Although you may be offering a fabulous product or service and have launched a well-designed website, customers will not come flocking unless you actively spread the word. Effective online advertising is essential for any start-up business to grow and luckily, even if you only have a small marketing budget, there are now more cost-effective or free options than ever before for you to get your message out to your customers.

1. Use a local listing service
One of the best ways to grow a local audience is to register your company with a local listing service such as Google Local Business. Yahoo! and Bing offer similar free tools that allow you to post pictures, mobile ads and special offers. The biggest advantage of Google Local Business is that local listings appear right at the top of the results page, thus enhancing the online presence of your business very effectively. Google provides customers with directions on how to get to your address and also allows them to call you directly.

2. Harness the power of social media

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter has completely transformed the world of online marketing. The various social media platforms offer an excellent way of directing your advertising to your selected audience. It’s quick and easy to set up a Facebook account for your company and you can then reach out to your customers to discover exactly what they want. Techniques such as competitions and giveaways are very effective: in return, you will garner not only “likes” but also your customers’ contact details for your mailing list. Twitter and Facebook still dominate social media marketing but you should also consider using Instagram and Pinterest as ways of letting your customers know about your product or service.

3. Optimise your SEO marketing

Traditional SEO marketing is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website. When planning your content, you need to focus on the right SEO keywords for your particular market. Opt for long-tail keywords rather than short ones as a broad brush approach will see your website struggle for ranking. A good keyword planner will help you select long-tail keywords that will get your website noticed by the search engines. Whether you’re creating blog posts, press releases or product information, focus on keywords that have the highest frequency in searches and the lowest competition: use the keywords in titles, subheaders, content, meta titles and meta descriptions and when you add images to your web pages, be sure to add your keywords to the alt tag and the picture title tag.

4. Start a blog or newsletter

If you can post about your business on Facebook, you can also write a blog. Write about things that interest you to form an instant connection with your customers. Focussing on quality content is essential for your raising your online profile and maintaining your Google ranking: when you write blog posts for your newsletter, you should not only be refreshing your website but also providing your readers with valuable information. Monitor your blog to discover what people like to read and see what is working and what isn’t; if a post isn’t increasing traffic for you, remove it and replace it with something else. Use social media to alert your readers whenever you post something new; another useful tip is to sign up to Google Authorship so that all your posts are linked together, giving you a higher ranking.

5. Reach out to your customers with email marketing

Targeted emails are a very effective way of personalising your marketing and building a relationship with your customers. Once you have created an address book with your customers’ contact details, you can target them very effectively with marketing emails. Using a programme such as MailChimp enables you to create attractive emails with interesting content, letting your customers know all about your new products, offers and promotions. Use clickable headlines to draw visitors back to your website.

6. Gaining Backlinks

Search engines trust websites that have backlinks from niche relevant, authoritative sites. One of the best ways to get a higher ranking is to link with guest blogs, posting on forums, news articles and link exchanges. Make sure that your links are to high quality sites: one or two valuable links to trusted websites are much more effective than numerous links to poorly ranking sites. When search engines see that your post is linked to an authoritative site, they will reward you with a higher ranking. Use high quality keywords to create a link and ensure that it is relevant and valuable to your readers. A word of warning: creating too many inbound links may cause your website to be banned from the search engines so proceed with a little caution. An option to hire a professional white hat link agency

7. Post videos on YouTube and Flickr

Don’t forget about the power of the moving image. A video streaming platform such as YouTube, Vimeo or Flickr can be a useful marketing tool for any company. Videos, whether for instruction, promotion of a new product or simply entertainment, are an excellent way of expressing the “personality” of your brand, monitoring feedback and interacting with customers. YouTube Analytics gives you the capability of monitoring and analysing how many views your videos receive, where your viewers are coming from and what kind of people are watching. Creating a YouTube channel for your business brings all your videos together and will have a URL web address that you can use on your website and other marketing materials.

These tips should help you promote your local business and boost the traffic your website receives. It’s important to be patient: it can take a few weeks or even months before you see a significant improvement in your online ranking but the results will be worth the effort. For further information on how to promote your business online, contact Glow Serps today.

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