - it pulls information from sites. A negative review? It will show up in search results. And so will inaccurate information. 


website local listing and optimization


If you own a barbershop, the business won't survive if Google results don't show the correct address. Make sure you optimize it. Misleading listings cause over 80% of customers to just walk away (or scroll away in this case). Let customers discover you for what the business actually stands for. 


So, these are the steps you need to follow. Pick a medium (you can even choose them all): 


  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) 
  • Bing Places
  • Google My Business (GMB)
  • Social Media - Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages

better business bureau


Chances are, you are familiar with these mediums. They are popular enough. Listing your startup on these platforms will increase both engagement and sales. Personalize the business for free. 


P.S. We recommend Google My Business for its all-in-one listing management features

2. Harness the Power of Social Media to Drive Traffic

Ah, social media. The conversation is incomplete without it. We're not exaggerating. If utilized with the right plan, a simple Instagram post can skyrocket sales


You don't need a high budget, just the right creative mindset. So be artistic and genuine with your content. We mean it.


  • Visual Content: It is past the early 00s, people don't bother with old-school text, stimulate them with appealing graphics. Seeing is believing, after all, the stats prove it. Businesses saw more than a 300% increase in engagements with graphical content.


  • Shareable Content: Speaking of visuals, use graphical buttons to indicate a "sharing" option. It's basic stuff. People are more likely to share your content if it's convenient. Position share buttons while considering the page's structure. Use plugins if you may - Shared Counts and AddtoAny are popular WordPress options. 


  • Be Consistent: We cannot stress this enough. Persistence helps with organic growth. Go through social media insights and analyze how customers behave, plan your posting schedule accordingly. 




If we look at YouTube on Twitter, it has the most followers for a brand with an online persona. And rightfully so. YouTube has been in the game since 2005 – years of consistent development have led to traffic in millions. Your online brand can be next!

3. Optimize Your Website For Search Engines (SEO)

What's the fuss about SEO? Let us elaborate. The idea is how to increase your business's visibility - be on top in result searches. 


We won't bore you with the technical terms. These are the basics. In digital spaces, you need to optimize websites with the right keywords and backlinks along with high-quality engaging content. 


Do not overlook the content – it is the fundamental part. Keep it easy to read, provide insightful data, and just make it fun. Be it any medium (blogs, videos, infographics, or social media posts). 


search engine website optimization


This is what your goal should be, to compete with leading websites. To do so, focus on keywords, links, URLs, social media plugins, and most importantly the content. 


Contact us if you want to rank higher on Google. Think Orion is one of the leading digital marketing agencies, we help brands make an impact. 

4. Create a Blog

Wait, here us out. Blogs are still underrated and are perfect for emerging businesses. Unlike a curated website, you have to present a more personal picture on a blog site - it takes time. Customers usually subscribe to a blog to get an in-depth walkthrough of the brand. 

create a blog


And casual viewers? If they end up researching, your business blog might come in handy. And contrary to popular belief, long-form blog content is enjoyed by dedicated viewers. A mere Facebook post doesn't cut it for some. 


Once you go through enough surveys, it is pretty clear that companies are focusing on content marketing as a whole, especially blogging. Here's a litmus test for a successful business blog: 


  • Consistency and CTAs
  • Personalized Content 
  • SEO Optimized and Multi-platform Support
  • Shareable and Subscribable

Take the all-star digital marketer, Neil Patel for example. If you observe the home page of his website - there are a couple of CTAs for the viewer to follow, topped with high-quality articles in the front. Take inspiration. 

5. Urge Your Customers to Submit Reviews Online

You can always present your side of the story but customers are more likely to believe other authentic reviews. You always look at a product's review before buying it right? 


customers online reviews


Get it? Online reviews Increase conversion rates. So focus on all stages of a customer's journey, even after buying. Wrong reviews can tarnish everything, here’s an example. 


Uh, look at the reviews here. Amazon Prime Video must have redirected users to leave a review but you can see that there are "spam" ones in-between too. Incidents like this can hurt a brand's integrity, you need actual detailed reviews. 


Here's what you can try out. Email marketing (more on this later), social media plugins during the purchase stage, and maybe with an SMS message. 


If you decide to go ahead with social media, perhaps even offer a discount – along the lines of getting 40% off on your next order if you leave a review here.

3 Promotional Tools You Need to Promote your Business Online 

Once you get enough organic growth, it is only appropriate that you move on to mainstream promotional tools. Luckily, you don't need a high budget to execute a successful strategy anymore. 


Even with a tight budget, all you need is a clear-cut goal. Kickstart your business's promotional journey right now with Google Ads, social media, and email marketing. 

Improve Leads and Sales Using Google Ads

A beginner's guide: once you establish a website, run it through Google Ads. The software runs on a pay-per-click (PPC) model. Like SEO, you research keywords and bid on them. 


Google eventually offers a price for a digital ad campaign, and voila. The campaign runs across all Google-affiliated mediums and in every position. 


Your business can show up on: 

  • YouTube videos 
  • App banners
  • Email 
  • Websites 


The price of a digital ad depends on the bidding price and the overall rank of your website. Picking the right keywords matters the most, do not pick random ones - see which ones match the business's theme. We recommend you to use Google Keyword Planner, it is a free tool. 


Read more: How to Use Google Ads to Promote Online Courses in 2021

Social Media Marketing to Increase Awareness and Eventually Sales     

It is clear that marketing and social media go hand-in-hand, no doubt about it. After getting an audience and building a name in the market - explore further. 


It is recommended to go all-in and use all mediums. But see where the audience is. Is it B2B? LinkedIn might be better. A fashion site? Pinterest would be suitable. Check out Facebook for Business. It will give you an idea, how to target consumers. 


Ah, here's a fresh idea, consider social media influencers too. It's only logical that you do so in this era. The likes of Kim Kardashian have the most influence on the internet, with millions of followers. 


People listen to their favorite celebrities. Research backs it. In some cases, brands even saw an 11x increase in ROI. Ideally, find emerging influencers and collaborate with them - come up with a unique story for your online business. 

Promote Your Business via Email Marketing

Now, as we had mentioned – email marketing. For us, it is the most undervalued marketing platform. With so many new fancy platforms, marketers overlook the classic email promotion method. 


The truth is, email is still the most effective and scalable marketing medium. Start off with an email list. Get credentials by using CTAs on your website. Ask customers to sign up for a newsletter. Once you're done, send out emails. How should you write it? A few tips:


  • Unique for each subscriber 
  • Brand introduction and integral details 
  • Convert - lead customers to a goal 
  • Send according to schedule 

Conclusion


Using free, paid or a mix of both to promote your online business can do wonders. As a business owner, most of the freeways to promote your online business can be learned through online courses or even YouTube. And in order to master the art of creating low-cost Facebook or Google ad campaigns, there are a lot of courses that you can learn over the course of a few months. 


And on the other hand, you can consider hiring a professional digital marketing agency that can not only help you promote your brand but also increase the brand awareness of your business.


Manno Notermans

Manno is a wanderer of the world looking to make an impact and change the world for the better. He has over 10 years of experience working in various marketing positions. Manno’s main focus the past few years has been accelerating the growth of businesses, increasing revenue, and profit with out-of-box creative ideas and implementations.