How to promote your business

how to promote a business online

How to promote your business

Starting a business isn’t easy. Many entrepreneurs must do it on a shoestring budget. Figuring out how to promote your business with limited finances and staffing takes focused effort and consistent re-evaluation.

For a savvy entrepreneur, it is possible to advertise your business and grow it effectively and inexpensively. As business guru Jay Abraham points out, there are only three fundamental ways to grow your business : increase the number of buyers or clients, increase the frequency of purchase and increase the utility value. To achieve any of these, you need effective business promotion.

Wondering how to advertise your business on a start-up budget? By harnessing the power of technology and networking, there are ways to promote your business without breaking the bank.

Create a website and blog

In today’s online world, if your company doesn’t have a website, you might as well not exist. Step one for how to promote your business is always to create an online presence with a website. Make sure it includes contact information, details about your product or service and promotional materials like testimonials, demonstration videos and positive reviews. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to add a blog.

If you start a blog full of engaging topics and thought-provoking commentary about your industry, you can gain notoriety as a thought leader and attract the right type of customers. A blog gets people talking and educates them about issues that are important to them. As soon as you become known as the go-to authority in your industry, new business will come your way.

Develop effective marketing communication in 6 steps

Start by working out your “why”, the goal or purpose of trying to attract people’s attention. Then you can make sure each step helps achieve that goal, and helps you get the most from the time you invest.

Step 1: Why do it

Work out your goal, including what you want people to do

Some people might want more information or encouragement before buying. So, your goal might involve influencing how people think of your product or service, eg showcasing what makes it stand out from competitors’ offerings.

Step 2: Who you want to attract

Identify the target audience

For example, to target people who use social media, a café might post appetising photos with popular hashtags. But when advertising in a magazine popular with tourists, it might use an endorsement like “voted best brownies in town” with its address and opening hours.

Step 3: Which promotion type

Choose the type of marketing communication that best fits your goal

Step 4: How you communicate

Design and create the message

Also, think about the messenger, also called the message source. How will customers decide to trust what’s said in your promotion? For example, a business new to market with one well-known client might use a quote from that person.

Step 5: Where and when

Choose the right place (channel) and the right time

Choose a communications channel that fits your goal and your budget. For example, conversations on social media are cheap and give you direct personal contact. But, you’ll need to set aside plenty of time to focus on one customer at a time.

Step 6: What next

Collect feedback and measure success

Measure what your audience does after seeing the message, then adjust it if necessary to make it even more effective. If you promote and/or sell online, use analytics tools to measure what your audience does. For example, you can track:

If you don’t have an online channel, you can measure the effect of your message in different ways. For example, you can see if the foot traffic in a store increases after you send your message, and whether more people ask about the product featured in it.

Getting digital helps you talk with customers

The internet and social media bring new opportunities for marketing your business. Digital promotion allows you to personalise and target your message to make it more effective and better value.

For small businesses, targeted advertising is often more affordable and effective than advertising to a large audience. For example, a new café might use micro-targeting to only promote to people who live or work within walking distance.

Social media offers a wide range of opportunities. Different platforms appeal to different groups of people, and suit different messages. You might choose a platform that’s popular with younger customers, or one where you can work with influencers to reach an audience with shared interests. For example, LinkedIn is ideal for reaching professional audiences. Instagram or Pinterest suit businesses with visual appeal, eg florists or eateries.

Digital tools can make you more efficient. For example, automated email marketing allows you to stay connected to customers even when they’re not actively engaging with your brand. It might also nudge undecided customers to buy your product or service.

How to Promote Your Business with Online Directories

Consumers also use online directories regularly to find and vet the businesses they are considering using. These directories are typically high-traffic websites with high domain authority, so when someone searches for your business online, your profile on an online directory might appear first. It doesn’t take a ton of time to create and optimize your profiles on online directories, but it can have a major payoff. This is an underutilized tactic by many businesses. Don’t make the same mistake!

Create Listings on Major Directories

The first step is to make sure your business has a profile on all the major online directories. Smaller directories pull from the larger ones. If you create profiles on the larger directories, you will probably start showing up on the smaller ones, too. Here is a list of the ones to start with. (By the way, they’re all free! However, many offer advanced features and paid versions.)

Optimize Your Listings

Creating a listing is one task. Optimizing it is another. You want to fill out every possible field in your profile, add as many appealing photos as possible, and obtain reviews. This helps you improve your appeal online for customers and also to rank above your competitors in searches. The key is to make sure the info in all of your profiles is consistent with the information on your website. For example, maybe your business has more than one email address. Choose one to list as the main email contact on all sites. If Google finds inconsistencies, it will rank your pages lower. Last, make sure you keep an eye on your pages and update with any changes.

Get Online Customer Reviews

Reviews are hugely important for small local businesses. Word of mouth used to be the best way of promoting your business. Today, that tradition has migrated to the internet. You want to obtain as many positive reviews on Google and other websites as possible. While reviews on your website are great, reviews on other websites are even better. These reviews help increase your brand awareness and also can influence local search results. Ask your regular clients to post a review!

Monitor and Respond to Reviews

marketing tips in 2021

It’s key to be interactive on your profiles. This means monitoring and responding to reviews, both positive and negative. There are good ways to respond to bad reviews. The way you respond to reviews shows potential clients how you run your business. Also, don’t simply forget to claim your listings on any directories. People can still leave reviews, even if you don’t own the page. The best way to control your brand’s reputation is to monitor it constantly. The way you respond to reviews shows potential clients how you run your business.

How to Promote Your Business on Social Media

Social media marketing is another strategy you can employ to promote your business. Nearly four billion people use social media. That’s a lot of potential customers to reach! The best part is that most social media platforms are free. You just have to know how to use them to market your business.

Make Facebook a Priority

Facebook is important, and we don’t mean just for updating your aunts and uncles on what you’re doing today. No, we mean for business. Facebook helps you stay in contact with your current clients, and also helps you reach new ones. The way you use Facebook will depend on your industry, but here are some ideas:

Use LinkedIn Regularly

LinkedIn is more than just where to look for your new job. It’s a valuable marketing tool. You can use it to join in on industry discussions, build your brand voice, make connections, and form partnerships. Your potential customers might check out your LinkedIn profile before doing business with you, so it’s important to update on a regular basis. You also indirectly promote your business on LinkedIn by participating in discussions and providing links to your website. A pro tip: make sure you’re not only sharing your own content and talking about your own company.

Upload Videos to YouTube

how to advertise your business

Video marketing is the way to go. And the great news is, you can post your videos on YouTube for free! Try creating some how-to, tutorial, or demonstration videos of how to use your products. Or, create a video of someone receiving one of your services and walk your potential clients through the process. Once you upload your videos to YouTube, you can include links on your website, in your email marketing, in your social media posts, etc. (Plus, adding videos to your blog posts can improve your search ranking!)

Advertise on YouTube

You can also run ads on YouTube. This is an underutilized advertising platform that will be huge next year! Get ahead of the curve and advertise your business on YouTube. For example, you can make video ads that play before videos relevant to your company, or write text ads that will show up in the search results.

Engage and Sell on Instagram

If you aren’t selling your products and services on Instagram, you should be. But you can start by promoting yourself on Instagram by engaging with your audience. There are plenty of options on Instagram, including Reels, Stories, your feed, Lives, and more. Try:

Share on Twitter

Twitter is another free social platform you can use to connect with your audience and promote your business. It is ideal for reaching young adults, and you can promote your products and services and post photos and videos. Twitter is best for real-time updates or news, like “We’re having a big sale today!”

Post on Pinterest

Pinterest is mainly about sharing photos. However, what many people don’t realize is that Pinterest lets you link back to your website. This helps you drive more traffic to your site. Particularly if you are an e-commerce business trying to reach women, Pinterest is the site for you. Wedding cake designer? Fashion retailer? Get pinning!

Try Tiktok!

TikTok is the latest hot trend in the social media world. It makes it simple to create short, snappy videos with special effects. Our tip is to promote your TikTok account across your other platforms so that your audience will try it. For example, post your latest TikTok how-to video on Twitter or Facebook.

Join Online Forums and Communities

Find whatever online forums and communities are relevant to your business, industry, or geographic location (think NextDoor) and join them. Then, get involved in the conversation. Offer users advice and suggestions when they have problems or ask questions. Try to reference your business when it works naturally. This helps you build relationships in your industry and with potential clients.

Partner with an Influencer

One of the best ways to promote your business is to partner with a social media influencer. Influencers are online celebrities who appeal to your target audience and who will promote your product or service on their social media accounts. This can get your company in front of a huge audience! If you are a local business, find an influencer in your area. For example, if you own a fitness studio, offer an influencer a month’s worth of free classes in exchange for a review and social media mention.

How to promote your business

how to market your business offline - example of direct mail

17 Ways To Promote Your Business For Little Or No Cost

So I decided to publish this article to convert you, if you think like this, into a real marketer. Because the truth is there are a whole bunch of ways to market your business for little or no cost.

Yes, if your business has been around a while or if you want a tailored look or special features, such as high-end design or an eCommerce platform, you will need to hire a company like Target Public Marketing.

But if you are on a tight budget, you can probably do it on your own. There are free platforms out there that you can use to create an attractive, fully-functional site without paying a dime! For example, you can get a totally free, high performing blog from WordPress.

You will have to pay for a domain and Web hosting, but you can find these things for about $5 a month (such as from GoDaddy). For this minimal investment, you can build a reasonably good home base for promoting your business.

Create a website and blog

In today’s online world, if your company doesn’t have a website, you might as well not exist. Step one for how to promote your business is always to create an online presence with a website. Make sure it includes contact information, details about your product or service and promotional materials like testimonials, demonstration videos and positive reviews. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to add a blog.

If you start a blog full of engaging topics and thought-provoking commentary about your industry, you can gain notoriety as a thought leader and attract the right type of customers. A blog gets people talking and educates them about issues that are important to them. As soon as you become known as the go-to authority in your industry, new business will come your way.

Connect with customers on social media

Social media is free and almost everyone uses it, which is why it’s a great medium to grow your business – as long as you use the right ways to promote your business . First, choose the right platforms for your company. Facebook and Twitter are the two biggest platforms for most businesses, and almost any business can benefit from being on LinkedIn and YouTube (free commercials, anyone?).

Choose platforms based on your products or services – Instagram is ideal if you have a very visual business – as well as your target market. In addition to marketing and advertising, use your social media platforms to nurture connections with your customers, answer questions, chase down leads and defuse negative reviews and reactions.

connect with your customers through social media

More ways to market your business


But your network doesn’t just consist of partners—it includes neighbors, like-minded individuals, other business owners, customers, mentors, mentees, and more. The concept of networking is simple: contribute to the community and this will naturally promote your brand.

how to market your business - networking email example

Referral marketing

Referral marketing is basically getting your customers to promote your business for you. Aside from providing wow service that will get them to refer their friends and family to you, you might also consider setting up a referral program. It may be an investment of time and money, but consider these facts:

how to market your business - referral program example

Email marketing

Email marketing has been around for ages, but the strategy has by no means become less effective over time. In fact, 77% of people prefer to get permission-based promotional messages via email versus other modes of communication and email marketing generates a 30x average return on investment.

Case studies and success stories

Success stories are like customer reviews on steroids. A proper success story includes background on the customer, then presents their problem, your solution, the result, and any additional benefits they experienced. Just remember these tips:

how to market your business - customer success stories examples

Video testimonials

how to market your business - video testimonial example

There is no better proof of your credibility than a customer singing your praises in person. You can easily do this by recording a Zoom meeting or even having them send you a video they recorded themselves.

Seasonal sales promotions

The above ideas give you plenty of outlets to promote your promotions, but what kinds of promotions should you run? There are tons, like BOGO, free shipping, flash sales, and more. But the best way to make them creative is to incorporate themes of the month into them. Bookmark this list of social media holidays and you’ll never run out of marketing ideas again.

How can I market my small business?

  1. Get a website
  2. SEO your website
  3. Create a business blog
  4. Create a Google Business Profile
  5. Run Google Ads
  6. Prioritize the major directories
  7. Optimize your listings
  8. Get reviews
  9. Share your content
  10. Interact with your followers
  11. Have a local strategy
  12. Turn your Facebook page into a hub
  13. Run Facebook ads
  14. Build relationships on Facebook
  15. Create how-to videos
  16. Do your YouTube SEO
  17. Run YouTube ads
  18. Use all the Instagram post formats
  19. Connect with influencers
  20. Run Instagram giveaways
  21. Build an impressive LinkedIn Company Page
  22. Encourage employees to share your content
  23. Help others grow on LinkedIn
  24. Build your personal brand
  25. Get local press
  26. Form partnerships
  27. Host, sponsor, or attend local events
  28. Advertise offline
  29. Send direct mail
  30. Attend trade shows
  31. Network
  32. Referral marketing
  33. Email marketing
  34. Case studies & success stories
  35. Video testimonials
  36. Seasonal sales promotions

Kristen McCormick

Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream where she helps businesses make sense of online marketing and advertising. She specializes in local SEO, copywriting, and conversion optimization, and finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.

How to promote your business

connect with your customers through social media

12 tips to promote your business

You need to get the word out about your products and services, but what’s the best way to promote your business? Fortunately, you have options. In addition to tried-and-true business promotion methods, the rise of social media has created an abundance of new marketing opportunities. It’s now easier and more affordable than ever to advertise. Learn more about how to promote your business with these digital marketing and social media tips.

Register your business with Google — it’s the new yellow pages. It allows potential customers to find your company’s location and hours of operation easily. Customers can also post reviews of your business. By setting up a Google My Business account, you can make your company more visible in online searches, extending your reach with a free form of advertising.

Optimize your website’s SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website show up higher in Google search rankings. Using relevant keywords throughout your business’s web pages and blog posts increases the chance of users finding your site when they search online for businesses like yours. SEO involves much more than keyword usage, though, so it’s helpful to do some research online or find a book that outlines how to prime your site’s performance on search engines. You might also consider hiring an SEO agency to help optimize your website.

Any time your business does something notable or newsworthy, draft a press release to send to your local news outlets. These publications actively look for interesting stories and often use press releases to create articles. When they do, it gives your business free publicity and distribution, allowing you to reach a much broader audience.

Create a website and blog

In today’s online world, if your company doesn’t have a website, you might as well not exist. Step one for how to promote your business is always to create an online presence with a website. Make sure it includes contact information, details about your product or service and promotional materials like testimonials, demonstration videos and positive reviews. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to add a blog.

If you start a blog full of engaging topics and thought-provoking commentary about your industry, you can gain notoriety as a thought leader and attract the right type of customers. A blog gets people talking and educates them about issues that are important to them. As soon as you become known as the go-to authority in your industry, new business will come your way.

How To Promote Your Business in 2022

1) Pay Per Click (Search Ads)

Make no mistake; Google is an advertising machine. It may appear to be giving you helpful information and tools (Google Docs, Gmail, Calendars, etc.), but it’s providing all these cool things to make sure you see their ads. 85% of Google’s revenue comes from the Google Ads platform.

The growth in the popularity of Google ads over the past ten years has been staggering. In 2019, there were 160 billion+ monthly Google searches . Businesses make an average of 5000 for every 800 they spend on Google ads.

One of the huge benefits of pay per click advertising is the fact that you only pay for what consumers click on. Whether you are a larger or small business, you can tap into the power of the search engine for a small cost. The ability to target and test specific markets and to run niche campaigns means that buyer interest is substantial. It’s a great low cost marketing strategy and an effective way to attract prospective customers.

Perhaps the only downside is the competition from other companies in the same industry. Due to the ease of access to Google Ads, most popular markets have several advertisers vying for the top spot.

2) Social Media Ads

Advertising is the financial engine that drives all social media. LinkedIn began offering paid advertisements as early as 2005, and Facebook launched ads in 2007, Twitter added ads in 2010, and Instagram introduced ads to the platform in 2013.. Even TikTok has begin adding advertising to the hugely popular social platform.

The world has become used to the idea of seeing ads in their social media feed. Many people will skip past them, but they still see them, which leads to familiarity. With the invention of tools such as Facebook leads forms , the social media platform has increased the ways that advertisers can reach their market. Social media is great for both brand awareness and business promotion. There are currently 8 different ways to advertise your business on facebook, which are worth testing out.

For those wanting to advertise on Facebook, the average cost per acquisition (CPA) on Facebook is reasonable. A 2018 study from Wordstream showed that the average CPA across all industries was $18.68 on Facebook (compared with $48.96 CPA on Google Ads.)

3) Email Marketing

Fifteen years ago, when you received an email, you opened it. Today, the chances of opening all your emails have dropped. While the open rates for emails have dropped considerably in the past ten years, in 2019, the average open rate is steady at 22% .

Depending upon your market, sending emails to consumers can still be a viable option. Especially when included as part of a broader strategy, email campaigns can help to keep your products and services top of mind for your consumers.

4) Press Releases

Every time your business does something newsworthy, it is very easy to send out a press release to your local and regional news outlets. PR is a powerful media tool to use to help generate publicity. Having free distribution through trusted news channels means more people see it and will be likely to engage wit. There are several websites that you can use for your press releases, such as PRLog and 24/7 Press Release.

5) Influencer Marketing

A reasonably new and somewhat untested model of advertising has grown from the increased popularity of micro-celebrities and influencers. Popular on both Instagram and Youtube, ‘influencers’ are people who have a large follower base (10,000 plus followers is a typical metric).

Influencer marketing can help to both grow your brand reach and offer sales incentives. According to a study by SproutSocial , the average price to use an influencer to promote a brand is $271 per post. For influencers with more than 100,000 followers, the average cost was $763 per post.

6) Podcast Ads

Podcast advertisers are often called ‘sponsors’ as they allow the podcasters to stay in business. As a trade-off for the sponsorship, there is typically an ad read (similar to the radio) that the podcast host delivers on each episode.

The considerable benefit of advertising on podcasts is that the audience has high trust with the person reading the promotion. Most listeners know that the podcaster will not advertise products or services that don’t suit their audience.

If you want to advertise on a podcast, typically, the going rate is $18-25 CPM (cost per thousand downloads). Some of the most popular podcasts can charge between $40-80 CPM and will often only advertise products that they use personally.

7) Referrals

One of the easiest ways to grow your business leads is to ask those who you know for help. Contact friends, acquaintances, former employers, nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges, and even other businesses that have customers who may need your services. Explain to them know you are in business and ask if they can use your services, or if they can suggest people who need what you sell.


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