Over Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of visiting my step-mother-in-law in Jackson, WY who runs a successful bed and breakfast in the beautiful town. An entrepreneur myself, business topics came up, and I learned of how a small business like theirs markets themselves online. If you have a budget to spend on paid online advertising….the choices are numerous; Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Yelp Sponsorships, Foursquare Deals…the list goes on and on of channel options for a small business like their. But what if you don’t have a marketing budget but you do have time to spend on your online presence? Here’s 5 Places Small Businesses Market Their Services Online For Free:
1. Google+ Local
Establishing your local Google+ page for you business is the easiest way to start getting some traffic from Google flowing to your business. Since Google bought Zagat they continue to push Google+ Local pages more and more prominently in the search results. Start here to setup your Google+ local page and verify it. Make sure you ad some really nice pictures of your business, and fill out as much of the profile as you can. The more information the better your profile looks and the more details may show up in Google when someone is searching for what your business offers.
Depending on your business and target customer, Pinterest can drive massive amounts of traffic to your site and brand. Pinterest is all about sharing the aspirational pictures of what we all desire in life. For a bed and breakfast, think creative displays of your breakfast, or a stunning outdoor photograph of your town. You have to think visually about your business.
Twitter is a fantastic place to engage potential customers just by being helpful. Use TweetDeck and setup a few search columns about your business. Try to be helpful to users talking about your business niche. If someone just planned a trip to Jackson Hole, mention a few of your favorite sightseeing spots, if they respond offer them a discount code to your business. Twitter users are much more likely to review you on Yelp or TripAdvisor as well, so if those channels are important to your business, consider offer special deals and customer service via twitter!
Quora is what we all hoped Yahoo! Answers might become. It’s a high quality community site for questions and answers on all kinds of topics. While the site tends to trend towards technology, you’ll find a wide variety of topics and experts. Make it a goal to be the expert on Quora on your business topic. Quora has made massive gains in Google in the past year or so and so content your write on Quora has a very good chance of ending up ranking well in Google or Bing.
5. LinkedIn Answers
Similar to Quora but more business focused you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry by answering questions on LinkedIn’s Answers section as well. There tends to be more noise and more self-promotion on LinkedIn’s Answers than on Quora, but that just means the more substantial answers you can give and just subtly drop in a link to your business, the more you will stand out. Where else would you market your small business online for free?
Where else would you market your small business online for free?