13 Free Ways to Promote Your Business

Here’s a list of tactics you can use to promote your business:

  1. Get listed on popular directories
  2. Blog regularly
  3. Create YouTube videos
  4. Repurpose your content on multiple channels
  5. Build an email list
  6. Run a giveaway
  7. Get featured on podcasts
  8. Write guest posts on other blogs
  9. Partner with other relevant businesses
  10. Get your product reviewed
  11. Create a comparison page
  12. Speak at events
  13. Jab” on social media

1. Get listed on popular directories

Google isn’t the only way people find businesses online. Many people prefer to search trusted industry directories.

For example, you might use TripAdvisor to find a local restaurant, Avvo to find a lawyer, or HomeAdvisor to find a plumber. Many people use these sites directly, but they also rank high in Google for local searches.

Being on these sites is important for people to discover your business, and most offer profiles for free. But how do you find them One method is to search Google for “[type of business] near me.” Look for directories in the search results.

Bear in mind that this is traffic only from Google. Include other channels and we get way more.

At any given time, there are only so many people who are ready and willing to purchase. Target only them and you miss out on a big chunk of your market. But, with blogging, you can reach the rest who aren’t ready to buy today.

People searching for your product or service know they have a need or desire, but, they’re not aware of your business or how you can help. After all, if they did, they would have searched for your brand directly. To create a successful business blog, there are two ingredients. You need to target topics that have:

  1. Search traffic potential – People are looking for these topics in Google.
  2. Business potential – The topic allows you to pitch your product or service.

To find topics with search traffic potential, the easiest way to start is to use a free keyword research tool like Keyword Generator. Enter a relevant keyword and it’ll show you up to 150 topics.

Written content isn’t the only type of content you can produce. There’s video content too. YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world (excluding Google Images.)

For video marketing, follow the same content marketing strategy you used for blogging—target video topics that have both search traffic and business potential. You can find YouTube topics by using a keyword research tool like YouTube Keyword Tool. Similarly, enter a relevant keyword and you’ll see 150 different topics you could potentially target.

Look through the list, note down any relevant topics and rank them by business potential.

4. Repurpose your content on multiple channels

You don’t always have to create content from scratch. Turn content you’ve created in one format (e.g. YouTube video) and change it into another (blog post.). You can repurpose it into an article, which may get thousands of search visits per month, occupy multiple positions in the SERPs, generating more passive organic traffic over time.

One piece of content is no longer just one piece of content. It’s more than that. It’s not just video-to-text, either. Think of a pyramid, starting with one version of your content at the point, then gradually break it down into smaller versions for other channels.

These are not random people. They are people who have explicitly told you they want your content. So, why not start an email list? Building an email list means you own the communication channel. Anytime you want, you can communicate with your fans. You can send offers, content, etc.—anything you want.

So, how do you build an email list?

The easiest way is to offer something in return for subscribing. At b2, we keep it simple by offering to deliver more of the content they enjoyed directly to their inbox.

You can be a little more “aggressive” by offering a “carrot”—perhaps a PDF of the post or a free email course.

When done well, giveaways work. It promotes your business, improves brand awareness and even builds your email list.

The key phrase here: “when done well.”

I say this because plenty of businesses run giveaways without a strategy. All they do is simply give away the biggest prize they can imagine—a MacBook Pro, an iPhone, even a Tesla car. Yes, this gets a lot of attention. But you also end up attracting all the tire kickers, freebie seekers and everyone under the sun.

That’s not the point of the giveaway. The goal is not to operate the largest giveaway in the world; it is to eventually attract people who are relevant to your business.

That means you need to give away something that your target audience wants. The most direct way is to give away the product you’re selling. For example, at Ahrefs, we used to run giveaways whenever we sponsored a podcast.

Sidenote We no longer do any product giveaways.

However, if you’re a new company or have a new product that no one knows of, then it may not be an attractive prize. In that case, you can partner with a business that targets a similar audience but does not compete with you.

In exchange, do everything else—setting up the giveaway, promoting it and sharing the email list with the sponsoring company. Once you’ve decided on a suitable prize, you can use a free app like KingSumo to set up the giveaway.

7. Get featured on podcasts

There are thousands of podcasts right now. There’s probably one in your industry too. And they’re looking for guests. So, be that guest.

You can find podcasts by searching for “[your niche] podcasts” on Google. But you may find that most of the suggestions are established podcasts—probably hard to get on if you’re new on the circuit.

An alternative way would be to look for someone in your industry who has been a guest on many podcasts. For example, if you sell a language app, then Steve Kaufmann is such a person. Enter his website into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, go to the Backlinks report, and search for his name in the “Include” box. Set it to search for “only titles of referring pages.”

You’ll see a list of places where he has been featured on podcasts.

Look through the list and see if there are any podcast opportunities. Then, reach out to the host and pitch yourself as a guest.

Guest blogging is when you create a piece of content for another blog.

Why would you want to do that? Simple. When you write for another site, you get exposure to their audience. You also get to link back to your content. People who are interested may click through, sending you referral traffic. And since links are an important ranking factor, they can help boost your own pages on Google.

To begin, find sites that are currently accepting guest posts. You can do that by using a few advanced search operators in Google:

  • [your_topic] “write for us”
  • [your_topic] “guest post”
  • [your_topic] “guest article”
  • [your_topic] “become an author”
  • [your_topic] inurl:contribute

While this is a good way to start, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just this tactic. There are many blogs who accept guest contributors but do not actively seek them. Yet, if they’ve published posts on certain topics before, then there’s a high chance that they might be interested in a guest post about a similar topic.

9. Partner with other relevant businesses

If you’re a new or small business, you don’t have your own audience. But others do. So, if you can provide some benefit to them—like free, high-quality content for guest blogging—you can tap into their audience and drive traffic to your website. Look for opportunities to work with businesses that serve the same audience, but solve a different problem.

10. Get your product reviewed

Send your products or prototypes to journalists and influencers. They may review it and write an article about your product.

How do you figure out who you should send products to for review? The easiest way is to figure out who has reviewed or featured products similar to yours, then reach out and offer them your product for testing.

To begin, brainstorm 2–3 competing businesses, then research them. Look for search results pages that mention these businesses.

11. Create a comparison page

Whether you like it or not, customers love to compare products. After all, they’ll always want the biggest bang for their buck. So, why should they choose you over your competitors?

To answer this question, you can create a comparison page where you compare the pros and cons between your business and a competitor.

To find out who your customers are comparing you with, enter your brand name into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, then go to the “Phrase match” report.

Under the “Terms” column, look for words that signify that customers are comparing. For example, “vs” is a term that tells us that customers are comparing Mailchimp with something else. Click on it and you’ll see a list of different “vs” search queries. These are the businesses your customers are comparing you to.

At this point, most businesses will create a comparison page where they’ll win in every category. But as famed advertising executive David Ogilvy once said, “The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife.” Your customers will see through your bluff and bias. They know that winning in every feature set is not possible. It will only erode their trust in you.

Rather, take the chance to be open about some shortcomings. Once again, as David Ogilvy quipped in his book, Ogilvy on Advertising:

“Tell your prospective client what your weak points are, before he notices them. This will make you more credible when you boast about your strong points.”

No matter which industry you’re in, there will be events where you can be invited to share your expertise. This doesn’t have to be some Tony Robbins-level event where you’re orating in front of 10,000 people. Local events in front of 50 people are great for a lot of businesses.

Most importantly, it gets customers. Understandably, given today’s situation, in-person events are unlikely. Still, there are plenty of online summits, talks, etc. where you can be invited to speak.

13. “Jab” on social media

According to social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk, most businesses do social media wrong. They go on a platform like Instagram and post only self-promotional content (Gary calls these “right hooks”.)

Instead, what they should be doing is to engage and connect with their audience first (“jab”) and only do a “right hook” at the correct time. Businesses should be doing more “jabs”—providing valuable and helpful content upfront before selling.

For example, if you’re a local restaurant, you could share an IGTV post on how to recreate your famous carbonara. Compared to a typical “Come down today for a delicious Italian meal!”, the video would be more likely to get shared and reach people who didn’t even know your restaurant exists.

Worried about patrons learning your recipe and potentially never visiting again? Fret not. Famous chefs share their recipes all the time. You could theoretically cook anything Gordon Ramsay has created, but you’ll still visit one of his restaurants anyway.

Try to create as much “jab” content as possible on Twitter and  LinkedIn. These “jabs” are not created from scratch. They’re repurposed from our existing content. There’s no wastage; every piece of content we produce goes the extra mile for us.

Final thoughts

The tactics above are mostly free. But don’t forget: if you have the budget, you can always buy paid traffic from Google, Facebook, etc. That’s usually the fastest way to get started and see results.

Source: ahrefs.com, originally published on 2021-04-08 11:00:59