How to Grow Your Online Business with Zero Marketing Budget

by Kyle James

When I started my online coupon website, Rather-Be-Shopping.com, over 12 years ago, all I had was a book on HTML and a few dollars in my pocket. But I was determined to learn how to grow my business without going into debt.

Back in 2000, I had seen too many Internet start-ups spend themselves into oblivion and I was determined not to repeat history.

Here are a few marketing strategies that were very successful for me and didn’t cost a cent to implement.

Market Yourself on Social Media

Create a free business page on Facebook as this is an excellent way to interact with potential customers at no cost to you. Post your company information on your Facebook page along with updates and links to new content from your website or blog.

Also, be sure to embed a “Like” box on your site so your customers can simply “Like” your page while being kept up-to-date on new products and services.

The key to growing your business page on Facebook, is providing value to your customers and followers. Post and share articles you think they will find useful and always do it in an interactive way. This means always asking questions and encouraging responses.

Think of your Facebook page as a way to have a 2-way conversation with your customers or potential clients.

The Facebook pages that fail are the ones that only have a 1-way conversation, aren’t unique and don’t encourage interaction and shares.

They are typically seen as boring and don’t make people want to interact and potentially share with their Facebook friends — which of course is the holy grail of social media as it creates more followers for your business.

Harness the Power of Guest Posts

This article is a great example of the power of guest posts. By spending the time to write this article for Carrie, I am providing useful content for her blog and at the same time exposing my website and business to potential customers.

It truly is a win-win situation and only costs me the time it took to put fingers to keys. Look for similar blogs and sites in your business niche and kindly ask if you could provide a useful guest post for them and suggest a topic.

The exposure gained makes it well worth your time. Also, always offer a reciprocal guest post as this is an excellent way to add fresh content to your website.

Stay Consistent

A great way to build and market your company is by staying consistent with all things in your business.

This means consistent blog postings, social media postings, site navigation and website design. If your site feels chopped up and navigation is not clear, you will lose customers — simple as that.

By staying consistent in all of these aspects, you make a good first impression with site visitors because they quickly know (typically within seconds) what your site is about, how it can improve their lives, or answer their burning questions.

Embrace Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Perhaps the best way for customers to find your business for free is through SEO. By ranking high on search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing you can get a ton of targeted traffic for no cost.

If you have a blog make sure you have an SEO plugin that creates unique page titles, descriptions and keywords so search engines can easily index your content and know specifically what each post is about.

SEO is a hotly debated topic with many businesses claiming they can get you ranked #1 on Google for whatever keywords you are targeting.

It is my opinion that by creating content that’s better than your competition and providing a service in a way that differentiates yourself, SEO will take care of itself.

I have personal experience with trying to “game the system” to get high rankings, and it will actually hurt you in the long run. Instead, focus on amazing and unique content, products, and services.

By doing so, you will get natural links to your website or blog because you’ve created something of value that people want to share and link to. Do that, and you are golden for years to come.

What tips do you have on marketing your online business that doesn’t break the bank?

 

kyle_jamesAbout the Author:

Kyle James owns and operates a site titled Rather-Be-Shopping.com which has been helping consumers save money with online coupons, frugal living tips, and personal finance advice since 2000.

You can also connect with Rather-Be-Shopping.com on Facebook.

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About the author: Carrie Smith is the financial artist and owner of Careful Cents, a site that helps creative freelancers discover the art of making a living. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship and blogging. Since then she’s been featured in sites like The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, and Kiplinger Finance. In her spare time she enjoys painting, sketching, and making food with her chef husband. You can connect with her in real time on Twitter or Instagram: @carefulcents.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Andre Brown February 20, 2013, 1:30 pm

    Thank you for this post as it contains some great and specific information! I especially appreciated your note about writing good or unique content and SEO “will take care of itself.” What a great suggestion and as a new blogger, one I hope to put into practice.

    As for tips for marketing your online business…I like the idea of giving stuff away for free. It’s hard to build trust using an online setting but showing value to others is a great start! Thanks again!

  • Kyle James February 20, 2013, 2:08 pm

    Thanks Andre, glad it was helpful. Agree completely that creating great content then giving it away for free is a great way to build your brand, trustworthiness, and eventually quality incoming links.

  • Chris Holdheide February 20, 2013, 6:49 pm

    Great tips James, starting an online business is defiantly something that takes some dedication to work.

  • Fresh Start Solutions July 25, 2013, 10:10 pm

    Great ideas here. I do agree with this article! Guest posting is now more powerful and useful when it comes to grow business online and that’s the good thing about it.