Whether you have an informational blog on a topic you love, a commercial blog on a topic your an expert in, or you’re looking to market your own online store, there are some great marketing ideas that can help you promote your site. Here are 10 ideas to get the word out and they won’t cost you a dime.
1. Find Specialty Forums
One of the best ways to advertise your blog or store for free is by participating in forums based on the topic of your site. By participating, that means contributing to the discussions in a thoughtful way, not just posting links to your articles or things you’re selling. Otherwise, you’ll just be seen as a spammer and be ignored, or even possibly banned depending on the group rules. But this is a great way to not only advertise your site and products to a special market that has a high interest in what you offer, but also a great way to stay in touch with new trends or new products they might be interested in buying. It takes a little more work than hitting a social media share button, but could offer a much greater payoff if you use it wisely.
2. Enhance Your Signature
Whether you’re signing off on an e-mail or posting in a forum, make your signature work for you. Add the title of your blog or store and a link to it so that you get built-in free advertising. Most e-mail programs and forum user registrations allow you to set up your signature in advance so that it automatically posts each time.
3. Create a Facebook Page/Pinterest/Twitter
Yes, social media is always a good idea for any kind of online venture you’re starting up. Create a Facebook fan page, and also create Pinterest and Twitter accounts to share articles and products, as well as, create a direct line to those interested in your topic or products. Once again, the social media sites work best when you contribute other things besides links to your products and your articles, such as posts that stimulate discussion and general interest. Responding to those who Tweet you or post on your Facebook page, encourages a sense of community and increases the likelihood of them visiting your site.
4. Give Good SEO
Make keywords your new best friend. If you don’t know that term, you better get familiar with it. When people go to a search engine like Google to look for something, you want your page to come up on the front page of the results if possible. So think about what terms people might be looking for who are interested in your blog or your products and make sure to the use those generously throughout your website. If you’re on WordPress, there are specific plug-ins you can use that help you build good SEO writing into each post or into your e-commerce website, like WordPress SEO. It provides fields for you to fill out to enhance your SEO rating, and offers hints to improve it by analyzing your post before publishing. Try to make sure you use your best keyword in your headline and the first 100 words of each article or product description, as well. Don’t overdo it, though, or you could be penalized by Google.
5. Start a Podcast
There are several great podcasting platforms out there that offer free memberships, but the most common and most well-known is Blog Talk Radio. They offer free accounts, as well as paid, but for the free accounts you must run your podcast during non-premium hours. Whichever platform you choose will offer tutorials and help, but just be aware that you don’t need a lot of fancy or expensive equipment to do a podcast. For many services, all you need is a telephone to dial into your account. This can be a great way to generate a lot of buzz around your topic for a blog, but if you have a specialty store that you can create a topic around, it could be excellent for that purpose as well. You could even include advertisements throughout your show giving people your store address or offering a coupon. You could even offer some kind of a giveaway for those listening in to help get people to tune in and hopefully get hooked.
6. Give Something Away
Speaking of giving something away, everyone loves freebies. This makes a great draw to your blog or your store and sometimes you can find sponsors for your blog that will provide the product for you to give away. For example, if you blog about movies, some distributors provide DVDs for you to review and write about on the blog, which you can then give away. Or sometimes they will simply offer a giveaway, such as a recent offer I got to not only review the new DVD for “Sharknado 2: The Second One,” but an offer from the studio to do a giveaway on my blog. If you don’t have any offers for giveaways, dig through your closets and storage boxes and find cool stuff to give away related to your topic.
7. Have a Contest
Contests are very closely related to giveaways, but can be utilized to engage readers in an active way, such as creating a thread where readers make up a caption for photo, take a poll, or even as clever as having readers submit a design for new product. Note that with the latter, you’re getting something valuable in return for the product you give away. Just be sure to outline the terms on the contest entry form to cover exactly how any kind of submissions will be used.
8. Create a Newsletter
Create a newsletter for people to sign up for so that you can send them extra info not on the website, or special sales that aren’t announced publicly. In the case of an online store, people really love the idea of getting in on a good bargain that only they and a few hundred of your other closest customers know about. Make sure to set a schedule of how often you’re going to send out the newsletter, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Make sure not to overdo it by sending out an e-mail every day, as daily e-mails can get very irritating, which you probably know. How may times have you unsubscribed from an e-mail list because of too frequent e-mails? Don’t fall into the same trap.
9. Make USEFUL Comments on other Blogs
If you run a blog, you almost certainly have seen a slew of comments pending that are blatant advertisements and spam. However, if you provide real comments and contribute something useful to the site, you’ll be able to link your comments back to your own site, which can help with search engine placement and also draw in some traffic. It takes some time, but once again, this can be a very targeted marketing tool that goes directly to the demographic you’re trying to tap into for your blog or store.
10. Add Video and a Youtube Channel
If you add video to your website, such as tutorials or video blogs, or if you add videos to your products, make sure to set up your own YouTube site. This can be another great source for generating traffic, and if you’re creating original videos, you can also monetize them and make a little bit of revenue off the videos themselves. But by far, the greatest value in creating your own YouTube channel is driving traffic to your website. Make your videos as interesting as possible, or even funny if appropriate, and you may get lucky and have one of your videos go viral, creating a huge flow of traffic to your site.
There are some great ways to advertise your site without spending a dime, as long as you’re willing to put in the work, and once the ball gets rolling and the word gets out, your blog or web store will grow exponentially.