TECHNOLOGY

5 Ways to Market Your Business Online With a Limited Budget

Here is a list of five simple online marketing techniques that you can start today, even on a small budget.

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BY Melissa Thompson - 12 Sep 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Marketing your business online can be extremely overwhelming, and that is magnified tremendously when you are working with a limited budget. For those that are bootstrapping and looking ways to get traction online with a small budget, there is good news. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars a day to get your business noticed online and drive sales.

Here are five simple online marketing techniques you can start using today, even if you have a very small budget (or no budget at all). Using these strategies can generate revenue, giving you the ability to explore additional online marketing options down the line:

1. Publish fine-tuned content on your blog.

Content is one of the best long-term marketing strategies, and any business can begin with literally zero money. Implementing a blog on your website allows you to post content at any frequency you desire. This gives your visitors helpful information to consume when they land on your website, and it can help you attract organic traffic from Google searches.

If hiring an SEO company isn't in the budget there are several free learning resources online. I would suggest reading Moz's blog to start. It's packed full of valuable content marketing tips.

2. Leverage free publicity with HARO.

Using Help a Reporter is one of the easiest ways to score free publicity for your business online. It takes commitment to see results, which is why many businesses quit too early, completely missing opportunities. HARO is an online resource that connects journalists and media outlets with information sources for their upcoming stories.

You can register for free, which allows you to receive three emails daily with new queries. Not all will apply to you of course, but once in a while you will see golden media opportunities. You must reply quickly, and provide a strong response.

These reporters get bombarded with replies, so make sure yours stand out. You won't score each one, so it's important to understand this is a numbers game. Participate long enough and remain dedicated, and you will be rewarded with exposure on top websites, which can help drive referral traffic consisting of potential customers.

3. Build an email list.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective strategies if you know how to do it right. Every business should be building an email list and segmenting it as much as possible--prospects, customers, repeat customers, etc.

The biggest advantage of an email list is the ability to market to a pool of individuals that have shown interest in what you offer, at any time, and without any cost per view or click-through.

The money invested in list-building is worth it, as each email you add to your list has a one-time cost. Once you add it to your list, the cost to market to that individual is essentially nothing. There are also ways to build your list for free by offering a "bribe" to your website visitors. Downloadable e-books that provide tips and discount codes can help you consistently build your email database.

4. Start an affiliate program.

If you run an e-commerce website then you need to consider rolling out an affiliate program. By offering a commission per sale, you can attract seasoned internet marketers that will drive traffic, and hopefully sales, to your website.

This greatly limits your risk, as you aren't coming out of pocket for the initial advertising and promotion. The key is to offer a payout that is both attractive to affiliates, while also leaving you with enough profit to reinvest into your business.

This is also a great strategy to help you build a customer base that can be marketed to down the road as well. Even if your profit on the initial affiliate sale is on the low side, you can then convert these customers down the road, driving higher returns.

5. Be active on social media.

The entire world is active on social media. Even if you don't have the budget to run paid ads, you can still attract buzz and attention to your business through organic posts by using creative images and smart hashtags.

As you build your social media following, you want to avoid overwhelming your followers with posts that reek of advertisements. Focus on providing value, rather than just posting offers. This results in much better social media engagement, which can help expose your business to a much larger audience.

If you become a source of news and information related to your industry it makes you a much more valuable brand in the eyes of your followers. Being considered an "information source" rather than a "business that sells stuff" will actually help you generate more business.