Are Pay Per Click ads the only way to get noticed online? Google makes billions every year largely on the back of its advertising service, and there’s no denying that getting a top spot on a Google results page gets you more clicks. But if you’re a new business starting out, how are you going to get noticed?
There’s a secret. The companies that do the best on PPC have strong underlying sites. They’re professional and well-promoted in ways that are often free. A site that jumps into the PPC game from the start will have to spend more to catch up. So, if you’re a new business, start with building your brand by trying these free ways to promote yourself online first.
Claim your Google My Business profile
If you’re planning on advertising with Google eventually, you may as well start building a profile with them. Go to business.google.com and claim a profile for your business. It’s a quick way to get your business linked to local searches and get access to a lot of really neat promotional features.
Get your SEO in order
Search Engine Optimization, in a nutshell, involves two tasks. The first is telling search engines how your site should be classified in their database and making it easy for them to do so. The second is trying to persuade search engines that your site is superior to your competitors in the same categories. A lot of SEO talk focuses on the second task. You should focus on the former to begin with. If SEO is completely new to you, start with this basic guide from Moz.
Boost your professional image
Beyond Google’s system, every business needs to have a profile in some sort of professional directory. The most basic one is LinkedIn, which is really good for any business that operates B2B. There are other directories as well like Crunchbase, which focuses on startups (example profile here). If your focus is on B2C, you’ll also want to start claiming your profiles on user review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, depending on where your audience prefers to congregate.
If you have an audience, interact with them on social media
If you already have a group of clients or customers, find out where they like to interact on social media platforms and engage with them there. It can be really difficult to get off the ground with social media if you don’t already have a core group to talk to, though. Encourage them to speak on your channels and find out what they want to know about your business.
It is best to stick with just one social media channel to start. Keeping up social media channels can take a lot of time out of your day. For most B2C businesses, the best channel to start with is Facebook. For B2B businesses, the best place to begin is LinkedIn or Twitter. If you find that you really enjoy interacting with your audience on social media, then consider going to other channels. Just don’t let your love of social media promotion get in the way of your core business!
New business owners are often overwhelmed with all the tasks that have to get done to establish a good online presence. You don’t have to jump to the paid options right off the bat. If you begin with the basics, that will give you a strong foundation for when you grow enough to really need PPC. Try these free tips out and you’ll be well on your way.