It is important for small businesses and start-ups to focus on branding even on a small budget because brand awareness is the most important strategy you should have for your business. When people remember your brand and trust it, you become an authority, and the next time they are looking for something in your industry they will remember your name.

On the other hand, if you only focus on SEO (search engine optimization) and not branding your name, it will take a long time to gain visibility in the search engines depending on the competitiveness in your industry. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be doing on-page SEO as well as content marketing with outreach.

There are a few great ways to go about free and non-expensive ways to market your business online.

Be Your Own PR

You can sign-up for HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, and get their free 3 daily e-mails. You can setup filters in your inbox so when something pops up in your industry you can pitch the reporter and hopefully get your business mentioned in their article.

You can also sign-up for their subscription options where you can get a keyword alert and access to the dashboard where you can see all the queries and your past pitches.

Another way is to use Google alerts and setup alerts for your brand or keywords in your industry. When something relevant comes through, reach out to that writer, leave a valuable comment, and share it. Doing so will get you noticed by that writer as well as potentially others in the industry.

Market Your Company with Content

Without spending any money (and if you are a good writer) is to do blogging and content marketing. You will need to do some industry and keyword research, and cover the topics that people in your industry are asking about.

Write blog posts, create visuals, post videos, etc. that answers those questions in a non-promotional way. When you promote your business in these articles, no one is going to share your content because it is seen as an advertisement.

Answer those industry questions, use keywords in your tags, and you will begin to see some traffic to those pages. Optimize these pages by making relevant tags that include keywords and internally link to a relevant page where those readers can convert to buyers.

You become a trusted authority in your industry when you can answer those niche questions, and you will begin to get more social shares and mentions to your page which will help to increase your visibility in search engines.

Online Marketing for Small Businesses on a Budget image shutterstock 134112389 300x200

Get Social

You can also do social media marketing for no cost at all really. Find the social influencers in your industry, follow them, share their content, and engage with them. Start this now because down the road when you have content you want them to share they will be more inclined to do so.

Also follow hashtags for keywords in your niche and reach out to potential customers. Giving them that personal touch will make them feel welcome, and introduce them to your company too.

Get Listed

You should also setup all of your directory listings on sites like Yelp and Yahoo. They need to be consistent across the board to prove to the search engines that you are a real business or entity, which will help in your search engine visibility.

You can manually do these yourself, or you can find a directory listing service to do it for you. This is a lot less time and hassle and is always worth the money. There are even some businesses out there that live under a rock and solely rely on their Yelp and Google+ listings to drive customers to their business. This just shows how important getting your correct information across your directory listings really is.

Lastly, henever you get a call or an order, ask how they found you. Whether it was from a directory listing, Bing, a guest post, or what have you; you want to know where they found you. Find out what strategies are working best for your business and focus on them.

 

This article was written by Mike Juba from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.