Free Marketing

I know this topic might sound gimmicky but I have noticed more and more of my clients are not taking advantage of the free marketing available to them.  Now here is the caveat, just because the marketing is “free” doesn’t mean you don’t have to put some work in.  The great thing about the topics I’m talking about today is they can be done on the couch while watching a baseball game in the evening.  You are still putting in some hours but you’ll see returns, I promise.

Many people will read this post and say this is already common knowledge, etc. etc. but listen not everyone is in the marketing industry this isn’t common for everyone and really it shouldn’t be.  I am a true believer in doing what you’re good at.  If that means engineering the latest technology keep your focus on your target and let someone who specializes in marketing focus on sharing your new product, idea, or service.  The problem is when most people start off they need to do everything themselves and that’s who I want to help.  OK, Let’s get started, I’m going to focus one three main sections of free marketing; directories, SEO, and information.

Directories can mean a lot of different things and because it’s 2014 and every business should have a well throughout and productive website we’ll focus on online directories.  Take the time to put your business information out into the world as much as possible.  From your universities alumni directory, social media sites (They all have an “about us” section that is a wonderful place to marketing who you are and what you do), local business listings, and don’t forget about search engines.  Google, Bing, Yahoo, they all have the same job to get customers the results they are looking for.  They provide multiple ways to provide information about your business to them free of charge, use it.  I’m going to go one step further with the search engine specific listings; Don’t forget about and more than that embrace the Map listings.  Without going into too much detail here more and more search engine responses are being localized and having your business on their map will be hugely beneficial.  Business listings across the board from search engines to local town websites will help you with your first step to make sure people can find you and find the correct information about your business.

SEO can be a delicate, confusing, and frustrating adventure but take a step back and rethink what you are trying to do.  At the most basic level you are making sure that your website is focused, easy to navigate, and both search engines as well as people know what your business is about.  Sometimes, as the saying goes, you have to go back before you can go forward.  Before you start going crazy with paying for SEO services and spending money on online keyword advertising take a look at your website, compartmentalize your different thoughts, and make sure you are doing as much for “free” before you start tapping into that marketing budget.

Last but not least, information.  It starts with talking to your current customers.  Don’t be afraid to ask people how they found you.  Most people want to share things about themselves so ask them.  You found us online, great, What were you searching for?  You saw our listing on (blank), excellent, I’m on their listing because…  You get the idea information is power and the more you can collect the better.  What about your website are you using analytic programs because Google, among others, has great free programs that can help you know who is using your website, how they are using it, and how they got there.  Putting all this information together is going to give you a much better plan and direction in all your marketing avenues.

I understand this has been a generalization and a very high level of only a few topics but after talking to business after business that believes they need to spend a lot of money on advertising to see results let’s all take a step back and remember the basics.  There are many blog posts and articles across the internet that will go into all these subject and more in a very detailed manner.  Read up, learn as much as you can, and of course if you want to bounce ideas off someone talk to someone in the marketing field.  Spend the time to get second opinions and have someone from the outside help make your plan and look over your information.  Taking some time to slow down and take advantage of the free marketing because there might not be a free lunch but if you are willing to do some of the work your self and have someone help guide you the returns will be great and like anything you do yourself very rewarding.

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