Where once the art of promoting your business involved a liaison with some form of local press, whether it be a newspaper or radio, the emergence of the internet has blown things wide open. Now, small businesses don’t need to spend hundreds or even thousands on marketing – the internet is easily accessible and very convenient – the internet allows you to take care of your own marketing for virtually no cost! Free marketing doesn’t pop up in many business plans, perhaps you should incorporate it into yours.

Search engine optimization for local businesses

The best type of marketing for you to use depends entirely on the type of business you run, or are thinking of setting up. For local businesses a marketing campaign centered on search engine optimization (SEO for short) is definitely the way to go. The idea behind SEO is simple – boost your website to the top of search engine results for terms related to your business. People don’t realize the huge benefits to be had from SEO – just think back, when was the last time you used the phonebook? People go online nowadays for contact information; whether they’re looking for a local car wash, or a local tradesman, the internet is where people look nowadays. If you’re right at the top of the results when people search for businesses in your field, you’re going to get a whole heap of “organic traffic” to your site – and a string of new clients.

Pay per click works well for online businesses

Of course, not every business is a local business – lots of people are opting to run global businesses from their living rooms thanks to the internet. SEO is a good way to market and internet business, but other methods like pay per click traffic (PPC) are also a good idea. There are many PPC programs out there, two of the most popular being Google’s Adwords, and Facebook’s Ad service. Paid clicks can be expensive, so it’s important you really do some reading to get a good idea of how to make your budget last. You could get thousands of hits a day, but if none of the traffic is tailored to your site, it’s pretty useless. PPC campaigns can be a black hole for a marketing budget – as a new business it’s up to you to be thrifty with your cash.

Social media

The final popular method of online marketing is social media; in recent years there has been a huge boom in the popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter. The great thing about social media is that if your campaign is executed correctly you can use it for both online businesses and local businesses. Setting up a Facebook page for your company or a Twitter feed is really easy, and the benefits are huge. Just five or ten minutes spent interacting with users daily can help generate lots of new clients.

Marketing is no longer an expensive exercise, of course you can advertise in the local media – but for new businesses the costs can be prohibitive. Why not take a few hours out of your weekend or evenings to learn about marketing yourself on the internet? SEO, PPC and social media are all methods of marketing you can master yourself – it just takes a little time to research them, and a few doses of trial and error.