A Getting Started and DIY Guide for Entrepreneurs
By Katya Juliet
Buzzword Consulting is dedicated to providing affordable rates for various digital marketing services, communication consulting and PR to small business owners, non-profit organizations and start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Promoting your business online for greater exposure is crucial and this special offer is to help you get started without breaking your bank account or depleting your marketing budget. Hope you enjoy these special tips and if you would like any future services from Buzzword Consulting, code “BUZZ25” entitles you to $25 off any service.
It is important to make sure top search engines know that your business/website exist. Get started by submitting your link directly to them (usually in the admin console). Once you accomplish that, the best way to improve your search engine presence is with great original & relevant content, keywords and overall SEO maintenance on your website. I will also note – if you don’t have website up and running, get one asap. Or at minimum, a blog. Businesses today greatly suffer by not having a strong enough online footprint. Top 3 Search Engines are:
Google and Bing both offer a free listing for local businesses:
To get listed on Google, go to Google My Business.
To get listed on Bing, go to Bing Places for Business
Yahoo charges, but with their service, Yahoo Localworks, it costs $29.99 a month and lists you in 50 directories including Yahoo Local, Yelp, WhitePages, Bing, Mapquest and more. If $29.99 is not in your budget, get started with Google and Bing directly today and independently route content to those additional directories (see Online Directories below)
You want to ensure that your business and website are both listed and linked! Submit your business information, including location, contact and business categories, for example, to ensure your business is found when an individual is conducting a subcategory search in your field. Making sure you have your website linked from these popular/trusted directories can help your website rank higher and be found easier, thus driving in more traffic and potential customers!
- Google Business
- Yahoo Local
- Yellow Pages
- Super Pages
- Angie’s List
- Merchant Circle
This is crucial. Not only a quality way to gain backlinks to your website, but it is the most popular web activity and intersects with both mobile and app users – which is gearing up to take over a share of what SEO previously has done alone. You want strong mobile presence anywhere you can get it WITH relevant content and quality (not spammy) links directed back to your business website or landing pages.
Photo sharing websites give people the opportunity to display visual and creative content that is related to your business, and most importantly, it can be used to refer and link back to your main website. Any business can use these sites to post images of events, coworkers, news and everything from A-Z, as long as it’s keeping up your positive reputation, professional and connects to your website! Here are a few photo sharing websites to consider:
Blogs / Article Submission
Blogs and article-submission websites are a terrific way to promote your site. All you need to do is write an original article related to your business and submit it to these sites. While it’s important to keep these articles informative, try to keep your tone friendly. Articles that sound genuinely well-intentioned and have a less aggressive marketing tone will likely draw more interest to your site than self-promotion alone. Blogs and articles are also great for promoting link building for SEO benefits.
- Blogger *Owned by Google, Blogger is hardwired with Google’s Adsense advertising program.
Other ideas for writing: Always look for something unique and unusual about you and/or your business to promote and publicize. People love reading of new interesting topics, contents and good story-telling is essential.
You can submit press releases about your content individually to local newspapers, radio stations, magazines and even cable TV! Never sell your business, yourself or your writing short – let the journalists and publications decide whether or not they want to promote your work. Your job is not to make that decision, but rather, focus on creating the greatest original content and story line.
A few helpful notes:
1. Editors and Press are more likely to use your content if it needs less work/revision. Send a long a great photo to partner with your piece, a link to your “About You” section of your business website and make sure to follow any specific submission or editing and format directions they list on their submissions page.
2. Always share what you have expertise on! Don’t keep it a secret – if you have extensive experience in a particular field that could help and benefit others, make sure you promote that and share it with the world!
3. Always provide easy contact information. There is nothing more frustrating that wanting to help promote a business or individual and not easily being able to find out how to communicate with them. Make sure it is both easy to locate on your website and attached to any communication you send out.
Never underestimate the power of communication and interacting with others. People love making new quality connections. You need know who you might be standing next to in line or chatting with on the street. Always be ready to promote yourself and your business.Get your business cards into the hand of anyone who can help you in your search for new clients. Never be too shy or intimidated to network yourself with friends, family and coworkers. If you interact with someone at a local business, share your card. Hand out short stacks of them and mostly, keep them with you! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say they forget to bring them along.Talk to all the vendors from whom you buy products or services. Give them your business card, and ask if they can use your products or service, or if they know anyone who can. If they have bulletin boards where business cards are displayed, ask if yours can be added to the board.Attend meetings of professional groups: Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or online via meetup.com for professionals. Bring Business Cards to network but here is a very handy tip: Focus a lot of your attention on LISTENING to other people and asking what THEY do for a living. Ask Questions and show genuine interest in their responses. They’ll be flattered by your interest, and better remember you because of it. While we want to promote our own business and person, not all time spent devoted to what it is that you do is the best time spent. If people like you, and have a great first impression, they will have more interest in everything you do.Network with others who are doing the same type of work you are. Let them know you are available to handle their work overloads. It is not considered stealing clients when you network yourself professionally and volunteer to take on any extra referrals. Businesses well established may very well take you up on your offer and share extra work load they cannot handle.
Even if you aren’t certain that a particular ad platform will work for you, its important to still test them out – get your feet wet! Make sure you can throw at least a small monthly budget towards targeting news customers and getting your message out.Consider some of the following:
- Google Adwords
- Test buying Pay Per Click (PPC) ads on search engines
- Facebook Ads
- Twitter or Instagram Ads
- Local ads in college or city papers
- Local ads online with other business that share a similar client demographic as you
And if you have a slightly larger budget, get creative and invest in high traffic locations with movie theaters, bus stops, or even billboards. But, generally speaking, those last few options are a bit more costly.
If you are unsure how to design a social media ad campaign, there are many online trainings to help you and businesses like Buzzword Consulting and others are also available to help create them for you if you would like a serve and experienced person getting you going.
Other Ideas and Tips to Promote your Business:
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a business card and business stationery, have them made up — immediately. It speaks to potential new clients and shows you are a real, professional business. Be sure to list your website address on your business card and, letterhead and any handouts you create. If you do not yet have a Business Logo, that is also essential. Make sure your documents have a consistent look and message that captures your brand and product.
Offer to be a speaker. Industry conferences, volunteer organizations, libraries, and local business groups often need speakers for meetings. You’ll benefit from the name recognition, contacts and publicity.
If your product or service is appropriate, give demonstrations of it to whatever groups or individuals might be interested. Or, teach others how to use some tool you use in your work.
Put videos of your product or service on YouTube and other video-sharing and slide-sharing sites.
Learn to ask for referrals. Ask existing customers, prospects and casual acquaintances. Create a referral card and incentivize clients with discounts. When you get them, follow up on the leads.
Run a contest. Make the prize something desirable and related to your business — it could be a free gift basket of your products, for instance, or free services.
For additional support or consulting services, feel free to contact Katya Juliet through her business website, Buzzword-Consulting. Buzzword Consulting offers affordable digital marketing services, consulting, copywriting & PR for small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs & non-profit Organizations. Get people Buzzing About Your Business!